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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
All,

I have been married to my wife for over 5 years (we got married during a trip to Australia), and we have lived together for almost 10 years. As a result we have a pretty extensive history and I am not too worried about being refused a visa. However, I also do not want to go over the top gathering all sorts of evidence that won't be required (I could fill a binder just with our trips together). Having lived in 4 countries the police clearances will be enough trouble as it is.

I was wondering whether anyone who had been married for a "long" time has gone through the process recently, and how much evidence was required. Or was demonstrating a few selected documents over a longer period enough? I ended up writing a pretty short general statement (1 page) as it was either that or writing a whole book, plus a few to the point paragraphs on each of the key areas (social, financial, etc).

The one slight area of concern is a lack of joint financial history. That may sounds strange but we have lived in company provided rentals the whole time and both had separate bank accounts. I would assume being able to prove a shared (mailing) address for over 10 years in 4 different countries would be enough.

Curious to hear experiences about the least evidence provided for a successful application.
 

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Look at the material objectively. Would someone who doesn't know you be able to look at this and conclude confidently that this is a genuine marriage?

Reality is that cases aren't just denied because there's not enough evidence. You should be given a chance, they'll request more evidence from you, then you can give them what they need.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
jinx,

thanks for the quick reply. I think there is pretty much no chance to be refused a visa and I know that we would breeze through an interview. But we are going to have such a hard time with some of the paperwork and certifications through pure logistics (having lived in Europe, Asia and the US), that I'd really like to go for quality over quantity. Hence trying to gauge a reasonable minimum threshold. I'd also hate to delay the process (and the additional stress) by having to scramble for a lot of additional documents after submission.

So if for example I provide 4 different addresses over 10 years with evidence of shared living and travel, the odd joint insurance policy plus an Australian marriage certificate from 2009 I would think this is pretty good evidence.

I think your first paragraph captures how I feel about it as well. Just hope the immigration people will feel the same!

Another issue is that we will only really start looking for jobs in Australia once the visa is granted as it is difficult to gain employment without residency. So we will have to pass the financial test based on current savings. Any ideas out there what level of savings would be enough for a couple, no kids?
 

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I am wondering the same thing too Taco...I am 3 years married (during trip to Oz) and 2 years defacto prior to that - do I have to show evidence for all 5 years?
 

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Given the duration of your marriage I would say the critical thing would be providing evidence for the last 3 years so you go straight to the permanent visa. I would include a selection of evidence from the earlier years to prove the longevity of your relationship and then make the bulk of evidence from the 3 years prior to application.

Along with proof of address I would try get a sworn statement from your employer about your housing situation as it sounds like you don't have lease agreements in both your names. Also mention the details of this in your relationship statement.
 

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jinx,

thanks for the quick reply. I think there is pretty much no chance to be refused a visa and I know that we would breeze through an interview. But we are going to have such a hard time with some of the paperwork and certifications through pure logistics (having lived in Europe, Asia and the US), that I'd really like to go for quality over quantity. Hence trying to gauge a reasonable minimum threshold. I'd also hate to delay the process (and the additional stress) by having to scramble for a lot of additional documents after submission.

So if for example I provide 4 different addresses over 10 years with evidence of shared living and travel, the odd joint insurance policy plus an Australian marriage certificate from 2009 I would think this is pretty good evidence.

I think your first paragraph captures how I feel about it as well. Just hope the immigration people will feel the same!

Another issue is that we will only really start looking for jobs in Australia once the visa is granted as it is difficult to gain employment without residency. So we will have to pass the financial test based on current savings. Any ideas out there what level of savings would be enough for a couple, no kids?
What financial test?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What financial test?
well, maybe not a test per se. But I understand my sponsor is supposed to be willing to support me financially for at least two years?

Although we intend to try to move to Australia with our current employer, if this is not possible we may have to quit and look for jobs locally (and hence our current income may not be relevant). After both working for 12 years we have enough savings together to do that, but wasn't sure if Immigration is looking at some minimum threshold for income or savings.

If all that is needed is a statement then there is no problem.
 

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well, maybe not a test per se. But I understand my sponsor is supposed to be willing to support me financially for at least two years?

Although we intend to try to move to Australia with our current employer, if this is not possible we may have to quit and look for jobs locally (and hence our current income may not be relevant). After both working for 12 years we have enough savings together to do that, but wasn't sure if Immigration is looking at some minimum threshold for income or savings.

If all that is needed is a statement then there is no problem.
It's just agreeing to do it when signing off, as far as I know there's nothing beyond that...

in the US, we have a requirement for an affidavit of support, one has to show their tax returns and show they make 125% above the poverty line to sponsor someone. This is because they want reimbursement if the immigrant ends up on welfare.

However in Australia if you migrate via spouse you are entitled to Centrelink, Medicare, etc right away (if on a permanent PR visa), so no need.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Given the duration of your marriage I would say the critical thing would be providing evidence for the last 3 years so you go straight to the permanent visa. I would include a selection of evidence from the earlier years to prove the longevity of your relationship and then make the bulk of evidence from the 3 years prior to application.

Along with proof of address I would try get a sworn statement from your employer about your housing situation as it sounds like you don't have lease agreements in both your names. Also mention the details of this in your relationship statement.
Thanks for the reply. The last year is the best documented as since our latest move we had to do quite a few things in joint names (car purchase & insurance, travel insurance, joint account, lease in joint names). But this only covers about 6-12 months. The period before that has nothing joint, except that we can prove through formal residency permits we lived at the same address, lots of joint travel and lots of wedding invites and birth announcements from friends.Financially though we have never really integrated but just muddled along with separate finances. I pay some, she pays some and we're both happy!

Good tip about the employer statement. They can also hopefully state that we registered each other for employer partner benefits sometime in 2005, assuming their paperwork is in a better state than ours.

I guess my plan to get by with as little as possible based on longevity may be a bit optimistic.
 

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Did you acquire EU/Holland visa for your spouse? I included these documents as evidence, I think it's quite substantial.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
jinx,
good thinking, but 'unfortunately' my wife has dual nationality and also holds a UK passport (she moved to Oz as a toddler). As a result she moved around without needing any sponsorship from me. We actually met in Holland when she lived there.
All our international moves have also been on our own merit, ie we have never sponsored the other as a dependent. Useful at the time, but leaving us a bit short on paperwork now.
 

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My husband and I never had a joint account when we applied. Copies of individual statement with "couples" purchases highlighted and explained...plus evidence of making withdrawals in the same city/same time.....gifts for each other....groceries etc...that all counts so as long as you were each making financial contributions to the household from your own accounts you should be ok in that department
 

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Exactly what Valentine said. Joint finances don't mean you have to a joint account - but you DO have to show how you both SHARE your finances. Even though you have separate accounts, I would go through each of your bank statements and highlight purchases that were for both of you. Groceries, household expenses, furniture, whatever. Then explain in your statement how you both contribute to the household finances.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Exactly what Valentine said. Joint finances don't mean you have to a joint account - but you DO have to show how you both SHARE your finances. Even though you have separate accounts, I would go through each of your bank statements and highlight purchases that were for both of you. Groceries, household expenses, furniture, whatever. Then explain in your statement how you both contribute to the household finances.
Thanks CollegeGirl. To be honest, I am not really afraid of being refused a visa given our long time together and I know we'll be able to find enough evidence. I was more trying to gauge how much of this digging in detailed statements would be required given the "obviousness" of our relationship over more than 10 years (of which 5 years married). I read a lot of stories about visa submissions of more than 200 pages, but curious whether anyone with a longer relationship history has had success with say 20 pages of key evidence. In other words, if I can show we shared a house for 10 years in 4 different countries, do I really need to sift through grocery payments to prove shared finances?
 

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Quite honestly, yes. There are four key categories *everyone* applying for a spouse or defacto visa must provide evidence in - and being married for a long time or having tons of evidence for one category doesn't waive your need to provide evidence for the other categories. There are lots of people with longstanding marriages who apply - everyone has to supply the same types of documentation.

The only benefit to your longstanding marriage is that you'll go straight to permanent residency without the two-year wait in temporary spouse visa land. But that's the only privilege your long marriage nets you. You have to supply adequate evidence in all four categories just like everyone else. ;)
 

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Do not underestimate the evidence you need.

You need to provide solid evidence spanning atleast the 3 years prior to applying to ensure you go straight to PR. You will need a lot more than a marriage certificate and 10 other bits of paper to show this.

So ensure you have 3 year worth of evidence to prove:
- You have joint finances (we actually showed a bank statement for each month we claimed to be defacto along with other evidence)
- Proof you have been seen socially as a couple for 3 years
- Proof you share a household together for 3 years
- Proof you have joint commitments for 3 years

Don't make the mistake of assuming all they want to see is that you have lived together.

Best of luck :)
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Do not underestimate the evidence you need.

You need to provide solid evidence spanning atleast the 3 years prior to applying to ensure you go straight to PR. You will need a lot more than a marriage certificate and 10 other bits of paper to show this.

So ensure you have 3 year worth of evidence to prove:
- You have joint finances (we actually showed a bank statement for each month we claimed to be defacto along with other evidence)
- Proof you have been seen socially as a couple for 3 years
- Proof you share a household together for 3 years
- Proof you have joint commitments for 3 years

Don't make the mistake of assuming all they want to see is that you have lived together.

Best of luck :)
Hi Engaus,
Thanks for the word of caution. We have accumulated about 15 bank accounts over the past 10 years. Unfortunately, only two of those are joint and only one used since 2010 (for the last 10 months). As for joint commitments, we now have a joint loan to build up a US credit history and a few other joint arrangements since we moved here in 2014, but I cannot really think of a single other joint commitment we have made before that. No house purchase/mortgage or joint lease, no loans, no major joint purchase. Any tips on what you included as a commitment?
Thanks.
 

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There is so much partner visa fraud going on and you would be surprised the lengths we have seen people go to so that they could secure a partner visa fraudulently so I have always felt providing as much quality evidence as possible can only be beneficial (my partner and I supplied just under 60 documents).

You can supply a variety of documents spanning over 3 years. It may be best for you to map it all out. But just try to concentrate on the last 3 years. So if you for example lived in three different countries in the last three years break it down into those three countries and look at:

1. Joint finances - how did you pay for rent? How did you pay for groceries? bills? Nights out? If it's on seperate bank accounts highlight all those type of things and in your financial statement explain in more detail. E.g if your wife does the shopping explain this as they will see why the groceries shopping only comes from her account.
2. Joint commitments - wills? Do you have pensions where you have each other listed as benefitiories? Life insurance? Power of attorney? Joint health insurance? Joint car insurance? Proof you bought a TV together or a couch or another home item?
3. Social evidence - photos at family celebrations, wedding/birthday/engagement invites? Joint travel (social evidence is the easiest one to fulfil as you have probably discovered)
4. Joint household - mail to the address you lived at? Statement explaining how your household works e.g you cook your wife does the washing

You said you have no leases prior to 2014. What did you do prior to 2014? Where were you staying? (Sorry you may have already mentioned this, I'm on my mobile so can't go back a page to read).
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Engaus,
Thanks again. Our situation is a bit unique I guess so we will just have to scramble for a lot of supporting small stuff. I had hoped our relationship longevity might help us but it seems it will not make much difference. I have just added a few explanations of why we have such patchy records of our joint life, except the fact we obviously lived together for 10 years (and in 4 different countries at that). So although I have no doubt we can cobble together more than enough evidence, I had hoped for some previous experiences where long term couples had an easier time. Wishful thinking...

1. Joint finances - how did you pay for rent? How did you pay for groceries? bills? Nights out? If it's on seperate bank accounts highlight all those type of things and in your financial statement explain in more detail. E.g if your wife does the shopping explain this as they will see why the groceries shopping only comes from her account.
...
You said you have no leases prior to 2014. What did you do prior to 2014? Where were you staying? (Sorry you may have already mentioned this, I'm on my mobile so can't go back a page to read)
Rent was paid by the company and they also signed the leases. Neither of us have signed a lease for 10 years (jointly or singly) until 6 months ago. Other payments happened as needed from either individual account, nothing very structured. We are lucky to be relatively comfortable financially, so we never took a very structured approach. Of course I usually paid for dinner out, but that was only because I usually got handed the check!

2. Joint commitments - wills? Do you have pensions where you have each other listed as benefitiories? Life insurance? Power of attorney? Joint health insurance? Joint car insurance? Proof you bought a TV together or a couch or another home item?
We have been very lax in this area. Our health insurance and pensions are linked to work and all in each individuals name (we work for the same company). We are listed as each others spouse with the company, but that is an online system. This also covers disability and death in service. I think a letter from them that we have been each others nominated spouse is the best bet. But asking for this is sensitive as we will likely quit to move to Australia. For the rest, we haven't really made a lot of major purchases separately before our recent move, let alone jointly. For example, our TV was a big box from 2002 which we gave away and now simply do without. For 3 years we lived in a European city and just had bicycles, in Asia I bought a car in my name only and my wife didn't drive. We also bought a bed - one of us would have paid that but not sure who (we simply don't care). And we have never made a will - we figured we were each others beneficiary anyway. Lazy I know...

3. Social evidence - photos at family celebrations, wedding/birthday/engagement invites? Joint travel (social evidence is the easiest one to fulfil as you have probably discovered)
This one is easy. We travel a lot and have family Christmas pictures spanning 10 years. Visited 40 countries together, lots of weddings, baby cards etc. And my wife's family even started addressing her cards with my last name, even though she never changed hers...

4. Joint household - mail to the address you lived at? Statement explaining how your household works e.g you cook your wife does the washing
No problems issuing statements, but I guess that is not evidence as such. Our evidence for shared living is primarily through having the same address on our various existing visas, drivers licenses and work permits.
 
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