Dean and I applied for the 820/801 Australian Partner Visa way back in 2015. Even now, almost five years later and very much on the other side of the process (he was approved, yay!), I still remember how enormously stressful and difficult it was to gather our evidence and put our application together.
I definitely don’t think I’m alone in this. My Australian partner visa blogs attract a lot of people, and I hope they’ve helped a lot of people in the partner visa process. However, I still get 1-2 emails every single week from people asking me just how I put all of the requested information together in a way that was coherent and kept to the upload limits on the application (60 documents when I applied). While I can’t say for sure that this is the right way to do things, Dean and I were a couple who (like many who go through the process) could not afford to hire a migration agent. I suppose my ‘method’ has been proven a success, but in my case only. Still, I wanted to provide a really concrete and simple look at how we applied for the visa, and specifically how we organised our application.
If you’re looking for a list of the documents that we included only, you’ll find them on the post that goes through our First Stage Australian Partner Visa Application. This article is really just a look inside the nitty gritty of the application, with a few clear examples that I hope will help others who are doing their application.
Remember, I am NOT a Migration Agent, so this information is provided only in the form of unprofessional advice based on my own experience!
What Our Australian Partner Visa Application Looked Like
When the entire thing was compiled, here’s every single document that we uploaded for our Australian partner visa application:
- Cover letter (explaining how evidence in our application was organised)
- Form 40SP for me (sponsor)
- Form 47SP for Dean (applicant)
- Biographical evidence for me (birth certificate, passport, updated passport photo)
- Biographical evidence for Dean (birth certificate, passport, updated passport photo, U.K. police check)
- Character Statutory Declaration for Dean
- Form 888 (we included these from four people)
- Statutory Declaration (we each did one of these, talking about our relationship)
- Household Evidence in 5 parts
- Commitment Evidence in 4 parts
- Financial Evidence in 4 parts
- Social Evidence in 6 parts
This application is a behemoth to put together, and it’s also not super specific about exactly what kind of information you need to include to prove your relationship. Let’s face it, putting something abstract like a love story down on paper for a government official is not the most natural thing to do. I admit that we were grasping at straws with some of our evidence (again, see the full list here), but I think that non-professional approach is accepted if you aren’t using a migration agent.
Ok, so let’s talk about parts. I used the Australian government’s own categories for organising my application (Household, Commitment, Financial and Social). Within each category, I collected evidence to prove our relationship in something akin to chapters. So there would be the primary category (i.e. Financial) and then the secondary category (i.e. relating to Australian bank accounts) and then the individual evidence number. For the secondary and tertiary category, I assigned numbers. So secondary would have the whole number, and then tertiary would have a decimal after the whole.
Whew. Explaining that was actually pretty complicated, and I’m not done yet.
So each ‘part’ (i.e. secondary category) was its own document to upload, and a secondary category might have 1-6 pieces of tertiary evidence inside it in the form of documents, photographs, receipts, flight itineraries, leases, phone logs, greeting cards, statements and so on. The tertiary evidence I organised on the front page of each uploaded document in a table, so that at a glance a human case worker could easily see what the uploaded document contained in relation to our application. These tables of contents also allowed me to describe in one sentence the evidence, to provide a little bit of context if needed as to why it was being included.
What we ended up with was evidence that we could easily reference in our statutory declarations. By assigning simple categories and numbers, we were able to say: “please see Financial 1.2” instead of “please see our England bank statements from March 2014 to February 2015”.
Are you confused yet? Well stay with me because I do have examples.
Examples From Our Australian Partner Visa
Allow me to give you a few examples of this system, taken directly from our Australian partner visa application:
So you can see in the example above that I put this evidence into one category (relating to our UK bank accounts) and gave it the number 1 as it was the first evidence in the category pack. Then each individual piece of evidence was given a sub-number. The table of contents provides a summary to show why the evidence has been included in the application.
This is a long example as Dean and I did a lot of travelling together and I wanted to show that. Again you can see that the flight itineraries were the first piece of evidence in the Social category evidence pack, and each itinerary was given a sub-number. The summaries here give some information about the reason for travel, with a focus on the personal/relationship.
A Note On The Cover Letter
A few people have asked me about the cover letter, because I always mention that we included one when people email me about it. This is not evidence that is on the list the government give you, because it isn’t really evidence as such. Basically, I saw the cover letter as an opportunity to explain the system of organisation we had used for our submitted evidence (basically pointing out the system and that there were tables of contents for each section) as well as to tell them that we hadn’t included a medical check (as they are only valid for 12 months we wanted to wait for the request for more information to get this done). I also put in something there about how we had done the application to the best of our knowledge, and we would be more than happy to provide any additional information on request.
I hope this article helps give a bit of insight about the nuts and bolts of applying for the 820/801 visa. As always, I am not a migration agent and the information that I have provided was absolutely correct at the time that I applied (in 2015 for stage 1) but the process or requirements may have changed since. Always check the information provided by the Australian government, and if you have questions you can often find answers at the Australia Forum. I’ve provided links to both of these resources below.