Expat Life

The road to residency part 4: all the extras

I started on the road to residency in June 2013, almost a year ago. The process is finally coming to an end. Well, sort of.

I’m applying onshore (that is, from within Australia) for a de facto partner visa subclass 820. This is a temporary visa. When granted, if the relationship is intact after two years, I could get a permanent visa, subclass 801. I lodged my application today.

I thought this day would never come. Every time I thought I had everything I needed, my migrant agent asked for more. There is a list of documents that Immigration requests. Then there are documents you can add to support your application.

Immigration requests various forms:

  • copies of personal documents, such as passports and birth certificates
  • evidence of a “genuine and continuing relationship”
  • an Australian National Police check
  • an FBI criminal background check
  • a medical check
  • two passport-sized photos
  • a personal statement on the history of the relationship and your future together

And they want a lot of detail. For example, you have to provide a list of employment “since birth” and explain any unemployment gaps. You have to provide a list of all the places you’ve lived at for the past 30 years.

If you have good records and a scanner/printer at home, you could get through most of the forms in a week or so. Other processes, such as fingerprints, police and FBI checks, and the medical assessment, take months.

You also need a couple of family members or friends to vouch for your relationship. They need to be Australian citizens or permanent residents and provide proof. They need to complete a statutory declaration (form 888) explaining how they know you and why they believe your relationship is legit. All these documents must be certified.

This is a good time to mention the process of certification. Almost everything you submit must be certified. To have a document certified, you take your originals and their copies to an authorised person. They review each one, stamp it, and sign it. There are many people authorised to do this and it doesn’t have to cost you anything. You can go to the police station, Australia Post, a doctor or registered nurse, a justice of the peace (JP), a solicitor or barrister. You can only have your own documents certified.

I go to my local police station. Go during slow times. A police officer turned me away once because he was “too busy”; he told me to come back before 7:00 am or in the evening.

Proving that your relationship is “genuine and continuing” is crucial to obtaining a partner visa, but Immigration is not clear on what constitutes proof. They require two form 888s, but don’t explain much beyond that. This is where the extras come in.

My migrant agent suggested I submit three form 888s. He also recommended that we register our relationship with the State of Victoria. I put together a CD of 22 captioned photos of us out and about and with our family and friends. I submitted a range of documents that show that we live together: drivers licences, fishing licences, bank statements, bills, a pet registration renewal notice, and an invitation to Christmas brunch addressed to both of us.

And so that’s it. I hope. My migrant agent said everything looked good and he’d lodge the application. I thought I would feel relief, but I’m more anxious than I was before. My mind full with all the worst-case scenarios. I have to wait and try to relax. My migrant agent tells me Immigration is taking about a year to process applications. Talk about torture, but he assures me it will be fine. Wish me luck.



  • This is excellent! I am “trying” to get my de facto application together at the moment but it’s very slow going so your posts are all really really helpful 🙂

    • Cosette

      Thanks, Vicky. I’m hardly an expert, but I’m happy to answer any questions. Good luck on your process!

  • That’s a heap of paperwork, but well worth it! It’s very exciting!

    • Cosette

      It is exciting. And nerve-wrecking haha.

  • Yes! It’s difficult to work out whether we’re just being thorough or going over the top but I am going with the idea of the more the better to make sure it all goes through smoothly, or that’s the theory!

    • Cosette

      Yes, and there are a lot of different opinions from expats about what is enough and too much, and whether that helps or hurts the process. It’s really hard to say. I take the general position of giving them just a little more than they require. If they ask for two declarations from friends, we gave three, but no more than that.