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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

Just want to say first up that this website is a really good place for people in similar situations to share their stories. I have enjoyed reading your insights into the application process.

I do however have a few questions about a defacto partner visa application we are due to submit. I will begin by introducing ourselves, but please feel free to skip the boring bits and go straight down the questions below ;)

I met my partner in Barcelona in October of 2008. She is from the Russian Federation and we have traveled around sporadically since that time. We have been living together since December 2009 which includes a period in Australia where she came for a holiday (we were living together at this time) and in China since March 2010.

I am an ESL teacher in China and she is working here for a Russian company. We hope to apply at the Guangzhou consulate. We have a good network of friends here, and had our parents come to see us at the same time here in China (we have photos of us all together which is good).

My questions are as follows:

1 - Living in China it is hard to maintain a paper trail that is easy for us to show to the consulate. Our rental contract is in both our names, and we have a joint bank account in Australia that we setup in January 2010, BUT we do not really have much else that shows that we are financially interdependent. We can only have separate bank accounts in China, and our landlord pays for all of our bills. We pay for internet and that is in my partners name, but not mine. Will this be a problem? I am worried that we will not have sufficient proof that we support each other financially (keeping in mind we have no significant joint assets etc).

2 - We have been living together since December (which we hope to use for the 12 months). We spent around three months in Australia, but we were travelling around and do not have any contracts etc. We have hotel details, and it is possible to obtain stat decs from my parents who can confirm we were living with them, as well as friends who can confirm that we lived together in a share house; but we do not have much else. Will this be okay?

3 - Given the delays, we want to submit our application as early as possible. The website suggests that it is okay to apply after 11 months of living together. This would be ideal for us as it is around the time we can have the application ready by. But the consulate seemed to say that we couldn't do this despite what the website says. Does anyone know what the deal with that is?

4 - I think we should be pretty good with social evidence as we have been on lots of trips together including to Paris, Munich, Moscow, Harbin, Dalian, Khabarovsk, Melbourne, Sydney, Whitsunday Islands, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Phuket. Is it possible that travelling like this will overcome other deficiencies in the application? (particularly given that all holidays were purchased jointly using the same card).

5 - We spent around 10 months apart (all up) over a two year period (although we spent the last 12 months together) and contacted each other daily using skype when not together. As such we don't really have phone records. How important might these be?

I really appreciate anyones comments or suggestions. I am sorry for the long message.
 

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It is only really an Immi CO that will make a determination on an application and they are held to sticking closely with the regulations based on legislation.
I would suggest that if you attempt to apply without concrete evidence supporting the dates you claim for the relationship, you do leave your application more open to being rejected than otherwise.
For instance the eleven months you mention on the web site needs to be read again;
Australian Immigration Fact Sheet 35. One-Year Relationship Requirement
Commonly asked questions
I have been in a de facto relationship for 11 months. Do I still have to wait for another month before I can apply?

Although you may apply now, your application may not be approved prior to the one year requirement unless you are eligible for the requirement to be waived. You may choose to defer making an application until you and your partner can meet the one-year relationship requirement.
That hardly says to me that it will be OK and in fact is a warning that it is likely not to be!

On travel
My partner and I met when we were travelling around the world and realise now that we want to remain together. Does our time travelling together count towards the one year requirement?

When a person applies for a partner visa and are not married to each other, they must be able to provide evidence that for at least 12 months prior to making the application:

•they had a mutual commitment to a shared life to the exclusion of all others
•the relationship between them was genuine and continuing
•they had been living together or had not been living separately and apart on a permanent basis.
If your relationship has been on a more casual basis you may not be able to meet the one-year relationship requirement.
Example: you travelled together and shared accommodation, but you each had your own money, paid your own expenses and made no long-term plans for your future until recently.

You may need to establish your relationship for a longer basis before you make the decision to apply for partner migration.
They are looking for evidence and on your own account you have been apart for a considerable ammount of time which is not great evidence I'd suggest.

No one can stop you from applying but I've never seen one post on people being able to get a partner visa approved with less than a full 12 months together and not having good evidence.
What happens in China is one thing and that you have a rental contract is good but you need to add to that with whatever you have.
Have a look at what elkitten has put in the sticky thread above for some ideas and also make good use of Booklet #1.
I would suggest that along with statements you would need strong evidence of your time travelling together in Australia to have a relationship start in December accepted.
 

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I'm not sure where you're from, but if you've been living in China more than 12 months MAKE SURE YOU GET YOUR POLICE CLEARANCE BEFORE YOU LEAVE!!!!!

I have been completely unable to get mine (I lived in China for 2 years) despite ringing/emailing the consulates, embassies, former employer etc. It is now in the hands and at the whim of the DIAC...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi thanks for the reply Joolz and Wanderer its appreciated.

I would not seek to use our travel prior to living in Australia / China together to meet the 12 month requirement, BUT I hope that it would help our application to show that we have been in a relationship for longer than two years with the last 12 months living together.

Joolz, I have some questions about the police check that you mentioned. My partner is from the Russian federation and it is our plan to submit a police check for China and Russia with our application. But I am unclear by what you mean by get one before you leave the country. Do you mean for the sponsor or for the applicant to get one before you leave? I just want to check that it is only the applicant as I have made no such plan to obtain a police check.

Also, can you tell me, for a lot of the evidence I plan on using documents such as flight and hotel bookings etc that were made via the internet. We also receive e-statements from our bank. I was hoping to print these off using a regular printer, but I fear that because they aren't printed by the bank etc that they might not accept them. Do they accept printed materials or do they need to be verified somehow?

This is a stressfull time and I really do appreciate your help. I have a job working for the government in Canberra due to start in February and I cannot think how we can possibly spend so long apart.

Again, thanks for your help.
 

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The sponsor for a partner being an Oz Cit. or PR does not need a character check and a person applying needs checks for any country resided in for more than a year in the past 10 or since age of 16.
All that information and much more is in the visa sections on the Immi web site and needs to be fully understood to minimise making a mess of an application, getting it rejected and losing the application fee.
 

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Also, can you tell me, for a lot of the evidence I plan on using documents such as flight and hotel bookings etc that were made via the internet. We also receive e-statements from our bank. I was hoping to print these off using a regular printer, but I fear that because they aren't printed by the bank etc that they might not accept them. Do they accept printed materials or do they need to be verified somehow?
I'm sure that won't be a problem. Actually they accept photocopies of bank statements, you don't need to send the originals, nor have the copies certified. Most banks these days are sending e-statements so i'm sure the DIAC are more than used to it. They can't penalise you for doing your bit for the environment!!
One thing i've learnt in this whole process is that even when you know you've got a strong and truthful case the stress of it all starts making you doubt even the smallest crazy things. You've just got to take a step back and breathe deeply. When in doubt call Global Help. Whilst they never budge on discussing processes or timelines... they're extremely polite and helpful and no question has ever seemed too silly or too much for them.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The sponsor for a partner being an Oz Cit. or PR does not need a character check and a person applying needs checks for any country resided in for more than a year in the past 10 or since age of 16.
All that information and much more is in the visa sections on the Immi web site and needs to be fully understood to minimise making a mess of an application, getting it rejected and losing the application fee.
Yes, thats as I understood it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm sure that won't be a problem. Actually they accept photocopies of bank statements, you don't need to send the originals, nor have the copies certified. Most banks these days are sending e-statements so i'm sure the DIAC are more than used to it. They can't penalise you for doing your bit for the environment!!
One thing i've learnt in this whole process is that even when you know you've got a strong and truthful case the stress of it all starts making you doubt even the smallest crazy things. You've just got to take a step back and breathe deeply. When in doubt call Global Help. Whilst they never budge on discussing processes or timelines... they're extremely polite and helpful and no question has ever seemed too silly or too much for them.

Good luck!
Yes, I think we all want to have the best possible application, and this all adds to the stress.

I just wish the whole process was a little more transparent. We are going to a special information session in Guangzhou next friday so perhaps I will be surprised, but it seems that everyone from the department thus far has been so vague. I think if I knew exactly what they wanted we could possibly produce it but I guess they don't even know that until they get your application.

Thanks for the reply.
 

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Sometimes that lack of transparency and vagueness can come about when people are hoping their relationship that does not quite stack up against the requirements will get let through.
The CAQ give some quite realistic examples and you have already decided to interpret one of those the way you would want it to be.

I repeat for you: Read all the available descriptions very carefully
When I studied englis expression a few decades back, one module that I found very useful in following years was Clear Thinking and Drawing Conclusions

To put it to you bluntly, I would think that without the concrete evidence of your travelling together as more than a casual relationship you would be a fool to attempt using it and likewise if you lodge with less than 12 months relationship, do not at all be surprised if the application is rejected.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Sometimes that lack of transparency and vagueness can come about when people are hoping their relationship that does not quite stack up against the requirements will get let through.
The CAQ give some quite realistic examples and you have already decided to interpret one of those the way you would want it to be.

I repeat for you: Read all the available descriptions very carefully
When I studied englis expression a few decades back, one module that I found very useful in following years was Clear Thinking and Drawing Conclusions

To put it to you bluntly, I would think that without the concrete evidence of your travelling together as more than a casual relationship you would be a fool to attempt using it and likewise if you lodge with less than 12 months relationship, do not at all be surprised if the application is rejected.
Yes, but we have been living together for the last 11 months (with our application to be submitted pending the 12 month requirement). We have met the requirements, the vagueness is over proving that we have. I.e. is it enough to show our jointly signed apartment contract, residence permits at the same address, bills and correspondence to the same address, etc etc, or will they not be satisfied with that... As far as I'm concerned it's my right as an Australian citizen to have the person I love to be with me in my own country. I understand the need for checks, and an immigration process, but to be told that it can take 10 months because they are unsure whether they will have satisfactory evidence to me is vague.

Peace out.
 

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Any vagueness of proof is always going to have the onus on the provider and of course anything at all you have to show a common address is applicable.
When you have been travelling and staying with family for some of that time from December on, that is where you will need to have sound evidence and just relying on statements may not cut it for if Immi started saying that's OK, you can imagine there would be a flood of statements coming.
And 11 months is not 12!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Any vagueness of proof is always going to have the onus on the provider and of course anything at all you have to show a common address is applicable.
When you have been travelling and staying with family for some of that time from December on, that is where you will need to have sound evidence and just relying on statements may not cut it for if Immi started saying that's OK, you can imagine there would be a flood of statements coming.
And 11 months is not 12!
Well the onus is of course on the provider, but personally i'd have thought joint contract, residence permit at the same address should be enough (in combination with evidence from the other financial / social etc evidence categories) but at the moment I am not so sure.

If the Immi department stated exactly what they wanted (as they do in many cases, such as having to have 100 points of evidence etc) then perhaps they would spend less time processing applications.

In anycase I understand their position (i.e. not everyone is the same) and I am writing these things from my perspective, but it would be nice to have some more certainty when lives are at stake.
 

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Hi thanks for the reply Joolz and Wanderer its appreciated.

Joolz, I have some questions about the police check that you mentioned. My partner is from the Russian federation and it is our plan to submit a police check for China and Russia with our application. But I am unclear by what you mean by get one before you leave the country.
Applicant. If you are an Australian and sponsoring your Russian Fed. partner, then you won't need one. However, I stress, make sure your partner gets the police clearance BEFORE you leave China. It is a complete pain in the backside trying to get it afterwards :mad:, especially if you don't speak/read/write Chinese. As mentioned, I've found it impossible to get mine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Applicant. If you are an Australian and sponsoring your Russian Fed. partner, then you won't need one. However, I stress, make sure your partner gets the police clearance BEFORE you leave China. It is a complete pain in the backside trying to get it afterwards :mad:, especially if you don't speak/read/write Chinese. As mentioned, I've found it impossible to get mine.
Yes, we are actually applying for it on Friday. Also my partner is able to speak / read / write chinese as well which is good.
 

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I know its obviously too late for your situation but for anyone else reading this thread I just wanted to mention that it is possible in some places to get a joint bank account in China. In some of the major cities like Beijing ICBC do joint accounts... and in the south in Shenzhen SCB also do joint accounts if you are married. In other place like 'Tianjin' it is impossible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I know its obviously too late for your situation but for anyone else reading this thread I just wanted to mention that it is possible in some places to get a joint bank account in China. In some of the major cities like Beijing ICBC do joint accounts... and in the south in Shenzhen SCB also do joint accounts if you are married. In other place like 'Tianjin' it is impossible.
Well perhaps so, but it is not an easy thing to set up as a foreigner - particularly when there is no discernible reason to do so other than to satisfy the visa requirements.

We had joint accounts in Australia which were probably considered more important anyway. We got our visa on the 8th of March, so all is good.
 

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Congratulations! That seems like a really short time to wait for the visa, we are being quoted 10 months if we apply offshore here in China. I only hope my partner and I can acheive the same result..
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Congratulations! That seems like a really short time to wait for the visa, we are being quoted 10 months if we apply offshore here in China. I only hope my partner and I can acheive the same result..
Yes, it was quicker than we thought too...

I guess it is all case dependent, but we had an easy run I must say. I think they try to wear down your expectations so that you aren't disappointed with delays etc.
 
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