There’s a quote that goes, “If love was a choice, who would ever choose such exquisite pain?” Well, hundreds of thousands, it seems, judging by how many Filipinos and Australians have chosen to enter into the uncertain terrain that is an interracial marriage.
And no, when I say exquisite pain, I’m not referring to the complications that it took to get there (then again, long-distance relationships are no picnic, hon), but to the amount of work involved in bringing your spouse to live with you Down Under (legally, anyways).
We’ve already discussed the process behind securing a partner visa for your fiancée, spouse, or de facto partner in an earlier article, so for this one, let’s have a look at the documents you need to submit instead:
Both forms have to be completely filled out in the English language. One of these is for you to accomplish while the other is for your spouse, if s/he is also your sponsor (s/he has to be 18 years old and above and an Australian or New Zealand citizen to qualify, by the way):
Form 47SP Application for Migration to Australia by a Partner. If you are the one migrating, you need to fill this one up. Once finished, you either submit it via your ImmiAccount or through mail. You can also submit it in person if you happen to be in Australia at the time of your application.
Form 40SP Sponsorship for a Partner to Migrate to Australia. If you are the spouse/sponsor, you need to fill this one up and submit it via your partner’s ImmiAccount, through mail, or in person.
Proof of Identity
A certified true copy of your birth certificate with both your parents’ names listed on it. If it’s not possible for you to provide this, a certified true copy of any of the following will suffice:
A government-issued identification document;
Court-issued documents verifying your identity;
A family book showing both your parents’ names;
A certified copy of the first page of your passport or any other page that has your biographical information on it. If you are also applying on behalf of any dependents (e.g., underaged children, etc.), you should get this kind of identification for each of them as well;
A national identity card, if your government issues such;
Two (2) recent passport-sized (45 mm x 35 mm) photos of each person applying for the partner visa. Photographs should reveal only the head and shoulders of each person against a plain background. The names of each person should also be printed on the backs of their respective photographs;
A certified copy of the name change, if you or any of your dependents had to change your birth names at some point before the application.
Proof of Relationship
Certified copies of marriage certificates or similar relationship registrations for you or anyone else included in the application;
A certified copy of a death certificate, divorce document, or separation document if either of you has been married before and was divorced/separated/widowed;
Form 888 statutory declaration by a supporting witness in testament to the applicant’s being a prospective spouse or partner of the sponsor (to be filled out by two Australian citizens or permanent residents who personally know the couple in question);
Written statements from you and your partner detailing the history of your relationship (how you two first met, how your relationship developed, when you decided to start a de facto relationship or get married, your living arrangements, any periods of separation during your relationship, as well as your future plans);
Certified documents that prove joint financial commitments and responsibilities (e.g., joint bank statements, joint ownership of real estate or property, insurance policies, etc.);
Certified documents that prove shared household responsibilities (e.g., bills or other similar correspondence addressed to both of you at the same address, joint responsibility for children, if any, statements about how you distribute household chores between yourselves);
Documentation showing how your relationship is viewed by your family and friends (e.g., joint travel plans and photos, invitations to both of you as a couple from friends or family, evidence of joint participation in sporting or cultural events, etc.);
Documents that show your commitment to each other (e.g., written proof of your intentions to continue the relationship for the long-term, such as copies of your last will and testament listing each other as beneficiaries, correspondence and itemized phone conversations that prove you two stayed in touch during periods of separation, etc.);
If you and your partner are in a de-facto relationship, you will also need to present evidence that you have been involved in such for at least a year (12 months) prior to your application.
Health and Character Certifications
A health examination, if required, with the resulting certification to be lodged with your application form along with the name of your health identifier (include their HAP ID in the form). Note: Make sure you get a health exam at a clinic that has been accredited by the Australian embassy or government for visa purposes;
A Medicare card or receipt of Medicare enrollment (one for each applicant);
Documents showing adequate health and travel insurance;
A signed letter from a health insurance provider;
Documentary evidence that everyone included in the visa application has applied for an Australian Federal Police National Police Check, provided they are above 16 years of age and have spent a total of 12 months or more in Australia since turning 16. The application form can be accessed here.
Police certificates or clearances from any country where anyone included in the visa application has spent a total of 12 months or more since turning 16. The original copies should be submitted, but be sure to keep copies for yourself.
Supporting evidence that everyone included in the application is sufficiently covered by health insurance in Australia, such as any of the following:
Sponsor’s Supporting Documents
Documentary evidence proving that the sponsor is an Australian citizen or permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen, such as certified true copies of any of the following:
A birth certificate;
An Australian citizenship certificate;
An Australian passport or foreign passport containing evidence of permanent residence;
Evidence of length of residence in Australia or continuing links with such, if the sponsor is an eligible New Zealand citizen.
Evidence showing that the sponsor usually resides in Australia, if s/he is not a citizen. Any of the following will do:
Utility accounts in your sponsor’s name for gas and light bills;
Paperwork showing ownership or rental of their Australian address;
Bills in your sponsor’s name for day-to-day expenses (e.g., phone bills, Internet bills, etc.);
If you are below 18 years of age, your sponsor should also present the following documents:
An AFP National Police Check, if the sponsor has spent at least 12 months total in Australia since turning 16 years of age;
Police clearance from any other country where the sponsor has spent at least 12 months total in the last ten years and since turning 16 years of age.
Additional Documentation for Applicants Assisted by a Migration Agent or Agency
If you decide to enlist a migration agent or agency’s help in filing an application for your partner visa, you will also need to prepare the following documents:
An accomplished Form 956 advice by a migration agent/exempt person providing you with migration assistance. Your migration agent should be the one to fill up the form and have you sign it;
An accomplished Form 956a appointment or withdrawal of an authorized recipient, if you would prefer your migration agent to receive official correspondence on your behalf. As with Form 956, your migration agent should be the one to fill it up so that you can sign it.
The last step, of course, is to pay the application fees (well, that and perhaps say a prayer or two for a smooth and easy application process). This is usually paid in Australian dollars (AUD$) and via a credit card online.
However, if your sponsor has paid for your application fee, you must file your application by mail or in person and present the original receipt issued to your sponsor as well.
You can use the following link to calculate an estimate of how much your application would cost and also find out how much the surcharge will be if you use a particular credit card to pay for it.
If There Are Children Involved
So long as a biological or adoptive child is a minor and/or dependent on you for basic needs, you can include them in your application for the partner visa. The additional documentary requirements would be as follows:
Certified true copies of the birth certificates of all biological children included in the application, all showing the names of both biological parents (presumably you and your spouse/sponsor);
Certified true copies of the adoption certificates of all adoptive children included in the application, all showing the names of both adoptive parents (presumably you and your spouse/sponsor);
Documentary evidence of each child’s dependency on you, such as:
Evidence of their current studies being financed by you and any other document showing the child’s financial dependence on you for the past 12 months immediately preceding your application;
Proof that they live with you (e.g., mail addressed to the child with your address on it);
Proof of the child’s relationship to you (e.g., a birth certificate indicating your parentage of the child).
On the other hand, if the child is below 18 years of age and his or her other parent is not included in your application, you will have to present additional evidence of your legal right to bring the child to Australia:
Certified copies of court documents granting you custody or guardianship over the child;
A statutory declaration from the other parent granting you permission to take the child with you;
A completed Form 1229, giving consent for the granting of an Australian visa to a child who is not yet of age. This should be submitted along with a certified copy of the other parent’s government-issued ID (e.g., a passport or driver’s license), photograph, and signature.