• Since it is too hot to mow the lawn, I will just jot down a few notes that some may find useful for a partner to migrate to Australia. Regardless of the current name or any of the previous names, I shall just refer to them as the Immigration Department or Dept of Immi if I get lazy.
* If your partner is eligible for another visa type such as a Skilled Worker Visa - explore that option, it may be faster, easier and much cheaper (consult a good RMA).
* RMA is a Registered Migration Agent (Best use an Australian Based one, and do some research on them - there are several that often post on this forum and are highly recommended by many and there is a "sticky" on the forum.
(*) This is important! When dealing with Partner Visas there are 3 types. They are the onshore 820, the offshore 309 & the PMV. There have been several occasions where the PMV has been confusing as posters have mistakenly assumed it to be Partner Migration Visa - where as it is a Prospective Marriage Visa.
The 309 & 820 are the same except one is onshore and the other offshore applications, the PMV has a completely different set of rules.
* All applicants should read the Partner Migration Booklet in the link below
OK first big tip/s
• If you are not yet married - don't get married, it won't help you get a visa but can prevent you from getting one.
• Do not ask or except information from employees of the Department of Immigration, they are not qualified to give it and not accountable if it is wrong - even in writing.
• Dating does not count as relationship time.
• Time before physically meeting does not count as relationship time.
• Do not apply as a de facto if your relationship is less than 12 months at time of application. This has exceptions - but know them well.
• Relationship registration does not remove any evidence requirements.
• Do not apply for a onshore 820 Partner Visa if your current visa or ETA has expired even one day expired.
• Do not apply for a Partner Visa even if your visa is expired less than 28 days.
• If you are an a Student Visa, do extra homework before applying for a Partner Visa.
There are some of the basics and I might add or edit a few later.
As for planning I would as a general rule say it will take around 2 months to be ready and comfortable to lodge a Partner Visa application the PMV may be less but around that. Using a RMA can reduce this by a fair amount, but it is still you that gather all evidences and that takes time.
That reminds me, I and many others found it took a long time to get the form 888's back from family and friends - so get on to them early on. I did a basic time line of our relationship and included month and year and said just write about events on that that are applicable and use exact dates only if you remember them.
Also form 888 is about the only thing that needs to be signature witnessed, the rest are clear colour scans.
Planning for the decision to be made is pretty hard, actually impossible and torturous - but I will give a very rough guide, but take it with a grain of salt.
As of say 1 Jan 2018 as we are almost there I would planish
PMV around 10 months
309 offshore 12 months
820 onshore 20 months
But any can take hours or days but sadly for some even years.
This is probably a good time to bring up the stress that this waiting has on many. Some are due to finance and other commitments (kids/work), forced to be separated this entire processing period. Others that are lucky enough not to be separated may not be able to work being on a Visitor Visa or cannot get employment because of being on a Bridging Visa. Just try build this into your plans and be mentally prepared.
Probably the thing next is to find the starting point of the application.
* Work out what partner visa you are eligible 820, 309 or PMV - some could apply all 3.
To work out this it will be best to find out the earliest piece of evidence you have (as partners) and the older the better (+3 years is really good and worth a search). This is the hard yards time taking stuff and can involve checking all email accounts, all bank statements, phone bills, SMS histories, utility bills, tax records and the list goes on.
*Confirm with each other the agreed date of relationship commencement, this can be pre that above first piece of evidence but not advisable if the relationship is just 12 months old.
* As you were going through all the evidence sources I hope you kept a copy of them all, as the next thing is to sort them into the evidence "categories". Scan like documents to a single PDF (or other allowable) with a cover page if necessary and resize as required. This will keep you under your 60 doc upload limit easily.
* Gather a selection of photos (20-30) that are over a period of time and have some include others such as family and friends. Put 4 or 5 photos per page include a explanation as required and combine again into 1 PDF of say 6 pages. Quality of content is what counts here.
. --- Well it might be overcast enough to go mow the lawn now, so I will post this now and may make a Part 2 or continue?
One final DONT if it is not above - Don't catch a cruise ship from Australia to reset the stay period of a Visitor Visa or ETA it wont work.