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Hello, I'm not sure where to start, so I'll just start typing. I have met a wonderful man online, and wish to move to Australia to be with him. I live in Canada. I'm 31 years old, and currently taking the Early Childhood Education program in college. I will graduate in June of 2012, then plan to move there. Where do I start? What do I need? There is so much information out there, I can't sort through it all. I don't plan to return to Canada to live. Do I need a visa? Do I have to get married to go there? Does anyone know of companies that I can ship all my belongings with? I really don't know where to start. Any advice or great sites would be very much appreciated. Thank you!
 

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Hi there,

Yes you do need a visa to come to Australia. Forget about shipping your belongings for now, you need to think about what visa path you will go down.

If you want to remain in Australia on the basis of your relationship with an Australian, there is the partner visa. The partner visa is for married and non-married (de facto) partners.

This is important:
- If you are not married to your partner, you must meet the 12 months living requirement. This means that for the entire 12 months immediately prior to applying for the visa, you must have been living together in a de facto relationship.

A partner visa can be applied for onshore (in Australia) or offshore.

If you don't want to get married right now, you will have to meet the 12 month requirement, this could be in Australia or anywhere else. Because of your age you are no longer eligible for a Working Holiday Visa, which means you'd have to find another way to be together (eg: on a tourist visa, which would have no work rights). You could consider your partner spending a year in Canada.

If you are thinking of marriage, there is a Prospective Marriage Visa, which must be applied for offshore only. However, for this visa you need to have met your partner in person at least once. The visa, once granted, gives you 9 months to enter Australia and get married, after which you must apply for a partner visa.

If you get married (in Australia or Cananda), you can apply for the partner visa without having lived 12 months together, but just remember that you need to be able to prove a genuine relationship, with the sort of evidence described on page 41 of the booklet below. You can get married on a tourist visa, though it would be not using the visa for the right purpose, which is why a prospective marriage visa is more suited.

If you want to apply for a partner visa within Australia, whatever visa you come on must not have a "no further stay" condition, which is not something you can control, it comes on many tourist visas but it's not mandatory.

Have a look at your options by reading the partner migration booklet:
http://www.immi.gov.au/allforms/booklets/1127.pdf

Partner visa onshore:
http://www.immi.gov.au/migrants/partners/partner/820-801/
Partner visa offshore:
http://www.immi.gov.au/migrants/partners/partner/309-100/
Prospective marriage visa:
http://www.immi.gov.au/migrants/partners/prospective/300/

Tourist visas:
http://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/tourist/visa-options.htm
 

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We just moved from Canada to Australia...immigration were very strict on our relationship rules to qualify for a partner visa (I am Australian, my husband is Canadian), so make sure you do qualify! You may want to consider using a consultant...
We used Prudent to ship our stuff.
 
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