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:
- 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)
- 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
- 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?
- 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?
- 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.