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What is my best option?; Moving to Australia
Topic Started: Jul 13 2017, 02:37:11 AM (226 Views)
coyote
Piker
(Edited for removal of panic and clarity, lol)

I intend to move to Australia from America ~ the other half and I have decided that we can no longer live separately ~ so ideally we would like to live in the same hemisphere while we go through the visa process. I have passports for my son and myself and all is ready except the question of what visa to get.

The majority of our relationship due to work/time/finances has necessarily been on skype/via email/phone/texting. We have been together for around (a bit over) two years and this is something we want to make permanent/get married.

So, in regards to the visas available to us, here are the issues/questions I have:

At this moment we are looking at heading to Oz late August early September. I plan to get a 90 day tourist visa for my son and myself....question is, then what? As I said, we are done living apart so any help in avoiding that would be greatly appreciated.

I have no family, and being a stay at home mom (I work from my home as an English tutor to college level students-but am lower income), I have few opportunities for socializing. Having been made an orphan of the state as a kid, I have no contact with any family I once had, such as it was. In regards to visas, this means I lack the ability to secure much in terms of written statements as who would I even get them from? Is this going to really hurt me in regards to my visa application or will they take circumstances such as mine into consideration? (I do have my original birth certificate, drivers licence, and passport and any background checks will come back clean. I also have full custody of my son and the court documents that say so~his father has chosen not to be in his life.) So, most of the documentation we can provide in regards to our relationship would be in the form of skype records and texts...would this be enough?

In regards to shared accounts ~ this was something that hadn't even occurred to us until recently as we just assumed we would worry about that when we were at long last living together. Ahh the blissful days of ignorance and just enjoying being in love pre-immigration worries! Should we either open a joint account or add me to the one he already has in Australia? Would that help us prove that we are in fact together? Is there anything else in this regard that we should be doing...

For a defacto visa ~ not sure this would really work for us given the amount of 'proofs' they want to establish that we really are a couple ....grrrr. It seems even more difficult to obtain than the partner visa, though maybe I am just not reading it right in my panic?

For a partner visa ~ this brings to mind other questions, such as: Should we consider marrying BEFORE I come to Oz or is it okay to wait and do so once there? Should I file for a partner visa via offshore, or onshore and are there any advantages one way or the other? Will being married before entering the country help prove that we are in fact the committed, loving couple that we are? For me, having no family to speak of, when/where I marry has no real family bearing. All of his family are Aussies so of course would be nice to do so in Oz...it would also most likely keep his mum from hating me completely~I figure being American is probably enough of a blow. If I enter Australia on a 90 day visa~ am I allowed to then file for an onshore partner visa~should we marry before we do so? I don't want to tick immigration off, we just no longer want to live apart and are doing everything we can to make this a legal reality. If I file for an offshore partner visa instead, how then do I legally stay in Australia until a decision is made? Should we be married prior to applying for the offshore one too?

Would it be worth it to get an immigration agent/lawyer?

I am completely confused by much of what I have read on the border/immigration/visa site that Australia has.

Any thoughts or advice, even best guesses would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much in advance.

Edited by coyote, Jul 13 2017, 10:50:11 AM.
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Judy
True Blue Mate
[ *  *  *  * ]
I can't answer all of your questions but re #1, the defacto partner visa does apply to you.
#3. You don't have to use an immigration lawyer, but if you can afford it, doing so can give you peace of mind as they will tell you exactly what's required at every step and vet all your documents etc to make sure they fit requirements.
#7. You don't have to have a joint account, but it's one good piece of evidence in support of your relationship being genuine if you have one.
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coyote
Piker
Thank you Judy for replying :) You think the defacto would in fact work for us? Even given our limited 'proof'? (I edited my original post for clarity, I hope) Would getting a joint account now be of any benefit....we hadn't thought about that...just figured we would do that when I got out there. Thanks so much for replying :)
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Hanasian
Anklebiter
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Hello coyote. I came over from the PNW in 2007 under similar circumstances. When I applied for my 820 partner visa in January 2008, I collected a ream of documentation to prove our relationship was 'genuine'. My wife & I had about 5 years of communications via email, phone and text records, message board posts, etc. My wife had an established bank account and we went in to a branch and we opened a second account that was tied to hers. We eventually closed her old account. One of the key things is whether they Australian partner has the financial ability to support the visa applicants. Getting a joint account helps to prove the relationship.

Getting back to the visa, I was here on the ETA and we hired a migration agent to help us make sure we ticked all the boxes and dotted all the i's and crossed the t's. Since we had planned to get married, it was recommended that we apply for an 802 Partner visa. The process went fairly smooth... paying the $$, getting health check and xrays, fingerprinting for the FBI report, getting a letter from the local law enforcement saying I wasn't a grub, etc. We got the ream of documents together for the migration agent to go over, and when everything was collected, he put it all on a big envelope and I took it down to the immigration office and turned it in with my application. They granted me a bridging visa which basically said I could not leave Australia until my case had been reviewed and ruled on. From the time of my application to the time my temporary residency was granted took about 6 months. I was in country when we applied and later got married before my visa was granted.

Also, if you have a current U.S. state drivers license, that can come in handy when you apply for a drivers license here in Queensland.

Anyway, sorry about the randomness of this post. It's a bit all over the place.
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coyote
Piker
Good morning Hanasian (or evening). Ahhh thank you for your reply, that does clear up a few things for me and no worries about the post being all over...worked for my brain perfectly ;). I did have a couple of additional questions for you if you wouldn't mind?

You said you sent in reams of phone records, emails, texts, records? Do you mean you printed out entire conversations or just some kind of log that had the times and dates? (Just wondering how many hours I am going to need to set aside for the BOOKS worth of conversations if they want it all)

Thank you for clearing up the shared banking information question as well.

In terms of your applying for the 802, do I understand you correctly in that you applied while onshore AND had your fingerprints and such done in Australia? I have heard some not great things on various forums regarding the FBI rejecting fingerprints when they have been done in Australia and/or not accepting digital fingerprinting. Did you have yours done in Australia and if so, did you encounter any issues thereof?

Also, did you get your anti-grub letter before or after you went over? Is that something I can do ahead of time?

Thanks again for your reply :)



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Judy
True Blue Mate
[ *  *  *  * ]
Regarding printing out emails, etc, my partner and I had only had a long-distance relationship (i.e we had never lived together for longer than a few weeks at a time) at the time we applied for her Australian visa, so a lot of our evidence was in phone calls, emails, and chat messages. We did indeed print out a lot of these entire conversations to include with our evidence, to show that our relationship spanned several years.
Edited by Judy, Jul 14 2017, 01:36:09 AM.
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Hanasian
Anklebiter
[ * ]
coyote
Jul 14 2017, 01:16:28 AM
Good morning Hanasian (or evening). Ahhh thank you for your reply, that does clear up a few things for me and no worries about the post being all over...worked for my brain perfectly ;). I did have a couple of additional questions for you if you wouldn't mind?

You said you sent in reams of phone records, emails, texts, records? Do you mean you printed out entire conversations or just some kind of log that had the times and dates? (Just wondering how many hours I am going to need to set aside for the BOOKS worth of conversations if they want it all)

Thank you for clearing up the shared banking information question as well.

In terms of your applying for the 802, do I understand you correctly in that you applied while onshore AND had your fingerprints and such done in Australia? I have heard some not great things on various forums regarding the FBI rejecting fingerprints when they have been done in Australia and/or not accepting digital fingerprinting. Did you have yours done in Australia and if so, did you encounter any issues thereof?

Also, did you get your anti-grub letter before or after you went over? Is that something I can do ahead of time?

Thanks again for your reply :)



G'day Coyote!
Yes, like Judy did, we printed out a lot of our online communications. They were mostly emails from early on, some important ones that came later, and paper copies of phone records. Since a lot of my phone time while in the states was at work, my Aussie partner kept her phone bills. Our migration agent said it may be overkill, but it was best to have too much than not enough with the initial filing. Chances are that Immigration didn't look at too much of it, and it was all returned a couple months afterwards. I would recommend getting the e-communications sorted and be able to have easy access to them, and print out the highlights where big decisions are made. The date stamps are the key to these I think. So yes, get a ream of paper and be ready to replace the toner cartridges and spend some time getting it all sorted.

As far as the 'grub' letter, I happened to know the desk sergeant of my local county sheriff's department where I lived for 15 years, and when I called her from here, she was more than happy to write up a letter on their letterhead saying what an upstanding citizen I was while there. She emailed the PDF, and mailed the paper copy to me. It is probably something you could get done before you leave the USA and may be easier to do it in person, especially if you are dealing with a larger county or a city police jurisdiction.

I did apply onshore. I was here on my 2nd trip over on my ETA visa waiver, and we worked on getting the paperwork done. I actually took the packet the migration agent had organized for us down to the immigration office in Brisbane on the last valid day I could be in the country. They granted me a bridging visa that day that was good until my case was ruled on. The only requirement was that I could not leave Australia while there on the bridging visa.

As far as the finger printing and palm printing, at the suggestion of our migration agent, I went to my local Queensland Police watch-house and explained I needed a full set of prints done for my USs. FBI check for immigration. I paid them something like $40AU for it to be done, and they used U.S. law enforcement approved forms to do it with. I mailed it off to the FBI, and it took 6 and a half weeks to get a reply back. It was an 'all-clear' with no issues with paperwork. It was rather a painless process, though a bit greasy and messy. They had some auto mechanics hand cleaner to use to clean off the inks. I still have all my files, so maybe I can go see what the form number is/was.

Other things I found helpful was keeping my U.S. bank account open and semi-active. It has come in handy a few times over the years. I would have kept my Washington drivers license too but I needed to visit in person in 2011. I could have done it but didn't do it when I was over when my dad had his stroke. I only had a few days and spent my time with him.
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