I have officially begun actively moving towards obtaining residency.
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, after two years, if the relationship is still intact, I would be granted a permanent visa, subclass 801.
I have superficially reviewed the application in the past, but when I sat down a couple of weeks ago, read, and printed it all out, I quickly became overwhelmed and cried. Then I started organizing and planning.
There are five locations in Melbourne, but only two for visa medicals, one in the CBD, where I went, and the other in Dandenong. Appointments can only be made within five days and can be booked by calling or online. I called Monday morning and was told there were no appointments available, but I should call back in the afternoon to see if anything had opened up. I called back in the afternoon and there were still no appointments available, but I was told I should try booking online. I did and obtained an appointment for 2:30 pm the following day.
I arrived at 1:45 pm and took a number, B 288, B being the category of people who booked the appointment online. Then I took a seat and waited. The room was full of people, mostly Asians and Indians, mostly young, and many families with small children.
At just before 2:30 pm, my number was called to window 5 (out of 8). I barely remember what the young man asked me. He took my passport and my forms, which I had filled out at home. Form 26 is the medical examination for an Australian visa and form 160 is the Radiological report on chest X-ray of an applicant for an Australian visa. I would also be receiving an HIV test. The man behind the counter asked me what visa subclass I was applying for and if the results could be mailed to my home; 820 and yes, I said, and I wrote my address down on a sticker. Then he took my photo and asked me to sit in the waiting area.
A few minutes later, I was called along with some others for the X-ray. We entered a smaller waiting room. A few more minutes later, our little group was passed into the X-ray area. We were instructed to remove our tops, bras included, and ladies were given a blue medical robe. We each entered individual dressing booths to change and were called out one by one. I believe there were two radiologists, a man and a woman. The woman attended to me. She asked my name and date of birth and we both signed my form 160. Then she took the X-ray, which took just seconds. I got dressed and went back to the large waiting room.
A short while later, a woman called me along with some others and we entered yet another small waiting area. One at a time, we were called. When it was my turn, a middle-aged Asian woman called my name and escorted me to a small room for the HIV blood test. Back to the small waiting room, or the blue chairs, as they called it. Soon, a short, pleasant white woman escorted me to a private room where she weighed me, measured my height, and tested my vision. My left eye is not as good as my right.
Then she showed me the way to a bathroom for the urine test before returning to the small waiting area. Another woman came shortly after and said I would need to repeat the urine test after seeing the doctor. She encouraged me to drink several cups of water.
Soon, the doctor, a slim, attractive young Asian woman, called me and led me to her exam room. We chatted a bit and she told me I needed to redo the urine test because my sample contained protein. I was probably just dehydrated, she suggested. I undressed down to my bra and panties, and laid down on the table. She took my blood pressure, checked my heart, my spine, and poked and prodded here and there – all good.
I got dressed and returned to the blue chairs. I drank more water and repeated the urine test. This time, it returned protein and blood (probably because I was coming off my period). The doctor said I’ll need to see a general physician (GP) and have a blood and urine test to determine why protein and blood are present in my urine. She gave me an immigration referral and said any doctor would know the procedure, just hand him/her the form, and the medical center would mail the results to Medibank.
All up, this took about two hours and cost about $365, and it was as pleasant as something like this could be. All the employees I dealt with were kind and seemed genuinely interested in being helpful. But now I have to pay to visit a GP and for further tests. I hope to get that accomplished this week.
About the images: The featured image is from iStock. The black and white image is mine, taken with my iPhone.
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