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Applying for a Partner Visa after 3,5 years together

1150 Views 10 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  CCMS
Hi everyone!

Here is bit about us.

My partner (Australian citizen) and I met overseas in May 2014 and have been on a committed relationship since August 2014.

I was still at uni when we met so I could not move to Australia straight away and had to stay in my country to finish my university degree. My partner runs his own business in Sydney so he had to live there.

We were on a long distance relationship from August 2014
We tried to see each other as often as possible, spending summers and winter breaks together in Sydney, traveling together and meeting each other "halfway" in Europe, South America, Asia, etc. He also traveled to my hometown a few times to celebrate my and his birthday with my family and friends. All the travels, family/friends meetings, celebrations, are well documented with pictures, boarding passes, etc.

In February 2017, right after I finished my university degree, I came to Australia holding a Work and Holiday Visa (462) and we moved in together. We lived together until September 2017 when I had to move to Far North Queensland due to my visa conditions to complete the Regional Work in order to get my Second Year Work and Holiday Visa 462. I spent a month in a farm, then my partner and I traveled to Europe for 3 weeks to celebrate his birthday, then came back to Australia at the beginning of November and I moved back to Far North Queensland to complete the rest of the Regional Work this time at a hotel/resort, where I finished at the beginning on February and moved back to Sydney.

Since my first Work and Holiday Visa 462 was running out the second week of February, I applied for the Second Year Work and Holiday Visa the same week in order to not get deported or break the law. I'm currently on a Bridging Visa A, waiting for the new visa to be granted.

We are traveling to Thailand and Singapore in 3 weeks so I guess I would need to apply for a Bridging Visa B in order to re enter Australia if my Second Year Work and Holiday Visa 462 is not granted soon.

Now my partner and I have saved enough money for the Partner Visa and want to apply as soon as possible, we don't want to delay it anymore.
I also want to study a Master's Degree, hopefully enrolling in July 2018 or March 2019.

We have a few questions:

  1. Do we still need to register our relationship at Service New South Wales? We have been on a committed relationship for 3 and a half years, living together for about 9-10 months. (Not longer because of my studies back in my country and then the visa conditions to work in Far North Queensland)
  2. Can I still apply for the Partner Visa while I'm waiting for the Second Year Work and Holiday Visa 462 to be granted? My friend says that if my Second Year Work and Holiday Visa is granted, I would have to wait the whole year that the visa lasts until I can apply for the Partner Visa so I should withdraw my application for the Work and Holiday Visa before it is granted and lodge the application for the Partner Visa.
    My partner and I are kind of freaking out, we don't want to have to wait another whole year to apply for the Partner Visa
  3. Does it make any difference the fact that we have been on a committed relationship for more than 3 and a half years? Would the visa process be faster?
  4. When can I join a university for my Master's Degree? Do I have to wait until the Partner Visa has been granted? In that case, would I be considered a domestic student or still an international student with the Temporary Partner Visa 820?
  5. Do we really need to hire the services of an Immigration Lawyer or Immigration Agent to lodge the application? Some friends say that hiring an Immigration Lawyer or Immigration Agent speeds up the process of being granted the visa. I have already contacted two different firms and they did not seem very interested in taking our case, maybe they have enough business. Should I just lodge it myself?

Thank you so much for your help. We are a bit lost here.
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1. It certainly doesn't hurt and adds to your case. It depends on what actual evidences you have of your relationship.

2. I would not apply for a partner visa from a bridging visa. Food for thought: you're on a BVA because you're waiting for a decision on the 2nd WHV. What do you think will happen to that BVA when you withdraw the application?

3. No. If you have de facto evidence for that entire 3 year period prior to applying, a CO may choose to grant the 801 immediately after the 820 and you skip the two year waiting period but they may consider your long distance in the beginning to be dating, not de facto. As far as relationship length putting you ahead in the queue? Nope.

4. You can study when you are on a visa that allows it. You'll pay international fees until you are a permanent resident and I believe even that is in the process of changing to domestic fees only for citizens from what I've heard.

5. If using an RMA sped up the process, I guarantee you everyone would use one. It will make no difference. Your case gets picked up when it gets picked up. It's luck of the draw as far as wait times go. Now, if you aren't willing to put the time and effort into the research to do the application properly, using an RMA would be advised. In your case, if you're trying to prove your relationship for more than 3 years to get the 820 and 801 at the same time, then you probably should so your case is put together well in your favor. Use an RMA. You don't need a lawyer. Though some will be both.

If you get the 2nd WHV, that doesn't mean you'll have to wait a year to apply for the partner visa. In fact, I believe you'll need to wait for the WHV now as you should not apply for the partner visa on a bridging visa (that comes with it's own difficulties that will require professional help). You can still apply for the 820/801 on the 2nd WHV. You'll be granted a BVA straight away but it won't go into effect until the WHV expires, so you'll be bound by the conditions of that WHV until you are no longer on it. Then the BVA will have full work rights. It is possible the 820 could be granted before the BVA even goes into effect.

Once you apply for the partner visa, you're eligible for Medicare.
Thank you so much for your reply Skybluebrewer. Is has been very clarifying. Cheers

It sounds like you have been living together for nearer a year than you think, as the time in FNQ can still be classed as living together.
Some partner time is allowed for working apart on a temporary basis, but is still classed as being together.

That 1 year might be sufficient. The "long distance relationship" part may not be counted in the living together requirement.
Thanks for your reply JandE. I hope the time living in FNQ counts. Cheers

Question: On both of your W&HV applications, did you list your relationship status as de facto?
For both applications I ticked "Never Married". I don`t remember if there was a De Facto among the options to choose.

1) Unless you meet the 12 month de-facto requirements, you should register the relationship.
2) Don't listen to your friend.
3) No
4) International fees apply to temporary residents.
5) It may not speed up the process, but may prevent a refusal and ensure a much smoother ride.
Thanks for your reply CCMS. Cheers
I may be wrong, but I believe the "Never married" box you ticked actually states, "Never married or been in a de facto relationship."

If I am correct in thinking that, then you may have an issue with applying for a partner visa and claiming de facto and yet very recently having told immigration in another visa application that you were not in a de facto relationship.

Something you need to be aware of.
If you applied online, you should be able to download a pdf of the the applications you made and verify what you put.
Hi Skybluebrewer. For the Work and Holiday Visa applications the box I ticked says "Never Married", I just checked.

There is also a "De Facto" box but I guess since in my country we don´t have such term for relatiomships, I´m used to always click Never Married.
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