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Onshore or Offshore?


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Old 02-13-2011, 03:53 PM
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Onshore or Offshore?

My American boyfriend and I got engaged in January during my first trip to the US. As we met on the internet this was our first meeting and he will be visiting Australia twice in 2011 for approx. 3-4 months total. We are planning to marry in America next May.



We have read all the immigration documents and booklets for onshore and offshore applications. I am wondering other than the difference in cost, if there are any drawbacks to applying onshore and what visa it would be acceptable for him to arrive on if we chose that pathway?

aussie_girl


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Old 02-13-2011, 06:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aussie_girl View Post
My American boyfriend and I got engaged in January during my first trip to the US. As we met on the internet this was our first meeting and he will be visiting Australia twice in 2011 for approx. 3-4 months total. We are planning to marry in America next May.



We have read all the immigration documents and booklets for onshore and offshore applications. I am wondering other than the difference in cost, if there are any drawbacks to applying onshore and what visa it would be acceptable for him to arrive on if we chose that pathway?

aussie_girl
I think it really depends on your situation. I mean, for example, you can't apply for the prospective marriage visa with your fiancee in Australia. I really think it's more a matter of thinking about how you're going to prove whatever you need to for stat declarations. Also, being apart from one another means you'll have to plan any visits carefully, and check to make sure you can leave the country/are in the proper country otherwise the visa may not be allowed to be granted.

Those are the drawbacks I can think of off the top of my head.


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Old 02-14-2011, 01:47 AM
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Yes Silviar mentions a few of the difficulties and in general which visa you ought to go for is something you need to plan around in advance.
A lot of people seem to have the view that just being married ought to be sufficient to get a partner visa but there is a bit more to it for whilst the 12+ months togetherness may be removed, it does not remove that requirement altogether and a nominal six months together is apparently something of a yard stick.

So to marry in the US and then apply for a partner visa, you have to plan on spending six months together there and then the application itself can take all of six months or more to be processed.

Alternately, you could attempt to both to return to Australia, him on an ETA and then apply here but there's always the risk of questions being asked at the airport and entry being refused because his intention is not to be just a visitor.
The ETA could also have implications re when it expires and getting a bridging visa issued - as explained with http://www.australiaforum.com/visas-...-de-facto.html
Even if he is successful in getting in and then with a bridging visa, he cannot work on an ETA or bridging visa and he may not be able to get the restriction lifted.
So all up, it can be a bit messy.

I have also even heard of the US scrutinising the intent of visitors going to the US and they apparently particularly do not want to think of someone marrying a US citizen there for that can lead to them putting in a claim to stay, so you had better have a good look at their visas protocol.

To save all that hastle, why not have him put in an application for a PMV when he returns to the US and if returning later this year, it ought to be ready by about May and then he can come out on that and you get married here.
You could then consider making a trip over to do a marriage ceremony over there as well if you want to keep the US side happy.





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Old 02-14-2011, 06:57 AM
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Thanks so much to you both. Navigating this process is quite complex and your help is really appreciated.

It may also help to explain that we met on the internet and have been in a relationship for 12 months. By the time we get married it will be just over 2 years. At present neither of us are able to move to the others country - he because he is currently in the military and me because of my children. At the time of our application and thanks again to all the wonderful advice on this forum we will have accumulated documentation to show daily contact for 18 months+ through a variety of means, 3 holidays together (mine to America and 2 for him in Australia) totally 5 months, ongoing contact between us and the two familys and financial support of each other.

Staying in America after our marriage is not an option for us as at the end of his military service I will be the only one with a job, which I need to return to and of course, my children. After reading some of the other posts I am concerned about how the lack of living together will be viewed. Regardless, my fiance's religious beliefs would prevent us from living together before marriage anyway.

In terms of working restrictions on him, there will be no immediate need for him to work so fortunately that would be a non-issue for us. In terms of him arriving on a tourist visa after we are married (if we decide to go that route) he will have visited twice within 13 months of that date and again after reading the comments and other posts I am wondering if this would flag him in some way.

Also, I notice that the immigration documentation talks about being outside the country when the application is made and outside the country when the visa is granted. Is it possible to say make his application before he leaves America, have his medical check in Australia and go to NZ when the visa is granted so he is offshore again?


Sadly, we wont be able to afford to be married in two places and since he will be living here we want to do everything possible to see if we can be married there. However, we don't want to screw things up so he doesn't get a visa to live here so.....

Thanks again for your advice. Its really excellent to be able to ask these questions and try and be prepared.


Last edited by aussie_girl; 02-14-2011 at 11:00 AM.

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Old 02-14-2011, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aussie_girl View Post
Thanks so much to you both. Navigating this process is quite complex and your help is really appreciated.

It may also help to explain that we met on the internet and have been in a relationship for 12 months. By the time we get married it will be just over 2 years. At present neither of us are able to move to the others country - he because he is currently in the military and me because of my children. At the time of our application and thanks again to all the wonderful advice on this forum we will have accumulated documentation to show daily contact for 18 months+ through a variety of means, 3 holidays together (mine to America and 2 for him in Australia) totally 5 months, ongoing contact between us and the two familys and financial support of each other.

Staying in America after our marriage is not an option for us as at the end of his military service I will be the only one with a job, which I need to return to and of course, my children. After reading some of the other posts I am concerned about how the lack of living together will be viewed. Regardless, my fiance's religious beliefs would prevent us from living together before marriage anyway.

In terms of working restrictions on him, there will be no immediate need for him to work so fortunately that would be a non-issue for us. In terms of him arriving on a tourist visa after we are married (if we decide to go that route) he will have visited twice within 13 months of that date and again after reading the comments and other posts I am wondering if this would flag him in some way.

Also, I notice that the immigration documentation talks about being outside the country when the application is made and outside the country when the visa is granted. Is it possible to say make his application before he leaves America, have his medical check in Australia and go to NZ when the visa is granted so he is offshore again?


Sadly, we wont be able to afford to be married in two places and since he will be living here we want to do everything possible to see if we can be married there. However, we don't want to screw things up so he doesn't get a visa to live here so.....

Thanks again for your advice. Its really excellent to be able to ask these questions and try and be prepared.
You're right to be concerned about the time requirement - I think, given that you'd be married but apart because of military you might be able to get in under a special circumstances sort of waiver, but you're still going to have to prove how you support one another financially, etc, in everyday life. You can prove that you have a relationship, given your time together, but it's the time spent *apart* that concerns Immi.

Is he stationed somewhere that you can't live with him? I'm sure that would be taken into consideration for a spouse visa, but the fact that you've not lived together for a period of time is a big red flag.

Is he young enough he could maybe come over on the Work and Holiday program? That's another possible route you can take. I've known people who got married, then came over on the WHV and it went through fine.

Honestly, it may be better for your circumstance to wait on getting married and applying for the Prospective Marriage Visa - that way he can enter the country, you can get married, and then you can file for a spouse visa. Given the tricky timing situation you have, I think this would be a much lower risk option for you. Of course, no visa is guaranteed, but this one would give you government 'markers' of your continued relationship.


Last edited by Silviar; 02-14-2011 at 02:04 PM.

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Old 02-14-2011, 03:04 PM
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Hi aussie_girl

I'm in a similar situation in that my partner and I have been mostly long distance and have only lived together on and off, with periods of separation in between. Although we have met up and had holidays together like you and your man, and that definitely proves a real relationship, I don't think that would be sufficient evidence of a "de facto" relationship.

Also, with regards to this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by aussie_girl View Post
It may also help to explain that we met on the internet and have been in a relationship for 12 months. By the time we get married it will be just over 2 years.
Immi does not count the time before your first physical meeting with your partner as time spent in a relationship as quoted below:

Quote:
My partner and I met over the internet and we established a close relationship before we had physically met. Can the time since we began our relationship before meeting be considered as part of the relationship requirement period?

No. The period where you were in contact over the internet or by other means before actual meeting cannot be considered against the one-year relationship requirement.
from Immi's website: Australian Immigration Fact Sheet 35. One-Year Relationship Requirement


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Old 02-14-2011, 03:11 PM
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There are 3 reasons we can't live together before his arrival in Australia:
1. His religious beliefs would prevent us from living together before we were married.
2. I am the primary carer for my 2 minor children. I would not be able to get permission from their other parent to take them to American for an extended period. Aside from how disruptive it would be to them.
3. He can't leave the US (he is stationed at home for the remainder of his contract) because of his military contract.

I'm not sure if any of that would count with immi as an explanation of why we didn't live together prior to marriage.

The original plan was to marry in American in May 2012 and for him to join me a month later, June 2012, once his contract had expired. He is certainly within the age range for the WHV so that might be an option for entry. That would mean we were only apart for one month of our marriage necessitated by our circumstances (army and children).

He is very keen to get married in his familys church as it will be the last thing he will share with his wider family before he leaves to live in Australia. Ultimately, the bottomline for us both would be to do whatever gives us the best chance at getting him here and getting a visa for him to stay. Hence, here I am on the forum asking lots of questions and trying to prepare for next year. I have also been reading the other posts and the immigration literature but its easy to get lost in the complexity of it all.

Thanks again.


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Old 02-14-2011, 03:20 PM
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Thanks Peggy. I remembering reading about the 12 month requirement in another post, although we weren't intending to claim de-facto status. From the time we first met physically to the time we intend to get married and apply for his visa (whichever order that happens in) it will be just under 18 months.


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Old 02-14-2011, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aussie_girl View Post
There are 3 reasons we can't live together before his arrival in Australia:
1. His religious beliefs would prevent us from living together before we were married.
2. I am the primary carer for my 2 minor children. I would not be able to get permission from their other parent to take them to American for an extended period. Aside from how disruptive it would be to them.
3. He can't leave the US (he is stationed at home for the remainder of his contract) because of his military contract.

I'm not sure if any of that would count with immi as an explanation of why we didn't live together prior to marriage.
First, I just wanted to clarify - technically, since you're getting married, it's not that you *have* to live before marriage - you could live after marriage and still fulfill the time requirement. My concern is that 1) you need to actually have proof of time lived together and 2) as you said, I don't know if military counts as compelling or compassionate reason enough to quality waiving that time together. And how Immi takes that explanation is what's important.

Given the uncertainty of it, I'd have him enter on the Work and Holiday visa - I don't think he'll get a no further stay condition, and then you can live together for 6-8 months, then submit the spouse visa application.

Also, I know how stressful reading all of this is. Don't make yourself try to learn it all in a day or even a week. Take lots of breaks. Read, then stop and give yourself an evening to chew over it. It'll help stop from feeling overwhelmed and crying jags.


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Old 02-14-2011, 07:11 PM
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I think Silviar has it pretty much right in her summation re the W&HV and not getting stressed in trying to work it all out too quick.
And likewise with
Quote:
There are 3 reasons we can't live together before his arrival in Australia:
1. His religious beliefs would prevent us from living together before we were married.
2. I am the primary carer for my 2 minor children. I would not be able to get permission from their other parent to take them to American for an extended period. Aside from how disruptive it would be to them.
3. He can't leave the US (he is stationed at home for the remainder of his contract) because of his military contract.
Though yes, it is up to Immi to decide, my own view is that I doubt Immi will see anything compelling there to vary their determination.
Your times together on visits is really to Immi just going to be courting time and you do need to have a read of Booklet #1 and what is expected re a relationship.

Your fella through his military time will know all about regulations and how military nor governments bend them too easily, thus it may be nice and all to get married over there but if it is going to cause some massive head aches and post wedding stresses, that's not a good way to start a marriage.

I think there are two things you can address right now to see what steps will be best.
1. Check out his eligibility for the W&H V for the USA 462 does have some particular requirements re education etc. and it is not just more an age based one as the 417 is.
That will determine whether you work that in to the plan of getting married over there and he entering on that and then applying for the partner visa out here - the best for you both I'd feel.
2. Also do check out your entry into the USA for though Australia is on the Visa waiver as I understand at the moment, you do not want to arrive at the airport with a wedding scheduled and say to an Immi enquiry there that you are arriving to get married and find that you are shown the door to the transit longe or worse to await the next flight back home.
They may have a special visa for people to apply for, one where you demonstrate your commitment to leaving and not being there to marry and stay.

If your fella is not eligible for the W & H V , I feel he'll still have a risk in getting the partner visa accepted, given that you'll have had a very limited time together and forget the idea of your relationship being 18 months as far as the partner visa goes.

It may be that your better fallback plan is that you get married and then if you're considering that he wants to have a longer visit to Australia to determine if it is going to be best to settle in Australia or the US, it may be acceptable that he arrives on an ETA and that at least gives you another near three months together and that could be doubled with a trip to NZ and back, but always some risk re entering though if he/you are all about still working it out re where to settle, still a possibility.

Lets Hope he is eligible for the W & H V

A couple of other things you may want to consider are:
I think you'll also find that your guy will need to have his military discharge papers before a partner visa application would be accepted and so if you are planning to marry before his discharge, that'll delay a partner visa application and possibly complicate things further.

And re his military service, if he has served abroad for more than 12 months, he'll need to see about a police report for wherever it was.

And also do make sure that he is aware that FBI checks can take all of about 12 weeks to be obtained and I'm not sure whether being in the military will complicate that but do have a good read of the Character section under eligibility and he/you ought to factor what is applicable into your planning.





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