VERY UNOFFICIAL Defacto Visa Tips

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VERY UNOFFICIAL Defacto Visa Tips


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Old 11-17-2009, 06:32 PM
 
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VERY UNOFFICIAL Defacto Visa Tips

Very Unofficial Defacto Visa Tips

I learned a whole lot about this Visa while going through the process myself. My application was “unusual” in that I had many unique circumstances and problems to deal with—we had no real joint assets/neat financial evidence, we had no neat proof of living together, and we had to put evidence together while he was in Australia and I was in the U.S.A. So here are some tips that I learned along the way which I hope might help you out too!

Some Rules:

DO NOT post about your own individual situation here—post it on the main board where everyone can help you and benefit from the answers you receive.

I AM NOT a migration agent/immi authority—I cannot guarantee that what worked for me will work for you and I am not responsible for what you choose to include in your application or not.

THIS IS NOT everything you have to do, these are just tips, make absolutely sure you read the all the necessary information before applying, and double check before sending.

DO POST any additional defacto tips or suggestions you have here!

I am a Canadian citizen, who applied in the U.S.A—this means I am from a Low Risk country, so High Risk country people may have to go even further in proving both their relationship and character. (It sucks, but that’s the way it is unfortunately).

Part 1: RESEARCH!!!! (notice I won’t put up any links because it is so important you research for yourself on the immi website—only you can really know if you are eligible and exactly what you will need).

-Read the Partner Migration Booklet and answer these questions: are you eligible? What sort of evidence will you need? How can you prove the 12 month relationship requirement? What sort of documents will you need to prove your identity (passport, birth certificate etc)? What documents will your sponsor have to provide? What character checks will you need? What will you need translated? Print out the booklet and make notes as you go—make notes of what you will need to look up and what you don’t understand.

-Read and print the two application forms (47sp and 40sp). Is there any question on there that you will need to look up the answer?

-If you are from a High Risk country, one of the members here, Rav, found out that you do need to fill out a form 80 even if the immi website is not clear at all as to whether or not you will need one.

- Look up where your nearest immi panel Doctor is for your health check: you may need to travel a fair distance and it’s a good idea to check asap. Call the doctors even to make sure they are still doing the medicals and how much they costs—they do not all charge the same thing so if you have a few options, call around. Also ask them how available appointments are—it might take a while for you to get in, so again, good to know and good to plan for. Print out or save the medical forms found on the immi website.

-Go on the websites of the places you will need character checks/police checks from. How long do they take? What do you need to provide? If you will need fingerprints, where will you get them (your local police station may do them for free) and how many fingerprint cards do you need? How much does each police check cost? Do you have to provide a bank draft in the local currency? If so, where and how will you get it?

-Will you need to get any documents translated? If so, go on the website of the embassy where you will be applying and they normally have a link as to how you can find an approved translator. You can contact a translator via e-mail early to see how much they charge and how long it takes.

-Did you notice that you need a whole bunch of passport size photo’s of you and your partner? You need them to apply, for the medical, and for some police checks—write down how many you will need to save yourself a few trips to the photo booth!

-Who will you ask to write Statutory Declarations on your behalf? Contact them asap to ask and send them the form so they can start working on it. It might be helpful to write to them what you think they could include. Remember, they need to get it certified along with proof they are an Aussie citizen—this can take people a while to actually get out and do, so it’s a good idea to ask them very early on! (hint: the more the merrier, you need at least two, but I supplied 7 because I could, so if you can, get a good few people to do it!)

-Where can you get documents certified? Will it cost you anything? In the U.S one must go to a lawyer or notary public (banks usually have a notary public), but in Australia there is a plethora of people who can do it for you and for free. It’s important info to know at the beginning (a google search of “where can I get documents certified in X” will usually lead you in the right direction).

Part 2: Whole lot of writing and evidence gathering!

Now that you have a massive to do list and that you know what you will need to provide, it’s time to get it all together.

-Wait to get stuff certified: all official documents (passport copies, birth certificate copies etc) and stat decs need to be certified. Save yourself a trip and wait until you are sure you have everything that will need to be certified—I got extra’s of my passport certified too, just in-case.

-Figure out if you will do your medical and police checks now and hand them in with the application or hand them in after you have sent in the application. Certain places, Singapore for example, require a letter from your CO before you can send off your police clearance so you may not be able to do them all right away (if this is the case, ask your CO the minute they contact you for the letter you need). I did all of my checks and medicals within the month after my CO was assigned and had no problems in it taking longer, but it is up to you.

-KEEP IN MIND: It is super important to remember while doing this that your CO will not be a mind reader! Do you think that there is some explaining to do on some of the evidence you provide? I had a whole LOT to explain: my billing addresses were different from where my BF and I lived, there were date problems with statements because I had American accounts, the rental bond didn’t have my boyfriends name on it, we had no bills in EITHER of our names and much, much more! I (as the applicant, not the sponsor) wrote a Statutory Declaration for each of the evidence “sections” (financial, nature of the household, social context etc) and had those statements certified. My CO later told me that this helped with the process a lot—just don’t go overboard and write a saga for each piece of evidence! Keep it short, succinct and just explain what needs to be explained.

-Stat Decs from you and your partner: You can write these on your computer rather than on the stat dec form your friends and family will fill out for you. In the Partner Migration Booklet, there is a section that tells you what questions to answer. My declaration ended up being quite long and descriptive because it had to be due to my situation—this part is actually fun because it’s nice to see what your partner will write about you! They don’t both have to be super long, but make sure you both put some time and effort into it. Don’t forget to get them certified!

-Get your “identifying” documents together—since you will probably need identifying documents for more than your application (police checks for example) make sure you make enough copies.

-Fill out the two forms (47 and 40sp)—make sure you both have your dates straight! I don’t know about you, but there was a whole lot of “uuhhh’s” being uttered when we were trying to figure out the exact date we started dating…

continued next post.....


  #2 (permalink)  
Old 11-17-2009, 06:33 PM
 
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-Financial Evidence Tips:

-Don’t have a joint lease? Bills? Did you travel together for a year or live with your parents? Did one of you support the other? Relax. What I did and what has worked for others is to very meticulously go through bank statements, for at least the past 12 months you have been together. Whether you paid bills, rented a campervan, paid for a flight to see your partner, bought them a Christmas present, paid for insurance, groceries, rent and so on, even if you don’t have the actual bill/piece of paper that says you did, it will be on your statement. Highlight each relevant purchase/payment and put a one or two word description next to it. If you are in this situation, then definitely write a declaration that explains it all. You can also provide some bills (say one or both of your names aren’t on it) and include them in this section—your CO could match the billing date to when the payments were made in the bank statement. Bills and even grocery stores also have “codes” that can be matched. ATM withdrawals will also have a location near them which can be matched to things you say in statements (eg: my BF and I traveled to NSW together… oh look there is an ATM withdrawal from NSW at the same date they went…get where I am going with this?)

-You will be surprised as to how much stuff is on your bank statements—one idea to do while you are highlighting is, for example, if you find a purchase of a present your partner gave you try to find the card or the letter that came with it… copy it and provide it with your application.

-Bank statements can also serve to show you have been living together even if your names weren’t on the lease—if your billing addresses are where you both lived make a note of that in the stat dec for this section to bring the CO’s attention to it.

-Nature of the household tips:

- This is pretty straight forward—write a statement as to who did what in the house/who paid for what (see partner migration booklet), get bills together (if you have them, if not refer back to the financial tips), and correspondence addressed to both of you if you have it. I ended up including letters and cards given to me by my boyfriends family since I did not have any correspondence or bills addressed to both of us, save for one card.

-Social Context Tips:

-You can get cards together, ticket stubs etc. You may have already shown joint travel in your financial section if you used bank statements.

-Can your friends and family prove anything you have said along the way? Get them to write that in their stat decs (eg: if you lived with your mother, get her to mention that you did) along with stuff to prove your relationship is real.

-Pictures: don’t include too many (they don’t like it apparently) but do include ones showing you with each others families, out with friends, and traveling together if possible. Have you known each other for ages? Include one of you two where you look visibly different than you do now.

-You can write a short explanation/stat dec here too in order to explain what you are showing your CO

-If it’s a lot of small pieces, I stuck all of mine in a plastic baggy so they wouldn’t all fly around and I labeled the bag.

-Nature of your commitment to each other:

-Need to include itemized phone bills? Put a key at the top to what each number is (eg: Bob’s work number, Jane’s house number). Remember, these CAN be hard to get and you might have to pay for them depending on your company and how far back you need to go.

-Need to show your intent that the relationship will last—if you are planning on getting a house together, you can include a quote from a bank for a mortgage.

HURRAH!!! YOU’RE DONE!

-Go through everything again to make sure you have BOTH filled out what you had to

-If you know when you will be getting any evidence/character/medicals NOT included in your relationship, write that at the end of your application.

-Put it all in the post or lodge in person if you can

-And now the waiting game starts….

-Interview tips: look on this webpage, people have shared the questions they got asked!

-Don’t be afraid to ask your CO questions, just don’t pester them as to “did you look at it yet? Did ya, did ya?”

-Looking on this board can give you a hint as to how long it will all take, but it depends on when you applied and so on—some HR country people got theirs faster than LR country people, while other HR applicants have been waiting for months! The more complete your application is, normally for a LR country applicant, the quicker it can be processed.

Yikes, o.k so I think I wrote quite enough for now. Please do share your tips if you have them and I hope that what I wrote was helpful.

Good luck to all of you defacto applicants out there!

REMEMBER:

DO NOT post about your own individual situation here—post it on the main board where everyone can help you and benefit from the answers you receive.

I AM NOT a migration agent/immi authority—I cannot guarantee that what worked for me will work for you and I am not responsible for what you choose to include in your application or not.

THIS IS NOT everything you have to do, these are just tips, make absolutely sure you read the all the necessary information before applying, and double check before sending.

  #3 (permalink)  
Old 11-18-2009, 06:07 AM
 
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Haha elkitten your a funny one! See....migration agent in the making! Good form helping people out like you are.

I just wanted to add a couple of things:

*My partner is from a High Risk country but he wasn't asked to provide a form 80. I think it depends on your individual circumstances and maybe if they need just that little bit more convincing to approve your visa.

*The longest part for us to get together was definitely the statutory declarations. As elkitten said, get them organised early because people really do like to take their time. We also included stat decs from non-Australians who knew us well as a couple since we didn't spend any time in Australia. They were able to get their stat decs and copies of their passports certified by any notary public in their country of residence, i.e pharmacist, police, etc.

*Include even the smallest and seemingly insignificant pieces of evidence you have...but don't double up too much on the same kind of evidence, for example, 2 or 3 birthday or Valentine's Day cards you sent to each other will be plenty.

*If you don't already have any, see if you can get some of your family members to send postcards or Xmas cards etc addressed to the both of you to show that you are both considered part of the family.

Thats about all I think. Elkitten seems to have covered everything. Good luck everyone!

zacky512, audie, rhirhi and 1 others like this.

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Old 03-20-2010, 12:36 AM
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By JeniferMarie
Quote:
Advice and info for offshore de facto partner visa applications

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here is an outline of our visa application and the process for people who want to compare before they submit their applications:

A bit of background first - application made 27th November 2009 in Canada for a de facto partner temporary visa (offshore 309). Visa granted on 19th March 2010 - overall processing time - 16 weeks. We had been in a de facto relationship (in the eyes of immigration anyway) for 1.5 years and together for 2.5 years at time of application.

We did a lot of research before we lodged our applications and we had two main concerns - not enough evidence in the "social" catagory (we've been pretty tight on money here in Canada and going out/holidays were not a huge priority) - all we had were photos and some one way tickets for flights from Ottawa to Toronto. Our other concern was my partner's medical as he is overweight (BMI 40+) and has a previous history of depression.


Evidence we provided
Application forms
Joint bank account statements
Joint electricity bills
Cable bills in sponsor's name
Letter from landlord detailing rental agreement
Personal statements
Plane tickets for a flight together
Photos with friends and family in Australia and Canada
Statements from 2 friends and 8 family members
Letter from sponsor's employer
Sponsor's tax returns from Canada and Australia
Sponsor's bank account statements from Australia
Police check from Canada (local not RCMP)
Police check from Australia (AFP)

The worst bit of the application is definitely getting all the evidence together, we started collecting ours in August 09 with an aim to have it all ready for submission by early October 09. We had everything that we could do from Canada ready by that date, but it took another 6 weeks for all the Australian pieces to filter in (statements delayed by post, aus police check application got lost in the post). Id definitely recommend to anyone applying offshore that they should allow an extra 1-2 months for evidence collecting.

Our concerns about the medical were unfounded, the doctor was very positive when my partner had his medical done and told him he was as fit as a fiddle in spite of his weight. We did wait for the medical to be requested and looking back now, I think front loading the medical is definitely a better way to go if you're confident about the rest of your evidence (we were worried about the social bit, so wanted to pass our relationship evidence section first.)

We also learnt that the application is assessed in stages - 1. relationship requirement, if you pass this then 2. police/security checks and 3. medical checks. So if your application is ready apart from police checks or medical, you can submit and it won't delay the processing because these won't be reviewing until you satisfy all the relationship criteria.

Our visa was granted in exactly sixteen weeks - our CO estimated 12-16 weeks in her initial allocation email. Every timeline on here I saw for Canada was 8-10 weeks, so I presumed that the CO was overestimating to be safe and we would have ours in 8-10 weeks too. So we spent the last two months stressing that something was wrong with our application. Timelines are great to get an idea of what to expect, but listen to your CO, they're the ones who know best (even if it doesn't feel like that at the time).

Hope this helps some other people whilst they're preparing and waiting and best of luck.



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Old 12-29-2010, 04:30 PM
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hi, thanks for the information it was helpful in compiling our application.

I would like to share some of the things we have learned in the process. I would like to stress that we have not received our visa yet, and are not approved, but most of the information I will write here comes from advice given to us at the consulate and our case officer. I will stress though that this is my interpretation of what we were told rather than anything official.

The feeling I get is that every consulate is slightly different in the way they approach applications. I had read a lot of information containing information about what they want / don't want and how strict they are, and the strange questions they were asked at interviews. This information was anecdotal and based on individual experiences at their respective consulate. My experiences were very different in many cases. We had no intrusive questions, and the consulate seemed very relaxed overall about document requirements etc. The point I would like to make here, is that the best thing to do is to ask the consulate, attend their information sessions to find out what they regard as the acceptable standard. I sense that each consulate is shaped by the senior immigration officers sent from Canberra. It is my belief that case officers operate to the standards of the senior officer when anything is questionable. This should explain differences between locations.

We applied in China. For anonymity I will not specify the consulate. We found them to be very reasonable on a lot of issues. They understood that documents can be hard to obtain in China. Notably we were unable to acquire a police clearance for China for the entire period because my partner had only been working officially for around half the time spent there. They were very understanding and even forewarned us that this document will be near impossible to obtain. They said it would be okay if we couldn't get it. In the end she signed a statutory declaration stating she had not committed any crimes. Similarly, they were very understanding about the challenges couples might encounter when it comes to finding financial evidence. Because everything in China is often off the books it is very hard to acquire receipts, bills etc with both our names on it. Again, they said in advance that they understand that this is a reality for couples in China. There were a number of other cases where this occurred. The moral of the story for a future applicant is that by this example, the consulates are aware of regional challenges and the document checklist and items specified in the guidebook are flexible at least to some extent.

On a number of occasions the consulate told us that they are looking at the bigger picture when it came to our relationship. They were not considered about things at the margin like whether we had spend 355 days together rather than the mandatory 356 (that was given as an example although not applicable in our case). My understanding is that they will not reject an application based on a compliance technicality if they feel that the couple broadly meets the requirements. This is one area where consulates may differ, so it could be wise to gauge this prior to testing it. I believe the case officer will upon meeting you for the first time, know fairly instantly whether the visa will be granted or not. There would be certain types of relationships that would require much more scrutiny (like applicants who have applied for more than one partner in the past 10 years, couples who cannot speak a common language, couples with a significant age gap etc) but if the relationship is genuine they will no it immediately. The subsequent processing seems to be an audit to ensure that things are the way they seem, and that the applicant is of good character.

The consulate told us that if any documents were missing they would contact us. In this respect more is not necessarily better. We provided a lot of things that weren't necessary. I don't know that this is a bad thing in terms of the consulate, but it did take us a significant amount of time to prepare. As such less is more might not be as bad an approach as one might think. For example, so long as there is sufficient evidence to prove you are financially integrated, there may not be any point in sourcing and providing additional evidence unless they ask for it. They also told us a piece of advice that was contrary to what the website says. The website states that an application is reviewed based on the documentation submitted as of the application date. I.e. no additional documents can be included after submission. The consulate told us that they would happily accept additional documents after submission. Again, this probably depends on the processing culture within the consulate.

When preparing the application we were very concerned about a lot of technical things. Like whether originals or photocopies are acceptable, whether email print outs are okay, how creative can we be with our evidence. I think the answer to those questions is that anything goes. If it proves a point then it is admissible. They will ask for originals in some cases, but otherwise they are happy with copies, emails, etc.

I hope this helps at least one person, but if not thanks for reading.

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Old 02-11-2011, 07:51 PM
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Offshore How I lodged my De Facto visa in the UK

Dear All

I've been researching on various forum sites about collating, collecting evidence for my de facto relationship with my partner who is Australian.

It's certainly taken me a long time but I definitely could not have done it without this particular site. So I've summarised below what I've done and what I've learnt. The biggest stumbling block or should I say hardest to organise was getting the stat decs from friends/family especially Australian ones. It's friends finding the time to get their passports certified. But if you read the 888 form very carefully you can use people that know you that are not Australian, (I just think your application is stronger if you can use Aussie friends/family). Also in the UK you have to pay to get things certified unlike Oz, so if you're over there get heaps of copies done!

So can I suggest get that done first, (you can date it later) because for the person to find time to certify their passport or birth certificate takes some time. Secondly get your police checks done. I did mine the cheap way and just got a Subject Access form for £10.00/ten pounds UK and knew I had to wait 40 days. I downloaded the forms and sent it off with my birth certificate and phone statement from Australia to arrive at my mum's in the UK, (that's another story).
Also I had to get one from NZ, so I got all the forms I needed, faxed them to Wellington from the UK and got it before the UK police check!!!. BUT before all this I sent off for my certified birth certificate as this is the best form of ID.

By reading this forum, as I'm the UK applicant I collected everything I could about our relationship and my partner got all the phone bills and got copies of his passport certified and letter from work and passport photos. Since I was the applicant to be honest I did most of the work and the research, bless him.

I also researched the Relationship Register for NSW. Got all that done, sent off with all the relevant certified forms and $189 approx early November 2010 and voila got it the day I left for the UK on the 7 December and my partner bought it over for me. It takes ages as they wait for 28 days for either one of us to change our minds, plus I had to chase it. BIG NOTE - Births Deaths Marriages will only deal with/talk to the person named first on the paperwork. So even though I did all the work, they wouldn't talk to me when I was chasing them up as to when I would receive it. Get a couple of these copied and certified to send off with you de facto application. (Also it's cheaper than ordering an extra copy from BDM).

I have spent at least 2 months doing this paperwork and it's time consuming. I had to do extra work in my case because I am apart from my partner as my mum is very ill, so we decided that I would lodge it offshore, cos I won't be going back home for some time. Also if you do internet banking etc change back to paper cos getting a statement from your account WITH your address on, is soooo hard. Well it was for me.

I did my medicals yesterday, (Weds 9/2) with a wonderful lady doctor and another lady doing the x-ray in London. You have to sign an information sheet re HIV and they take copies of your passport. (For the ladies, please do not go when you are menstruating). Then you see the lady for an x ray, give a urine sample. Then you meet with the Dr. My doctor was a lovely lady. You get weighed, measured, blood taken, eyes and ears checked etc. Make sure you are not dehydrated as it's harder to find a vein. Once done, was advised by the receptionist that it would take up to 4 days to get to Aus House. You also have to advise where you are lodging and what visa the meds are for e.g. partner visa. Medicals cost me £228.00and I just booked it on Monday

I have lodged everything today, (10/2), paid my £1130 by credit card. The young guy advised I would hear something within 2 weeks. I'm sure I should have asked more questions but was so happy to get it all done.

UPDATE - 23 Feb 2011

I've sent off for my UK police check (the more expensive one as the subject access was not accepted). For the photograph element I had to ask a friend who's abroad to sign my pic. I've also had to post the paperwork for the Australian police check to my partner. I couldn't get a money order anywhere here where I live in the UK, none of my banks did a money order and after speaking to the AFP in Canberra they confirmed that they only accepted a money order or Aussie cheque. So my partner will have to send the money and paperwork off to them for me.

I went to Australia House this week and handed in my Birth Certificate and another stat dec from Australia from my partner's brother. I have less than 49 days to get the police checks back to my CO.

Today I received most of the evidence I sent back from my CO in the post - which I am assuming must mean that I've got through one part of the checking process!

Will update when I have more info.

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Last edited by SoniaSonia; 02-24-2011 at 05:42 PM. Reason: Update

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Old 02-23-2011, 01:32 AM
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First of all thanks Elkitten! This is a great thread that everybody who is in the process of applying for a partner visa should read before opening thousands of other threads asking the same questions over and over again!

I have a few more things to add that might be relevant for some:

Maybe first quickly to my story:I'm German,my partner Australian.I've been in Oz for a few years now (on WHV I & II),then ETA for 6 months, applied for the partner visa onshore (NSW processing centre) in April and got my visa approved within 1 week!

I front loaded my application with medicals and police checks and we got our relationship registered, because we didn't have enough 'hard evidence' to prove the min 12 months living together.

(I've heard that since jan 2011 you can't supply your medicals up front anymore.Instead you have to wait until you have a CO assigned and he asks for it.But I can't confirm that one as I did my medicals last year)

It seems that interviews are pretty rare these days if you apply onshore, that's why I think it is very important how you present your application.
There seem to be different opinions about that one out there too but summarizing:

- don't use stables/ plastic folders - use paper clips instead
- make it as easy for your CO as possible

KEEP IT SIMPLE THOUGH

Even though the checklist is kind of a table of content I would write one especially if you have lot's of supporting documents.

My application looks like this:

- Cover letter
- Partner Visa Application Checklist

1) The Applicant
-Form 47 SP

2) Proof Of Identity
-2 recent passport size photographs
-certified copy of passport
-certified copy of birth certificate
-certified copy of NAATI accredited Translation German → English

3) Character
-Form 80 Personal particulars for character assessment
-original AFP Police Report
-original Police Report (Germany)
-certified copy of NAATI accredited Translation German → English

4) Medical

5) The Sponsor
-Form 40 SP

6) Evidence Of Sponsor's Identity & Status-
2 recent passport size photographs
-certified copy of passport
-certified copy of full birth certificate
- Proof of Sponsor's Eligibility (Tax Assessment Notice,Payslips,Letter from Employer...)
- Sponsor Statement


Evidence of genuine & continuing relationship

7) History Of Relationship
- 2 Statements

8) Photographs

9) Financial Aspects Of Relationship
-Statement (explaining the following supporting documents)
- Evidence of joint finacial commitments & responsibilities
(joint bank account/ joint bill/ joint insurance etc)

10) The Nature Of Our Household
Statement (explaining the following supporting documents, outlining how the housework is distributed)
(joint Lease Agreement/ Reference letter from our previous landlord/joint utilities account/ correspondence addressed to us ...)

11) The Social Context Of Our Relationship
Statutory Declaration Form 888 from friends and family
-evidence of joint travel (bording passes, train tickets, hotel tax invoices...)
-evidence of joint participation (2 fishing licenses, 2 libary cards, tax invoices of joint courses (sport, language courses etc)

12) The Nature Of Commitment To Each Other
Statement (explaining the following supporting documents)
- registered relationship certificate
(evidence of email contact in time of separation/ evidence of super beneficiary)


I've hole punched the lot and put it in a simple tubeclip manilla folder

I found the pages 39/40 of the partner immi booklet very helpful in organising all the bits and pieces of evidence....

btw sorry I'm not sure if my post is better off here or in the sticky 'how to present my application'

Please comment or correct me if you know something I don't!

I hope this helps some of you

All the best and good luck with your applications!

4everblue, minaus, louiseb and 5 others like this.

Last edited by Mic2608; 04-13-2011 at 02:54 AM.

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Old 04-14-2011, 12:21 AM
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wow that was a great help.. thank you


  #9 (permalink)  
Old 04-22-2011, 03:24 PM
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PLEASE NOTE
This sticky is not the place to ask for advice and talk about a particular problem. Posts should only contain tips on providing evidence for the de facto visa. If you want to talk to a particular poster, send them a private message or start your own thread.

THANKS


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Old 06-22-2011, 05:50 PM
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Thank you so much elkitten! This post is filled with great information; I've already bookmarked this page for future reference. It will be invaluable as my partner and I begin our migration to Oz.

Good luck to all,
Cheers!


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