staying on an ETA with partner?

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staying on an ETA with partner?


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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 09-05-2010, 01:57 AM
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staying on an ETA with partner?

wow, I'm so glad I found this forum here. U do great work, guys!!! Hopefully you can give me some advice as well...
I am kind of stuck with my visa situation and my boyfriend...I am Dutch, he is Australian.

However, we are in a relationship for longer than a year, "living together" for almost 8 months. The big big problem is that I'm in Australia on an ETA. I thought this is the easiest way as I had just finished my undergrad studies in the NL and was in a waiting loop anyway before my postgrad course in the UK will start (9 months later). Thus, I stayed with him in Aussie- ETA got renewed twice by leaving the country (with him).

Last week: surprise surpirse (not really, after what I've now read here) I got stopped by an Immigration Officer at the airport asking me what my future plans are...when I am planning on leaving Aus etc. He realized that we are in a relationship (he was really friendly and quite relaxed though) and said I should spend "some time" outside Australia soon (no wonder after staying here since Christmas) but a future visit around Christmas this year will not be an issue (ETA was granted last year Dec, 21st and I could use it againt to fly to Aus this year on the 16th to visit him).

I am leaving AUS next week anyway to start my 9 months course in the UK.

We never intended to apply for sth "permanent" here while I am only on an ETA, we just wanted to spend the time together and see how we feel after living together for a while. The current plan is that I am visiting him Christmas and Easter and he will come to the UK in between. Once my course is finished (June) we will THEN decide whether we might settle down in the UK or in AUS or maybe even in NZ.

I am just so afraid that they (immi):
- dont let me in again this year christmas (being my 5th entry into AUS within one year, although I am genuine und really only want to stay for 3 weeks during my term break) [I even read in other threads that sometimes the Immigration Officer just decided to change the ETA duration for "suspicious people" in their DIAC Computers, like reducing it from 12 months to 6 months- without telling the people!!! They found it out by coincidence!!! Is that legal?? I've booked my ticket to AUS for Dec while I was in the assumption to (still) have a valid ETA to enter the country in December. If immigration just decided to limit my ETA to 6 months...will I only realize this on the airport in December?? (scary).

- same with Easter (and by that time my 12 months ETA will be invalid, requiring a new application, which could be refussed straight away because they might think I wanna emigrate "through the back door"

- we only lived togther (haha, this year while I was in AUS on my ETA) for 8 months, but not for 12- do we have to start "again" next year?? Or do we only have to live together for another 4 months before we could apply?

- the most likely scenario is that I come to AUS next year and spend a few months here on a Working Holiday Visa before applying for a Partner Visa- would that cause any trouble...again??? Because I only read that they HATE people staying here on ETAs and then applying for spouse visas- are they more relaxed if I am on a W/H visa??

I already feel as if I did something wrong. I was genuine and never lied. I didnt need to work this year while being in AUS as I still got support from my family back home and also my boyfriend never wanted a contribution to rent etc. Thus, I thought the ETA would be the most appropriate visa for these months. Also we knew right from the beginning that we will go to see his family in NZ once (and I will thus leave the country and I can renew my visa) and thus I couldnt see a necessity to apply for a long-term tourist visa.
But I am now afraid that immi will think I am not genuine and honest and might refuse future entries to Australia.

I am sorry for this long, terrible long post. But I thought I'd better explain the situation in detail.

Can any one give me any advice what to do??


Last edited by Soja; 09-05-2010 at 03:25 AM.

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Old 09-05-2010, 06:59 AM
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It's not as though you have done anything wrong and it is not unusual to be questioned by an immigration officer in the circumstances for that is their job to check on visas being used for their intended purpose.
You mention using the ETA again in December and seeing as it expires on the 21st., you ought to consider cancelling your existing one and getting another in December and you could use that for the April and a later visit as well if desired.

I've not heard of Immi officers changing visa conditions and sounds like more of a tale for I'd be surprised if they have that authority though people can be refused entry for various reasons but a decision taken by more senior Immi managers.
Hate is also a strong word to use and as I say Immi people have their responsibilities to enforce regulations that are set by legislation and if they do not, they are in fact breaking the law themselves.

Your time together now will not likely be counted towards the 12 months relationship in 12 months time and you can gather what will be allowed by reading the partner visa eligibility requirements, there being 12 months relatinship CAQ given as examples.
It may be best for you to get WHV, even do some regional work and/or WWOOF Australia Official Website as a means to getting 12 months together.

Alternately, if you decide on NZ, they have their immigration regulations.





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Old 09-05-2010, 07:14 AM
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Thank you so much for your quick response!!! I hope you are right with what you are saying. I actually read 2 similar stories in the www both European girls on ETAs with Aussie partners and in both cases the immi officer (at the airport) decided to let them in (again) but only for a shorter time than usual and then cancelled the ETA completely.

Why do u think it is worth applying for a new ETA for my "christmas" trip?
(I actually thought I am quite lucky that my current ETA will just still be valid to "hop in" again without needing to apply for it again (and being potentially refused!).

Many thanks again.


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Old 09-05-2010, 07:46 AM
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An ETA has a validity period of twelve months and if yours expires on the 21/12 and you enter on the 16/12 you'll be hoping you can get an extension if you are looking to stay longer.





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Old 09-05-2010, 07:53 AM
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hmm...I do have the information that it only depends on the "date of arrival" which must be within the 12 months period of when the visa was granted....that means, I HAVE to enter AUS before the 21st of DEC (latest) as this would be exactly 365 days later. I even asked the NL Embassy about that issue and they said the immi officers just dont like people arriving on the very last day of their visa (in my case the 21st) but if I arrive a few days earlier (in my case the 16th) that would be fine and I would get a normal stamp (90 days) in my passport.

Is that wrong??


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Old 09-05-2010, 09:26 AM
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Have a read @ ETA (Visitor) (Subclass 976) and a 12 months validity also means a visa is good for just 12 months and so whilst you could enter by 16/12 the way I read it is you'll need to be out by the 21/12 if not the 20/12.
You may want to ask Immi before you leave or on your way out to make certain rather than end up finding out you have stayed illegally and get a ban on future entry for a few years.





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Old 09-05-2010, 09:58 AM
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yap, I've already asked immi (in NL via email) and they said the ETA is an "invitation to show up" in AUS within the validity of the visa (21st Dec 2010) thus I would be given a normal 90 day stamp. I asked explicitly because I also thought that I would then "overstay" an be in the country for 12 months, 2 weeks...but they said it is ok like that.
They said it is more an authority to "travel to" Australia and within its validity I would be given the 90 days stamp.

(although very unsure about my initial problem...this particular ETA concern seems to be solved as I contacted Immi via email and phone on this matter).
Also...(just came up in my mind) they always say (if you apply for your ETA) it is valid for the next 365 days to enter AUS and once entered get a 90 days stamp then...In theory (if it would be different) they must have 1-89 days stamps there as well:-).


Last edited by Soja; 09-05-2010 at 10:00 AM.

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Old 09-05-2010, 11:33 AM
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If you want to believe what some person in the NL has told you and you do not want to check with Immi here in Australia, be it on your head then.
I would look at the ETA wording very closely, especially
Quote:
You can stay for up to three months on each visit within the validity of the visa.
paying due heed to the bolded words.

They do not say up to for no good reason.
In principle, all visas are granted for a specific period and not with an open ended date past a particular end date.

But you go for it and time will tell how successful you'll be.





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Old 09-05-2010, 11:43 AM
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Thank you again Wanderer. I really do appreciate your efforts to help me!!!
I will double check and ask immigration here in AUS before I leave. I dont wanna make anything wrong!!

I just soooooo hope that the embassy guys in the NL were right, cause (although maybe totally irrational) I am really afraid of being refused another ETA. And then having the "mark" of a denied visa in my records for the rest of my life. SCARY!!!!

Found this quote here re ETA: "You may enter Australia up until the last day of the validity of the ETA and then you may stay in Australia for up to 3 months." (found on an eta visa bureau homepage)
But I will def. investigate this issue properly again.

But my main concern is still: Did I do sth wrong with staying here so long on an ETA??? (All together around 7.5 months) and now immi knows that I have a boyfriend here (were honest at the airpoirt), am afraid their records will now show sth like "no more tourist visa"... Is there a realistic chance of my next (ETA) application might be refused on that basis??


  #10 (permalink)  
Old 09-06-2010, 12:00 AM
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ok, update: I called the info hotline of the department of Immi today and talked to a nice lady. She said that if I enter the country on the 16th of Dec (which is within the validity of my ETA) then I will be given "normal" entry, not for only 1 or 2 days. She also basically repeated what the Dutch guys have said that the ETA is valid to travel to AUS for 365 days and each time you arrive there you will be given a stamp which allows you to stay for up to 3 months (u can of course leave earlier:-) and should never stay longer than that in one go!).

Hope this info is helpful to other users as well!!


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