I don't know where to start...
I am American, my partner is Australian. We have been together for 3 years in October. We have been in a de facto relationship since Dec 2014 as I went there on a WHV and we lived together. Then we both traveled back to USA for 3 months. Now she is back in Australia and we are doing long-distance, gathering everything for a partner visa.
Original plan was for me to go there on an ETA and for us to apply for the onshore 820 in May.
However due to the increased price of the onshore 820, I am now looking at applying for the 309 and then still flying there on the ETA. I know the processing time out of DC is 12-14 months, however I was hoping to apply within a few weeks here... Fly there on an ETA, extend my ETA to a 600... then in December fly back to America for Christmas and wait for my 309 to be processed.
In regards to police/medical, I figured we should wait to do medical for sure... but police checks aren't too pricey and could do now just in case since the wait time is 14 weeks or so.
Can I apply for 309 and do my medicals in Australia on an tourist visa?
Will I face any problems being in Australia for the duration of my processing times on an ETA or 600?
Should I just pay the extra cash for the 820 to be able to be there on a bridging visa and have work rights? That way I don't have to worry about leaving the country or anything?
SO MANY MORE QUESTIONS ... what do you think? Either way I am NOT keen to spend time apart during a 12 month processing window... so If it comes down to it we will pay the extra 2.5k to stay together.