After almost 4 years of living in Australia and nearly 3 years to the day I applied to stay, I have been granted a permanent partner visa. *Pops open the champagne*
The announcement was so unexpected.
I was in Penang this weekend, catching up with my parents who were on holiday in Malaysia and celebrating my 2-year wedding anniversary with Justin. I was lying poolside, casually scrolling through emails, when one from the Australian Immigration Office caught my eye. The subject line was ‘IMMI Grant Notification’ and sure enough when I opened the attachment there it was. My permission to remain, indefinitely. (As long as my husband and ‘sponsor’ lets me, that is!)
Without any fanfare or fuss – with not a single call or email from an actual person within the Department of Home Affairs – there was that one little email that means so much.
I felt like I’d just passed an exam. I’ve written a lot about the laborious application process for a partner visa in Australia and have had hundreds of messages from readers over the years going through the same process and getting equally confused. You can provide as much documentation to prove the legitimacy of your relationship as you see fit and when I read what others had done on blogs and forums I panicked. Where was my contents list and 800-page folder of evidence?
But despite not knowing the exact bar for approval we seem to have done it right. Without being asked to clarify, resend or double-check anything, my visa has been granted. We did the whole process without a lawyer as we felt we were a pretty clear cut case and didn’t want to increase costs any further – it currently costs from $7000 AUD to apply for a partner visa without legal consultation! I’m so relieved that what we provided turned out to be enough. *Yes I will have another glass of bubbles, thank you*
If I think about it too much, becoming a permanent resident in Australia actually terrifies me. I don’t do permanency well, that’s why I’ll never get a tattoo. Now I officially/legally/on record have two homes, I feel even more split. It’s something that never fully forms in your mind when you start a process of dating, marrying and applying to live with someone from another motherland but that’s how it is. At least for me.
But for now my paperwork pains are over. No more documenting our every move and writing statutory declarations on who does what housework!
So I would just like to encourage anyone still gathering evidence or waiting to hear from IMMI that it does end and at least, for many of us, the system lets us remain with our partners while we wait to hear the outcome. I reckon if your relationship survives this you’re ready for anything. Amiright?!
Find more details on the application, processing times and current fees for an Australian Partner Visa (subclasses 820 and 801) on the Home Affairs website.
For more on my tips and experience with the process read: