'Do my documents need to be certified?', 'how many photos should I provide?', 'do my documents need to be translated?'... We hear these questions on a daily basis.
So today, our expert migration agents with 100% success rate in Partner visas help break down the top 10 most commonly asked questions relating to Australian partner visas and what documents are required. Hope you will find these tips useful!
1. Do I need to certify my documents?
Contrary to a popular understanding, most of your documents do not need to be certified if you are lodging an online application. If you're lodging a paper application, then documents need to be certified.
2. Do I need to provide originals?
Do not provide original documents. Just simply provide clear, scanned colour copies of all documents.
3. Do my documents need to be translated?
All documents need to be in English. If documents are not in English, it will need to be translated. If you're applying from within Australia (e.g. onshore application), your documents must be translated into English by a NAATI-certified translator.
If you’re applying from offshore, you may use a translator that is not NAATI-certified. They just need to include their: 1) full name, 2) address and telephone number, 3) qualifications and experience in the language they are translating.
** If you would like more information on points 1, 2 and 3 above, here's a link to the relevant information published by the Department of Immigration: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-text/eplus/Pages/elp-h1470.aspx
4. How many witnesses statements do I need to provide?
2 statements on Form 888 is the minimum requirement, though we would recommend providing additional ones in order to have a stronger application.
5. We have heaps of photos, that should be enough to prove our relationship right?
Unfortunately, case officers aren't looking for lots of photos, they are looking for evidence that you meet the 4 key relationship criteria. Whilst photos might be great to demonstrate the 'social aspects', but they're don't help for 'financial aspects'.
Our biggest advice with photos? Slow down! Select the photos that add value (provide photos over the length of time you guys have been together), instead of multiple versions of the same couples photo just from different angles 😁 It's about providing enough of the right evidence - truly quality over quantity in this case. See our answer to question 6 below.
6. How many documents should I be providing? Should I just upload everything I have?
Have enough evidence to prove that you meet the 4 key criteria, but don't go overboard! Case officers have strict targets, and if your application will take up their whole day and a half, it will likely cause delays to your application. They are also human, help them better understand your situation, don't confuse or overwhelm them.
How can you get your application granted faster? See article here: [Expert Tip] How to Get Your Partner Visa Granted Faster
As mentioned in Question 5, instead of providing lots of documents, you should be providing enough of the right documents. For example, instead of 150 photos, we ask our customers to limit theirs to ~35. Inundating case officers with the same photos from different angles, 20 statements from friends of one side of the relationship, etc. will not only add a lot of work, but will add very little value, and can actually "dilute" the strength of your better documents.
What are the 'right documents' you need to provide? This article discusses the 4 types of documents you must include in your partner visa application: [Expert Tip] 4 Things You Must Include in Your Partner Visa Application
7. What if we don't have a joint bank account?
Joint bank accounts are typically used for the financial aspects criterion. If you are uncomfortable about having joint bank accounts together, you just need to instead have very strong alternate evidence to prove you meet this criterion. Use other documents like proof of bank transfers between your individual accounts, receipts for joint expenses, etc.
8. What if we don't have bills with both our names on it?
Joint bills and bank accounts are usually good evidence to prove that you have a joint household (you have both established a joint household to live in together). If you don't have either, it's important that you collect a lot of alternative evidence to prove this.
Sometimes we find that people tend to struggle to find enough evidence for this criterion. It doesn't mean you're not eligible for a Partner visa, but it does mean that you will need to have strong evidence for the other 3 criteria to make up for this.
9. Do I need overseas police certificates?
If you have lived in any country for more than 12 months (cumulatively) since turning 16, then yes, you need to provide a police certificate for that country. This includes Australia.
10. What should I be including in my relationship statements?
This depends on your relationship. In general, you should describe the development and current status of your relationship. Every relationship is different, so you should include any other topics that you feel the case officer should know about.
Some of our clients write touching statements of how much they love their partner. This is good, but this alone is not enough. The 'nature of commitment' criterion is extremely discretionary, which means it's up to the individual case officer to assess if it's good enough. Every case officer has different preferences, so the key is to have a good balance of facts/timelines, and emotional language. The relationship statement is a key piece of evidence that adds a "human touch" to otherwise "dry" documents like lease agreements, bank accounts, etc.
Bonus tip: If you have something you're worried about that would affect your application, such as a previous relationship, our recommendation is to not hide it, but to address it head-on. Convince the case officer it doesn't affect your eligibility and that you have permanently separated from your previous partner and your current relationship is genuine (and exclusive!).
Don't worry, we can help you review all your documents and statements to ensure that you haven't missed anything important, and that your application is the strongest it can be. Book in your free consultation to have a chat with one of our partner visa experts today!
This is a general guide only. While it applies to most situations, it is not exhaustive. Depending on the strength of your case and individual circumstance, our specific recommendations to you may not appear in this article.
Here at Skylark Migration, we are experts at partner visas. Our former-Immigration case officers have personally approved and rejected partner visa applications, so they know this visa type inside out. Need proof? We've had 100% success rate on every Partner visa we've ever lodged!
For a total peace-of-mind, have a chat with one of our experts today >