Australian Partner Visa Checklist – what you should know in 2020

Applying for a partner visa is quite often described as one of the most fulfilling experiences that a couple will go through. Within saying that, it’s more popularly been described as one of the most complicated processes that a couple will go through – and why is this?

Whether or not you have any experience with applying for any type of Australian visa, you’ll fast learn that the process can quite often be complicated if you’re unsure of how to approach it… the partner visa is no exception.

More often than not, most couples will generally search for the steps involved with applying for a partner visa in Australia. During their searches, they soon discover what they believe to be this ‘golden’ one-size-fits-all checklist that they can simply follow to apply for their partner visa does not actually exist.

The unfortunate thing is that there isn’t a single checklist that can be applied to all visa applicants – instead, there are certain things to be aware of and consider for your unique situation.

So, where should you start from? In this blog, we’ll cover the most important steps to any partner visa checklist. Even though this isn’t necessarily going to be the same for every couple, there will be more than enough information to get you started and headed in the right direction.

Pre-checklist: know if you’re eligible for a partner visa

The first thing you should do before even considering the below points on the visa checklist is to ensure that you’re eligible to apply for a partner visa. To obtain an Australian partner visa the first major requirement is that you need to either be married to, or in a de facto relationship (living together for at least 12 months, or if not, ensuring that your relationship is registered under state law) with an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen.  If you’re applying from outside of Australia and you wish to apply under the basis of an intended marriage, then this is still possible. However, the marriage must have taken place before the visa application can be processed.

If you’re unsure about the eligibility of your current situation, you can always read more into this on the Department of Home Affairs website.

Australian Partner Checklist

Know your dates

Ensure that you’re prepared to share information such as when you and your partner first met, when you both decided to enter an exclusive relationship, and the date you both started living together.

Have current police and medical clearances

When it comes time for the case officer to process your application, it helps if your police and medical clearances are up to date. Keep in mind that they are only valid for 12 months. Given the current processing times, we recommend submitting your clearances straight after lodgement if applying from outside of Australia, or 12 months after lodgement if applying in Australia. This can help speed up the processing time and minimises the chances of having to pay for your clearances twice.

Organise your documents

Make sure all your supporting documents are in order as your relationship will be based off the four following criteria. Keep in mind that everything you provide is to prove that you are in a genuine and continuing relationship.

1.     Finances

  • Do you have joint bank statements?

–       A great way to help prove your relationship is by opening a savings account in both names. If you can submit bank statements that show your names, along with a history of transactions, this will help support your application.

  • Do you have proof of transactions to one another?

–       Be sure to keep all transaction receipts of any money transfers made between yourselves during the time of your relationship.

  • Do you have any loans or insurance policies in both names?

–       If you have an insurance policy that’s just in your name, consider having it amended so both your names are on the policy.

  • What do you both own together?

–       Any proof of property ownership, car ownership or even shares can all help in supporting your application.

2.     Household responsibilities

  • Are both your names on the lease?

–       If you’re renting a property, you should enquire about having both names assigned to the lease. This can be a very powerful step in proving a genuine relationship.

  • Do you have children and is there joint responsibility?

–       If you have children or have adopted a child, ensure that both your names are displayed on the custody documents or birth certificate.

  • What joint utilities accounts do you have?

–       A simple way to help support your partner visa application is by putting electricity, gas, water, phone or internet bills in both names.

  • How is your housework split up?

–       Does one partner contribute more than the other or is it shared equally?

3.     Social Aspects of the Relationship

  • 888 Statutory Declaration forms:

–       One large component to the partner visa application process is to submit at least two 888 statutory declaration forms from friends or family that support your claim of having a genuine and continuing relationship.

  • Prove your joint travels:

–       If you and your partner have gone on international or domestic trips together, be sure to keep all evidence of these trips such as itineraries and hotel bookings in both your names.

  • What common interests do you share?

–       Think about attaching any documentation that shows you like to share important moments together such as things that interest you or that you’re both passionate about. This may be a gym membership, attending music events together, similar religious beliefs or other cultural activities.

  • Do you have any photos or joint invitations?

–       Photos (20-30 would be good) and joint wedding/birthday invitations are all great ways to help support your application.

  • Don’t forget about social media!

–       It’s also important to show that you have a genuine relationship with your partner on social media. Case officers may check this so be prepared.

4.     Supporting the nature of the commitment

  • How do you emotionally support each other?

–       We recommend outlining the ways that you and your partner emotionally support one another.

  • Do you have proof of correspondence during times of separation?

–       Even in short-term trips of being away from each other, you should provide evidence that you both remained in contact.

  • Last will and testament:

–       You may provide a copy of your will that shows your partner is a beneficiary.

  • Superannuation beneficiary:
    You may nominate your partner as the beneficiary of your superannuation.

  • Intention to stay in a long-term relationship:

–       If you can provide evidence of plans to be in a long-term relationship, this can also assist with your application. Ways to do this may be with a notice of intention to get married, evidence of a pregnancy or plans to start a business together.

Something important to remember:

A high-resolution colour scan or photograph of each original document needs to be lodged with the application. Documents lodged in colour do not need to be certified.

All documents submitted that are in any language other than English will need to be officially translated by a NAATI accredited translation service.

As you can see, there is a lot to consider when applying for a partner visa, and in terms of finding that ‘perfect’ checklist, it doesn’t really exist. Due to all relationships being unique and having different stories, your own partner visa application checklist will likely differ from others.

If you would like some free advice on approaching the visa application process, please book a free consultation today by clicking here.

About the author

Nick Hansen

Nick has been a Registered Migration Agent since 2016 when he founded Hansen Migration. Since then he has helped many migrants obtain permanent residency in Australia and Australian citizenship.

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