UK Citizen living in Dubai - Applying 309 Temp Spouse Visa

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UK Citizen living in Dubai - Applying 309 Temp Spouse Visa

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Old 01-22-2011, 11:28 AM
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UK Citizen living in Dubai - Applying 309 Temp Spouse Visa

Hi all, this forum is full of great advice however I have found it somewhat difficult to get feedback and advice from those in similar situations. I have researched the immi website in and out, have received soem vague responses, and am still somewhat confused about which visa to apply for and what our options are. We are only printing off applications forms and collaboring information now so have not yet started the process.

I have drafted an overview of our situation below (to allow you experts out there to point us in the right direction!)


I (sponsor) am an Australian citizen (female, 30 yrs old)

My husband (visa applicant) is a UK citizen (male, 33 years old)

We both are residents of Dubai UAE, where we are on working visas.

We wish to move back to Australia together middle of this year to my home town of Cairns, where I own a home and we will have sufficient funds to support ourselves until we find work etc. We hope to reside in Australia as man and wife permanately.

Husband has been to Australia with me to visit family etc approx 4 times in last 3.5 years. No issue with tourist /ETA visas at all. Too old for working visa as far as I am aware and dont think his profession on skilled migrant list so spouse visa seems most likely option for us.

Further background:

We met here in Dubai in Sept 07 while I was on holidays with a friend. I returned to Australia, we maintained a long distance relationship, then I moved to Dubai in Dec 07 to be with him. We have been together almost 3.5 years now and lived together from the moment I arrived in Dubai

It is not legal for unmarried couples to reside together in Dubai under Islamic law (although a blind eye is generally turned to couples of non muslim faith and many expat couples therefore are in this situation). My husband and I were married in Australia in Jan 09 (5 weeks after we got engaged, 16 months after we met and 1 year after I arrived in Dubai). It was only us and 2 witnesses.

We married at this point to stay on right side of the law in our host country although we planned on having a large wedding the following year to allow time for family and friends abroad to save and attend. Our 'big' wedding with family and friends in Aust was in September 2010 (technically a reaffirmation of vows). Plenty of photos and videos to produce as proof.

We are in a genuine relationship and should not find a problem producing photos, stat decs, travel itineraries, matching passport stamps etc. However we are concerned about not being able to provide joint bank account/lease agreement and bill information as everything in induvidual names - we each established our own accounts etc when we moved here and were unmarried and didnt worry about joining things together after married as a lot of red tape here and simple tasks are very difficult. In short, whilst unmarried we did all we can to prove we were NOT a couple whilst living in this islamic country however in order to get into Australia we need to do everrything to prove we ARE!

Has anyone had similar experiences in countries where religion and the law are integrated? and would immigration Australi be mindful of those living in such environments and how this could affect theri ability to produce joint documents as proof?

We have no criminal records, have not been married before, have no children or any extraordinary or unusual circumstances. Before we even start thinking about the documentation and what other forms we can provide in our living arrangement, we need to decide with visa path to take. From my research I gather our options are as follows:

1. Apply offshore subclass 309 temporary spouse visa from here and wait (9-12 month wait estimated, some say up to 2 years wait list. UAE a high risk country- Does this matter is applicant from UK, a low risk country?

2. Apply from here and move to Australia in July/Aug when we want to go(even if visa not yet granted). Husband could get a 12 month tourist/other visa and upon advice his temporary spouse visa about to be approved, departs country in order for his visa to be granted (advice please - is this legal and how do those residing in Aus without a spouse visa get away with living there before the visa granted? I have heard about a bridging visa but unsure what he could apply for - advice please?)

3. Both go to Australia now (or in a month or 2 once affairs closed off here) and apply for temporary spouse visa once we are there. As above. How does he legally live in Australia with me before such a visa is granted? I understand he may not be able to work however the options are just not clear to me.

Apologies for waffling on. Like so many on here (and some a lot worse off I know) I would really appreciate a personalised input on what my options are here. Thanks so much.

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Old 01-22-2011, 02:34 PM
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Applications from non muslims in strict muslim countries have not come up on the forum that I recall Rr so I'm not too surprised on you not being able to get much feedback and it does make for some potentially tricky situations.
As I suggested to n_jonck on the thread where you have posted, have you attempted to get an interview with an Aussie Immi officer in Dubai for they should have an understanding of the customs over there and be able to advise on what will be acceptable if you are applying there.
And btw, though I have just drifted into being on a forum where immigration issues are thetop topic, I'm no expert and just self taught by involvement but I help where I can.

On the surface of it, with a marriage certificate dated January 09 you should not have too difficult a time of it wherever you apply and even without joint accounts and bills etc. because of the culture over there, you'll still have travel records and your individual bank accounts which may show expenditure for oneanother and both and then as I said to n_jomck, what about your employers and any other addressed correspondence.

As for the various options you are considering, there's advantages and pitfalls both ways.
First, it seems there is something of a trend re all forms of partner visas blowing out a bit re processing times though there have still been exceptions posted and it probably comes down to a number of factors, the accuracy and completeness of an application being one, staffing and numbers of applications another, possibly few in Dubai but then also local attitudes which may not be a factor seeing as the applicant is from the UK.
1. Thus I'd not expect that an application from there would take nine months and certainly not two years unless there was some definite local reason for it and again something that could be dicussed in general if you can get an appointment though you'll never get a concrete guarantee.
Another option that could be a possibility if your husband had been considering a trip back to the UK in near future could be to lodge the application from over there, but perhaps some disadvantage as UK COs would not likely have any exposure to what it's like in Dubai but your two year marriage ought to offset that and in fact if you can drum up something re your relationship commencing in December 2007, your husband may be able to get a PR visa straight off rather than the TR and then PR approach.

2. Though applying in Dubai [ or London ] and entering on another visa is a possibility, there is one potential danger that is a bit hard to measure and really only came to my notice recently with someone from the USA considering that, thus a little explanation:
[ there's the offshore/onshore principle of where you apply you need to be to have the visa granted and with skilled visas there's something of an anomaly in that the regs do allow an offshore visa to be applied for whilst onshore and in that situation, though it is not contained in the regs and to the contrary there used to be a subtle warning about mot neing in the right place and your visa application could be rejected - anyway, it seems that Immi in Oz out of the goodness of their hearts do contact people to advise them a grant is imminent and to make arrangements to take your trip abroad for the visa to be granted.
The lady from the US posted about how she had been advised by the Washington office that travelling to Australia while her visa was being processed could jeopardise the granting and I suppose she is just following the regs and they may be followed according to practices of the locale, perhaps some Immi offices think it is up to the applicant which it is and we do not want to be messing around with checking where they are, as simple as that may seem but then some offices could be doing quite a few visa applications weekly, so it could be bugger it, the onus is on the applicant and that is how it'll be done, the other difference being the skilled visa situation is an offshore visa which is allowed to be applied for inshore whereas that is not the case with the partner visas, it being either offshore/onshore ]

It is something else you could attempt to discuss if you are able to get an interview with someone in Dubai to see what their attitude would be but again I doubt there would be a guarantee given, the ultimate responsibility still with the applicant.

It may be a case of if you can get the application in quick enough, keep the fingers crossed and hope the visa is granted by the time you want to return or even hub hangs on for a bit.
To answer the second part of your question there, hub still needs a visa to retuen to Oz on, be it an ETA or an eVisa and there is no bridging visa if he has applied offshore so if the partner visa had not been granted by the time his visa was to expire and it was an eVisa which had a No Further Stay condition, he may have to make an extra trip out for the eVisa is only good for three months though if he gets an eVisa that does not have a No Further Stay condition he can apply onshore for a visitor visa and also could do that with an ETA .

3. OK, heading to Australia and applying is not exactly what you would be doing if you know what I mean!, because there is such a thing as using a visa for its intended purpose that people could be quizzed on and so of course he could get himself an ETA because this was another trip over and there may still be a need for him to return to Dubai even though it may not be necessary for you.
It may seem a bit odd that he has a lot of personal papers etc, with him if they got real quizzical but you thought they are better off with you for the time being [ and you are married afterall ] and to save baggage, a lot of stuff may have even been shipped/posted separately.
Anyway, a couple of weeks into his stay here it pans out he can get things tied up from here and the ETA not having a No Further Stay condition on it, he is free to put in a partner application while here.

What normally happens when an onshore visa is applied for is that a bridging visa is granted to be valid from when the existing visa expires to when a decision is made on the new visa.
Having an ETA is a little peculiar in theory [ and I've never heard from anyone applying for another visa while on one, but I think there has been the odd post where applications have been made ] for after three months it does not so much expire but one is supposed to leave the country to be able to return for another three months.
In practice I would hope that he can front up to the local Immi office and say what can we do about this seeing as I have this onshore partner visa application in and perhaps they will cancel it and issue either another visitor visa or a bridging visa.

btw, ETAs do not normally get issued for UK citizens anymore though you can supposedly get a travel agent to do one so it may pay to check with a travel agent in Dubai to see about getting one.
An english women down in SA [ jfr ] has just recently posted for she has a similar dilemma, her husband already in Queensland too, but anyway she went to get a Visa and they gave her a 12 months multiple entry visa without a No Further Stay condition but on asking her it is for only three months at a time so basically still an ETA so if she uses that and then applies onshore, she'll have to also see if it can be cancelled and another visa issued rather than leave at the end of three months.
Another way around it could be to make an eVisa application and see if it is issued without the No Further Stay condition and if so, when it expires at the end of the three months and a partner visa has already been applied for, a bridging visa will be issued.
If the eVisa does have a No Further Stay condition on it, he could cancel it and then go and see a travel agent to get an ETA and do as above.

And yep, it may impact on him re not being able to work but someone just posted recently on applying for a partner visa onshore while having a visitor visa and they applied to have the restriction removed and got permission to work, pleading financial hardship, so you may be able to get that fixed too.

Do post on which way you do this and how it all turns out, all for the best I hope.

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Old 01-25-2011, 11:26 AM
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Wanderer, I just want to thank you for taking the time to write such a comprehensive reply to my query. You are so helpful and I hope people do take the time to thank you for this as there are so many grey areas in the way of immigration!

At this stage we are narrowing down to 2 options.

1. Apply for spouse visa 100 from Dubai before mid Feb and simply wait until we know when visa will be granted (average processing time 9-12 months at present), estimate when we will have to give rent/work notice/send things to Australia. OR We may decide to leave Dubai sooner (e.g. so can give exact notice and end tenancy when due so no penalised) and travel a little before we go back to Australia however have to determine if applying offshore if he has to physically be in the country of application (UAE) once visa granted (or can he be anywhere as long as not in Australia?) I dont know if spouse visa a physical visa where passport is needed to a notification. (apologies, so much information to absorb and all a bit of a blur now)


2. Leave Dubai sooner (within 2 months), move to Australia and lodge spouse visa 100onshore (est. March 11). Hub on existing tourist e-visa for 12 months, conditions are 'no longer than 3 month stay' ' no work' 'no tb' and expires on 21st July 2011. Have read through but do not see anything specifically saying 'no further stay'. Only 'you must not enter Australia after visa ceases'. Is this NFS condition you speak of generally clearly noted on document?

If we go with this Option 2, then we are hoping we can go to Australia, hub can stay until 20th July 2011 (expiry of tourist e visa) and a bridging visa can be issued to allow him to stay in Australia until the spouse visa is granted (hopefully) within a few months (if apply March est Aug- Nov, 6-9 months depending on Aus immigration queues at present). Still unsure if immigration will automatically give him a bridging visa upon expiry of his visitor visam, seeing that his spouse visa is in place. Or will he have to leave Aus (e.g. fly to NZ) before 20th July and return, be granted another tourist visa (we hope) and then wait for spouse visa - even though immigration wont issue a spouse visa if a tourist visa in place apparently. Just unclear how if people apply onshore they get to stay before a spouse visa issued. I guess a lot are already there on working visas or the like.

Anyways, if I can just get these last couple of questions answered .i.e. 1. do we have to be in Dubai when visa granted if we lodge it there (or just out of Aus) or 2. Will a bridging visa be issued automatically or can we apply after his tourist visa expires in July, est a few months before spouse visa will arrive.

Many thanks for anyones advise

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Old 01-25-2011, 04:36 PM
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Hi Rileyrose,

I had applied for 309 visa at the Australian Consulate General – Dubai, we are about your age, received the visa in 4 and half months though it was mention in the initial email that I received, that it takes 10 or more.

When I did receive the email informing me that the visa is granted, the below was mention

“Please advise me which Departmental Office the applicants wish to visit or
to send their passports to for visa evidencing. Should they wish to get
the visa evidenced at a Departmental Office other than the Australian
Consulate General - Dubai, we will need to electronically transfer the
application to their choice of the Departmental Office. This transfer
takes up to 72 hours.”

So I assume that you can be anywhere & not necessary in Dubai.

Hope this helps.



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Old 01-26-2011, 12:52 AM
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Yes, as Roverto has posted, you do not need to be in the country where you applied for an offshore visa and it is just that you cannot get it granted while in Australia, Roverto also giving an indication of what is a more reasonable processing time though that can change with overall numbers in queue approaching end of financial year even if it may be more so for an onshore application - really impossible to predict.

You do not even really need to go into another embassy or send your passport anywhere for a sticker and can just ask the issuing embassy to enter details into the Immi computer and send you a confirmatory email of the visa having been granted and that the entry has been made.
A visa holder than just needs to attend an Immi office in Australia to have the sticker inserted but their passport being scanned on entry will indicate they have the visa.

I did think after my earlier post that he may still have a valid visa if you have been back and forth recently so having one that expires in July is OK and particularly if you arrive within three months of its due expiry but if earlier, I'd still expect that with a partner visa applied for within the three months they will be able to cancel it and issue a bridging visa, the ETA style multiple entry visas not usually having the No Further Stay condition on them and the not entering after the visa ceases is just merely stating the obvious, ie. you no longer have a valid visa.
So yes, it is a very automatic standard practice for a bridging visa to be issued on expiry or withdrawal of an existing visa when someone is able to apply for an onshore visa and it is happening quite regularly, likely so for most onshore visas being applied for.

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Old 01-26-2011, 05:09 AM
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You have both been most helpful and this will assist us greatly in planning our next steps when applying from here. One last thing, Roverto, did you provide police and medical info upfront or do you wait for them to request it?

All the best!

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Old 01-26-2011, 07:44 AM
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There was just someone else asking about the applying offshore and moving onshore and so I just had a look at latest wording in regulations, thus
There is however a potential trap

It is possible to apply for an offshore skilled visa while in Australia and perhaps in it being something of an anomaly, though it is not Immi policy, when that occurs and a person is in Australia on another visa, Oz Immi have been notifying people that they need to make arrangements to take their trip abroad to have the visa granted, perhaps goodwill and seeing that there are reasonably few numbers.

The Onus however is on the Applicant to be in the right place
Going back a while, there was previously a refence to perhaps having a visa rejected and that still is the case in Booklet#1 on P46 but more so for an onshore visa, there being earlier references to notifying Immi about address changes and travelling though the policy re checking prior to submitting for granting is less clear.

Thus I say potential trap for recently another poster in the US was told by the Washington Immi people that she could put her visa grant in jeopardy by travelling to Australia whilst it was being processed.
By that, it would be meant that if a check was not made on the applicants location when the visa was ready for granting and it was submitted for granting, it would be rejected because the person would be in Australia.
I am unaware of whether the granting process allows for a backward step in that situation but the general rule is if a visa application has been rejected, that's it other than making an appeal.
The wording in the Booklet #1 is no clearer though it does refer to onshore visas:
If you have applied in Australia, you must ensure that, before you travel outside
Australia, you have a visa to return. Otherwise, you may not be able to return to
Australia and, if your partner category visa application is refused while you are outside
Australia, you may not have a right of review.

That may be because offshore family visas do get determined by offshore offices and they may have their own particular approach.

If I was an offshore applicant I would certainly lodge a Form 1022 to advise them of when I travelled to Australia and also request advice from the office where I lodged the application to see if they would have an approach of making contact to advise on leaving Australia because of a visa grant being imminent, a reference to Booklet #1 and relevant clauses being used to highlight the situation.
Responses could range from negative in not getting one to receiving a positive affirmation.
Still not cut and dried re the regs though some hope in that the warning is more for onshore applicants but still a need to be wary and check with where you submit the application and get a Form 1022 in.

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Old 01-26-2011, 09:46 PM
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Can't really advise you on your Aus spouse visa, but would recommend getting the police clearance certificate before leaving Dubai. I had to get one for my 176 application and there are quite a few hoops to jump through if no longer living in Dubai.

I'm British (living back in London) but also got married while living in Dubai.
My wife (who was also working in Dubai) is from the Philippines so had to apply for a visa when we moved back to London. We had been married for just over 2 years and had no problems, but we did have a baby, which probably showed we were in a committed relationship.

Good Luck

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Old 01-27-2011, 05:30 PM
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I did provide the Police Clearance while submitting my application but provide medical, once they requested.

As Baby_pom has mention, I would also recommend, to get the police clearance certificate before leaving Dubai.

FYI, exactly one month after I provided the medical, I received the visa but as Wanderer has said it depends on the number of application in the queue.

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