Partner Visa

Updated 2010-12-08 07:40

This Visa is for persons who currently have a de facto partner, fiancé or spouse who is an Australian citizen or an eligible New Zealand citizen...Ie: you are coming to australia for LOVE!

As with all permanent visas, let me start be saying that the application process is not easy, it is sometimes frustrating, requires a great deal of perseverance and patience (Money helps too). But there's light at the end of the tunnel. If you are applying from Australia, you'll be applying for

Partner temporary visa (subclass 820) and permanent visa (subclass 801)

This visa is in two steps: You are first granted a temporary visa (your rights will be the same as with the permanent visa ie: Medicare, work...), then after a usual period of 2 years, you will get the holy grail, a full permanent visa.

Before you even think of applying, you'll need to prove that you have an ongoing relationship with your partner (who becomes your sponsor). That is done by proving that you live together (lease contract, bills..) and that you are committed to a future together (Personal statutory declaration from both of you, joint bank accounts, children...). You'll also need to show that you are recognised as a couple by friends and family by getting them to write statutory declarations stating how they know you, how they know you as a couple, how often they see you blah blah blah...and that is a real hassle! You can also provide photographs of you doing activities together.

It obviously does not stop here, the list goes on: certified documents of all sorts (passports, Birth certificates, Ids), Criminal record from Australia and a translated (by recognized translator) copy from your country of origin, pay slips from you partner, bank account records....Basically everything that is on the application form.

BE EXTREMELY ORGANISED: If you submit an incomplete application, they will only write back to you to please get the missing documents and this further DELAYS your application (I should know).

Finally, you have to go through an unpleasant medical visit in some overcrowded office. I would advise to choose an early morning appointment (From experience the queue will be shorter) and also come well prepared with the form already completed. There will be scores of people who have not done so and have an appointment and this just adds to the delays. You'll go through a sight evaluation, weigh in, Urinary sample, Lung Xray, Blood test for HIV and finally see a doctor who will just check your blood pressure and breathing (I dont understand why you need to undress for this, but obviously you do!).

By this time, you'll have accumulated a rather chunky file and once READY, need to send it to the immigration center mentioned in the form. Oh, I also forgot to mention that you also have to part with a great deal of money, but that goes without saying!

In my experience it takes them a full month to acknowledge your application. You'll receive a letter that tells you that you are now on a Bridging Visa (Can't get out of Australia until Application is Processed...don't count on any overseas holidays) and will also be finally able to apply for Medicare.

The paper should also tell you of your case assessor and his/her telephone number. I tried ringing my case assessor several times and the call was never answered nor was there any voicemail, which left me wondering why they had provided the details in the first place. Never mind, undeterred and starting to be freaked out by the time it was taking them to reply (They tell you 6 months but it was definitely 8 months for me) i decided to call the helpline. The 1st time I was rudely told that I should not try to contact the case assessor and that the application will be processed between September and November (it was already late October). I called again in late November (you guessed it, still no signs of immigrant by then) and got through to a more helpful person who said she'd send an email to the processing centre and ask them to contact me. After 2 weeks of nothingness, my partner was called on his mobile (whilst at work) and told to provide them with up to date pay slips, which he faxed immediately. He was then called back within the same day to be told that we would soon receive the visa but that the decision had been delayed by the fact that we had been together for less than 3 years (no mention of that in any official documents)...anyway I think it was a lame excuse since we still haven't lived together for 3 years and the visa was granted!!!!!

If you have any questions, please contact me, I would be happy to give pointers but really it is a game of skills and patience. You have to be super organized and get everything together, send your fat envelop to the department and wait. I'm sure you'll, just like me, suffer many setbacks as you head full of hope to collect your mail past the 6-months mark and repeatedly turn your back to the mailbox empty-handed.