Australian Partner Visa Online Tips for Success- Free Printables for Nailing It
Getting started with the Australian Partner Visa:
Having been there, done that and got the t-shirt in lovely Victoria, I thought I’d help any other unmarried partner visa applicants with my experience of the Australian partner visa online application. Also, can you tell I was excited to get to Uluru?
Here’s something very important to think about. Are you a couple with 1 half in Australia and 1 half in another country? If you apply for the visa from abroad, you will not be able to be live together in Australia until the visa is granted, and that often takes 2 years+. Eighteen months is actually a pretty short partner visa processing time. That’s a long wait! Are you prepared?
Also read all the confusing departmental info on spouse visa requirements and try not to let it drive you bananas.
This post will take you through:
- Getting started
- The best ways to gather documents
- Tips for a smooth partner visa application process
- How to obtain records from your social media and phone
- What I wish I’d known before I paid the fee
- Downloadable printable to help make this huge task easier
Getting all of your evidence together:
My biggest recommendation is to use secure online storage space to keep scans of your documents, it’s so much easier to track them that way. You can then both access them and constantly be updating and collecting. Start AT LEAST 6 months before your submission date!
The rules as of 2017 are that you DO NOT need to certify most documents submitted via colour scans, so this makes a colour scan the perfect method. I wish I’d known this, having poured hours into certifying all my docs. I’m sorry to all my teaching friends who had to help with that!
If you DO need a document certified, here are some great places to try:
Pharmacies- small donation often required
Any friends who are registered state teachers in Australia
Helpful friends who are registered accountants (must have CPA membership)
Next step, if at all possible, try to get a domestic partner registration in your country or Australia, and a joint bank account and collect the statements for evidence.
You can upload 60 files for 1 partner, and 60 files for the other.
There is a tight file size limit, so keep all documents compressed while maintaining the quality.
The sponsoring partner (the Australian resident) of the spouse visa needs a lot fewer pieces of evidence than the applicant (or person who wants to stay in Australia) so take care with where you upload files. if you run out of space, head to the other partner’s file upload page.
Before you start, make sure you are on the right track. I don’t want to scare you with tales of it all going wrong, but friends of ours spent over a year apart from each other because they got things wrong. Lesson being: seek advice from a professional!
I visited 2 migration agents, at a cost of around $300AUD per hour, but they were well worth the cost.
There is also a forum where a registered migration agent, very, very kindly provides some free advice if you post a short question. Responses are usually within a few working days. He is worth his weight in gold!
The migration agent is Mark Northam and I strongly recommend him for more professional advice than a blog can give, plus he offers Skype appointments if you are based far away from his office.
Where can I get evidence? Some items we used for the de facto visa that you might not have thought of.
- Have you travelled with your partner on train journeys, or used the Sydney Opal/Melbourne Myki/ another transport system together? You can request a copy of your transactions from the company showing that you swiped your tickets at the same place and proving you were together.
- Do your parents know about and support your relationship? Ask them to write a letter of support, or to send you cards and letters addressed to you both as a couple.
- We used social media evidence, because as a modern couple, we receive very few physical letters in the mail. When you and your partner go to a social event, or have a Skype call, if you are long distance, take some photos and put them on Facebook. On the Facebook album, mark the date and tag the people involved, then screenshot that for evidence. We also used screenshots of Google Calendar to show events we had attended, and printed tickets.
- Friends who are Australian citizens or permanent residents (note: not New Zealanders) can write official letters to support your application. They can verify that they have seen you and your partner behaving like a couple, that it is really you in the photos provided, that you went to certain events etc. Here is the partner visa statutory declaration form.
How to get records of contact between the couple (social media, phone etc) as evidence for the Australian partner visa online:
So you need to prove that you and your spouse have been in contact, even if you were apart and texting into the night, but it’s surprisingly hard to get those records! Modern communication is all through apps! Here’s how we did it:
- Skype– there is a free open source software that can held you access skype records.
- Facebook– you can download your messages as an HTML file.
- Whatsapp– in the account settings there is an option to sync your data with Google Drive
- Phone calls and texts– you can make a request in writing to receive a log of all the calls and texts you have made from your phone company. Then, use a highlighter to pick out the relevant entries. To get the content of the texts, I couldn’t find any better method than screenshotting each one with my phone, but that was a long process.
Things I wish I had known before I paid the fee:
- It’s great to group your file uploads into small amounts, e.g. all your letters from friends could go together but each file is limited to 5MB. Don’t stray above that, as you’ll find you have to re-scan everything and cry- not that I’d know about that…..!
- I had a major panic while we were preparing this evidence because I’ve been trying to live in 10 countries and the visa seemed the require a character check from each country! Those checks take months to arrive! Luckily we were told that we only needed character checks from countries where I’d stayed longer than 1 year, and I usually move on within a year, so that was a big relief. This may have changed, double check it with your Case Officer.
- On the same note, your application requires you to list every single country you have visited ever, since birth, with dates. This was impossible especially because when I lived in the Czech Republic we used to cross the border with Poland daily to go shopping. I did my best with it, using stamps in my passport, and uploaded a document in my evidence to explain why it could not be 100% accurate. I think that’s the best solution!
Free downloads to make your Australian partner visa application (a bit more) easy!
Here is the master Partner Visa Online Evidence Checklist that we used to track all of our evidence for the visa application, a total lifesaver.
Another issue with the onshore spouse visa requirements is finding evidence that the couple have lived together for one year. Not everyone has a rental contract or a mortgage statement, you may just been living with a friend or couchsurfing, who knows. Here’s a document that you can ask your friend or housemate to sign as proof that you and your de facto partner were living together:
Got a question? Drop me a comment below!
Keen to find out my best tips for the Australian Working Holiday visa?
Please don’t take this as professional or legal advice, it’s just one blogger sharing her personal tips and experience with the getting the Australian partner visa in hopes of providing insight! This is not legal advice.