Applying for a visa can seem like a major undertaking. It takes time and demands you to organise and collect paperwork like never before as well as of course pay a sizeable chunk of cash. This is the blog post I wish I had read before starting my application process.

Start your online application

How long time does this step take
1-7 days depending on how fast you write and how much time you have

When to start
3-4 months before lodging your application

When you start looking into partner visas and how to apply for them, you will probably stumble upon something called a document checklist. It states all the documents that you must get ready before applying – and it’s a long list. I started collecting my documents before I started to fill my online application form. This made things more complicated for me because I hadn’t understood how to enter the information into the application.

Here is an example: It says in the document checklist that you must write statements describing various aspects of your relationship, such as how you are financially and emotionally engaged, and how you distribute household duties between you. In the application form, there are five small boxes with room for each their little statement, a different format than I had expected. So I basically had to do double work because I had to rewrite my statement. If I had just filled out my online application form before doing anything else, I wouldn’t have run into that problem.

 

How to Start your Application

How long time does this step take
About 1 day

  1. Go to your immigration account or create a new one at www.border.gov.au if you don’t have one.
  2. You will get a list of visa categories you can choose from. Pick the category called “Family”.
  3. Now you will see a list over all the visas related to family. The one I applied for is called Partner or Prospective Marriage Visa (300,309/100,820/801) Stage 1.
  4. Fill out all the fields. You will for example need to state your name, country of origin, and passport details.
  5. You will also need to write four or five small essays describing your relationship to your partner.
  6. Use the document checklist to gather all documents
    • Use the government’s document checklist to see what you need to provide. Note that you don’t need to do your medical assessment yet – you have to wait until after you have applied and you have received your HAP ID. I needed to get my official marriage certificate and my police record, certify all official documents, gather my pictures, and have two friends sign a statuary declaration in front of a witness. It took me three months! And remember that your sponsor (your partner) will also need to get some documents ready. It’s all there in the document checklist.
  7. Lodge your application and upload the documents
    • You can first upload the documents after you have lodged your application. So you need to click Submit, pay the charge, and then start uploading your documents. As soon as you apply, you automatically receive your bridging visa grant. It’s a temporary visa that lets you stay and work in Australia while you wait for a decision to be made.

 

Apply to be a Sponsor

How long time does this step take
About 1 day

After you have lodged your own application, it’s time to lodge the sponsor’s application. The sponsor’s application is a separate form that your partner will need to fill using the TRN (Transaction Reference Number) from your lodged application.

It’s quite simple – they need to fill in their official information in their own immigration account and tick a box that says the relationship isn’t coerced!

After they have applied, you need to upload their required documents from your own account.

 

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Do your Medical Assessment

How long time does this step take
1-60 days depending on how soon you can get an appointment

As soon as you have lodged your application, you will receive a HAP ID as well as instructions to go do a medical assessment. You can’t just go to any medical center. If you are in Australia, you must go to the company that’s partnering with the government at the moment. When I applied, that company was Bupa Medical Visa Services.

The appointment can be booked online and pay in advance on Bupa’s website. All you need to do is simply show up at your local Bupa clinic with your HAP ID and your passport, and they guide you through the whole process. They take an x-ray of your chest, take a blood test and a urine test. You are measured and weighed. Before you leave, you have a conversation with a doctor who takes a brief look at your physical state. They are really sweet, and it’s so easy and not scary at all.

You never get to see your results – they are sent directly to your case officer. So you don’t have to do a thing.

 

Wait

How long time does this step take
12-15 months

Now all you can do is wait. Your case officer might contact you if they need more information.

 

The Next Step

Lodging your application can feel scary. It’s a lot of money, and what if it doesn’t work out? Don’t worry too much. Things will work out just fine. If something is wrong with your application, they won’t just reject you, but ask you for more documentation.
If you need help moving on from here, go on to read some of my other blog posts about life in Australia.

 

About the Guest Blogger

Miette is a Melbourne based freelance content creator and translator.

She moved to Melbourne in 2016 after graduating from her BA in International Business Communication and Arabic.

Freelancing was the natural career path for her as it gave her the freedom to choose who she works for. She loves juggling different tasks, clients and deadlines and working out the puzzles along the way.

Find Miette here:
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 www.metteni.com

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