Documents required for partner visa applications
Other than the expected identity documents (passport and birth certificate) for you, your partner and any dependent children that may be included in the application, the Department will need to see evidence of your relationship with your sponsoring partner.
For a start, if you’re in a married relationship, you will need to provide your marriage certificate. If you’re in a de facto relationship, it’s not essential to register your relationship, unless you haven’t been in a committed relationship with your partner for at least 12 months. Generally, if you don’t have evidence of living together with your partner for at least 12 months, you will need to register your relationship in your state. There are some exceptions to this which one of our migration agents can assist you with. It’s also important to note that registering relationships is currently not available in Western Australia and Northern Territory. Different states have different qualifying requirements and more details are available in our blog on registering relationships.
All visa applicants will need to have a health check done. Although you may have already done medicals for another Australian visa in the past 12 months, there is a good chance that this was for a temporary visa, so you may need to have some extra tests done.
You will need to provide police clearances for any country that you have lived in for a combined total of at least 12 months in the past 10 years. This also applies for any other dependent applicants aged 16 or older.
You will need to provide at least two Form 888 statutory declarations. These are to be completed by Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident friends or family members who are willing to attest the genuine nature of your relationship. We recommend that they take the completed form, passport (or birth certificate) and a colour photocopy of their passport (or birth certificate) to a chemist, Justice of the Peace (JP) or similar. The form will need to be signed in front of the JP. The JP can then complete their part of the form and certify the copy of passport.
Firstly, we stress the importance of providing detailed relationship statements. Be mindful that the case officer has never met you. They will be evaluating the genuineness of your relationship based on PDF documents uploaded to your online application. Try to illustrate your relationship through the statements and where possible, provide documents as proof. A couple of pages by each partner is usually enough to cover the following:
- How, when and where you first met;
- How your relationship developed;
- When and why you made the decision to marry / move in together;
- What you have in common, what attracted you to each other, what activities you enjoy doing together;
- Household arrangements;
- During any periods of separation outline when and why the separation occurred, for how long and how you maintained your relationship during the period of separation; and
- Your plans for the future.
Every relationship is different and people’s circumstances all differ, so the type of evidence that couples can produce will of course differ. Case officers at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) will assess the interdependency of your relationship based on four aspects – financial aspects, nature of the household, social aspects and future aspects. Establish a system early on for collating relationship evidence. Some good ideas include keeping a shoe box or drawer in the cupboard to toss ticket stubs, receipts, mailed envelopes and plane tickets. Set up a folder in your email account to keep together itineraries, booking references, invitations and electronic cards.
- Financial aspects of the relationship
Typically, you would provide a selection of debit card or credit card statements from joint account showing regular use by both parties. It’s not essential to have a joint bank account. Unless you both use the joint account as a primary account or have it for the purposes of saving, it can be better to provide bank statements from your individual accounts and provide an explanation on how you both contribute financially to your relationship.
Evidence may include:
- Joint bank account statements;
- Joint mortgage documents or joint lease agreement;
- Loan documents for major assets in both names – eg. car, house, major appliances;
- Household bills in both names – eg. various utility bills, car registration, car insurance
- The nature of the household
Of the four aspects, nature of the household is the most difficult to provide evidence for. The case officer will check that you are in a genuine relationship based on your living arrangements and how the responsibility for housework is shared. If you have children or pets, how do you share the responsibility for taking care of them? Often, the best way to address this aspect is to write a story of how your day-to-day life works around the house in your relationship statements.
Evidence may include:
- Copy of current lease agreement
- Envelopes or letters showing both or either party’s name and address;
- Vet certificate showing both parties as owners of pet/s;
- Bank statements from joint account showing purchases of major household items for example, fridge, bed and lounge suite.
- Social Context of the relationship
For this aspect, the case officer wants to see evidence that you and your partner are accepted socially as a couple amongst family, friends and acquaintances.
Evidence may include:
- Joint invitations to weddings, birthdays, work functions;
- Joint membership of organisations or groups – gym membership cards, theme park season passes;
- Evidence of joint participation in sporting, cultural or social activities – eg. ticket stubs from movies, museums, zoos, shows etc
- Evidence of joint travel – eg. plane ticket, travel itinerary, accommodation reservations;
- Facebook friends page showing the number of mutual friends;
- A selection of photographs taken during the course of your relationship. About 20 – 30 photos are enough, with accompanying captions detailing the approximate date, the occasion etc. Photographs taken with your respective families, with friends, during holidays or on special occasions are ideal.
4. The nature of your commitment to each other
For this aspect, ask yourselves about where you see yourselves in the future? Will you have children together? Have you spoken about traveling to a particular country? Perhaps you’ll buy a house together or develop a business together? Whatever your circumstances and whatever your goals or dreams for the future are, it’s good to outline them in your relationship statements.
If you have lived separately from your partner since the start of your de facto relationship, the case officer will expect to see evidence that you have maintained contact with each other during your time apart. This can be in the form of itemised telephone accounts and contact logs from apps. These days, there are many free online phone and messaging apps. Some allow you to print out a record of when you communicated and for how long each time.
Evidence may include:
- Various means of staying in contact during time living apart – eg. Facebook communication, Viber records, Whats App, phone records, Skype;
- Will, life insurance or superannuation fund policy information, showing each other as beneficiaries.
- Evidence that you have declared your relationship to government bodies, commercial or public institutions or other authorities – eg. tax returns, various insurance policies;
It’s a good idea to develop a system for collating your documents right from the start. Following the grant of the temporary visa, you will need to continue collating further evidence for the permanent visa. We recommend spending time on writing your relationship statements, which can be an effective opportunity to illustrate your relationship to the case officer.
It would be a pleasure to assist you with your application. Should you have any queries about Partner visas or any Australian migration matter, please contact Swift Migration Australia on (07) 5526 6869 or email firstname.lastname@example.org