I set my foot down on the road to residency in June 2013, nearly a year ago. The process is finally coming to an end. Well, sort of.
I’m applying onshore (that is, from within Australia, as opposed to offshore) for a de facto partner visa subclass 820, which is a temporary visa. If granted, if the relationship is still intact after two years, I will be granted a permanent visa, subclass 801. Today is the day my application will be lodged.
I thought this day would never come. Every time I thought I had everything I needed, my migrant agent asked for more. There is a list of documents that Immigration requests. Then there are documents you can add to support your application.
Immigration requests all the documents you would expect: various forms, copies of your personal documents such as passports and birth certificates, evidence of a “genuine and continuing relationship”, an Australian National Police check, an FBI criminal background check, a medical check, two passport-sized photos, and a personal statement on the history of the relationship and your future together. And they want a lot of detail. For example, you have to provide a list of employment “since birth” and explain any unemployment gaps. You have to provide a list of all the places you’ve lived at for the past 30 years.
Provided you have good records and a scanner/printer at home, you could get through most of the forms in a week or so perhaps, but other processes, such as having your fingerprints taken, the Australian National Police check, the FBI criminal background check, and the medical check, can take months. You also need two statutory declarations (form 888) from Australian citizens or permanent residents that can support your claim that your relationship is genuine and continuing. Basically, you need a couple of family members or friends to fill out a form where they explain how they know you, for how long they’ve known you, and why they believe the relationship is legit. They need to provide proof of citizenship or residency and the form has to be certified.
This is a good time to mention the process of certification. Nearly everything you submit must be certified. To have a document certified, you take your originals and their copies to an authorised person. S/he reviews each one, stamps, and signs it. Thankfully, there are many people authorised to do this and it doesn’t have to cost you anything. You can go to the police station, Australia Post, a doctor or registered nurse, a justice of the peace (JP), a solicitor or barrister, etc. I go to my local police station. Only once have I been turned away because the police officer was “too busy”; he told me to come back before 7:00 am or in the evening. You can only have your own documents certified. Theo had to go have his documents certified himself and our friends that filled out form 888s for us had to have them certified themselves.
Proving that your relationship is “genuine and continuing” is crucial to obtaining a partner visa, but Immigration is not too clear on what constitutes such proof. They require two form 888s, but don’t explain much beyond that. This is where the extras come in. My migrant agent suggested three form 888s and that Theo and I register our relationship with the State of Victoria, which we did back in January. I put together a CD of 22 captioned photos of Theo and I out and about and with our family and friends. I made copies of various documents that show that we live together: our drivers licences, our fishing licences, bank statements, bills, Theo’s marine licence and pet registration renewal notices, and an invitation to Christmas brunch addressed to the both of us.
And so that’s it. I think. I hope. My migrant agent contacted me today and said everything looks good and the application will be lodged today. I thought I would feel relief, but I’m more anxious than I was before. My mind is filled with all the worst-case scenarios. I just have to wait and try to relax. My migrant agent tells me Immigration is taking about a year to process them, talk about torture, but he assures me it will be fine. Wish me luck.
The Road to Residency Part 1: The Visa Medical Assessment
The Road to Residency Part 2: Tricky Language
The Road to Residency Part 3: The Relationship
The Road to Residency Part 4: All the Extras
The Road to Residency Part 5: Death and Taxes
The Road to Residency Part 6: Temp Visa Granted
The Road to Residency Part 7: More Waiting