At the core of any Partner application is the provision of proof that your qualifying relationship is genuine. For the applications that we lodge proof of relationship makes up around 70 % of the application.
So what is all this stuff?
On the DIAC website at they tell you this…
Note the link to Partner Migration Booklet 1 which is also very helpful in a long winded sort of way.
The first part of this huge bundle of bits of paper is clearly specified in the DIAC online checklists –
- A statement or Statutory Declaration from the sponsor and visa applicant about their relationship – your story, in your own words and in as much detail as possible. We always put this in as a Commonwealth Statutory Declaration. Don’t write a short novel – if you can’t say it in a few pages you’re telling them too much about yourself.
- Witness Statements on Form 888 – Statutory declaration by a supporting witness relating to a partner visa application. (You must have at least 2) My advice is to choose independent witnesses first who are Australian citizens (next best Australian Permanent Residents) and then go for the odd relative or two if possible. While more is not always better you may add a few extra 888’s if you are a little short on the subjective proof to follow. You do not need to flood DIAC with 888 forms!
- Marriage Certificate or Relationship Registration Certificate if applicable.
The second part of this proof is not nearly as obvious. There are no real rules here as every relationship is different however this is what DIAC give us as a guideline…
You must provide proof that your relationship meets the specifications at Migration Regulation 1.09A – a genuine, continuing and mutually exclusive commitment to a share life together.
Examples quoted in the Migration Regulations
Nature of the persons’ commitment to each other
- joint ownership of real estate or other major assets
- any joint liabilities
- the extent of pooling of financial resources
- basis of shared day-to-day household expenses
Nature of the household
- joint responsibility for the care and support of children
- living arrangements
- shared responsibility for household duties
Social aspects of the relationship
- testimony from friends and acquaintances
- planning and undertaking of joint social activities
- evidence of how the persons represent themselves to others
Nature of the persons’ commitment to each other
- duration of the relationship
- degree of companionship and emotional support that the persons draw from each other
First in this part there are three things to remember –
- If you are applying as a de facto couple and the relationship is not registered you’ve got to prove to DIAC with bits of paper that you’ve been living together (co-habiting) for a minimum of 12 months – so things with dates on them are very important. You obviously want to give evidence for the whole period of the relationship you claim but the 12 months is the threshold requirement.
- If you’re married or in a registered relationship you need to offer proof that as a minimum that matches the length of the marriage/registration. If you’re saying you’ve been together as a de facto couple for 3 years and you registered the relationship last week you should aim to show as much as evidence as is possible covering the length of the relationship.
- This is a paper process and DIAC can only see the picture if you paint it for them. The key to relationship evidence is corroboration. Telling the same story from as many different perspectives as possible.
So how do we do this? There is no single answer and everyone will be different.
You’ve already told your story and you’ve provided 888 witness statements and perhaps a marriage or registration certificate so that’s three views of your relationship.
Who else knows about your relationship? Who’s the next of kin on your passport, driver’s licence for example?
Have you declared your relationship to any third parties? Perhaps the Australian Tax Office or your Superannuation Fund.
What things do you have in joint names? Bank accounts, Utility Bills, Mortgage, Rental Lease, Insurance policies
Do you use social media? Facebook relationship status for example
What visual records do you have? Photos? Website?
If you’ve been apart for any period how did you stay in touch? Emails, Skype, SMS – print them out
When you buy things, especially any significant items, get a receipt in both your names if possible.
Envelopes and correspondence are great to show you both live at the same place – name address and they’re dated. They can be addressed either individually or in both names.
Do you both belong to the same Club, Sporting Association, Church etc… give them copies of the membership cards or evidence of your participation.
If you give each other cards on Valentine’s Day, for a Birthday or any special occasion copy them
And so it goes on and on. None of these items in and of themselves prove anything really but when they are all together in one application they provide corroborative proof that you are a genuine couple.
I interview clients, find out about them and then tailor a list of required documents to match their individual circumstances. It’s not rocket science as they say more common sense. Basically you need to show DIAC how your relationship works rather than trying to fit yourself to some imaginary model.