The process of reviewing your application and preparing it for lodgement is important. Taking some extra time to properly complete this step can really benefit your application in the following ways:
- Presenting an organised and concise application can really make life easier for your case officer when he or she assesses your application. And considering that your case officer will need to use his or her own judgement and discretion in deciding whether some of the eligibility requirements are met, you really want to make the their task of assessing your application as easy as possible
- Lodging a complete a decision-ready application means that DIAC will process your application as soon as possible
In this post, I’ll cover how I go about preparing a partner or spouse visa application for lodgement, including using DIAC’s decision-ready checklist (“DRC”) if your application is complete and decision-ready.
Use the decision-ready checklist
If the application is complete and decision-ready, then you should follow DIAC’s checklist as closely as possible when it comes to putting the various forms and documents of your application into order for lodgement. You should go through each of the items on the DRC and tick off on the boxes that correspond with the forms and supporting documents that are relevant to your application. Of course, you need to also ensure that you’ve included all these relevant forms and supporting documents in your application.
You’ll probably find that not all of the forms and items listed on the DRC are relevant. I just tick the relevant boxes and mark all the irrelevant boxes with ‘n/a’.
Since you’re ordering your documents in accordance with the DRC, there is generally no need to include an index or contents page.
Don’t over (or under) organise your application
You don’t want your application to look a university thesis (i.e. too much unnecessary evidence, statutory declarations that are long because they contain unnecessary information and of course, too many photos). At the same time, you don’t want your application to under organised such that it resembles a year 6 science report.
You want to provide your case officer with a well organised and concise application that contains the information and documents that your case officer needs to make a decision.
Organising your application
Applicants often over organise their application by dividing everything up into sections by using staples, paper clips, plastic folders and dividers etc. You don’t need all this because someone from DIAC will remove all these staples and dividers from your application anyway.
Submit your partner/spouse visa application as just one bundle of forms and documents. No clips, no staples, no plastic.
If you want to divide your application up into various sections, then I’d just insert a plain document that has the title of the section in large font at the beginning of the section (e.g. ‘Forms’, ‘Evidence of de-facto relationship’). This page can also double as a contents or index page for that particular group of documents. This is not absolutely necessary but these separating pages help your case officer immediately identify what documents that they are looking at.
The right type and amount of evidence
I have previously discussed the relevant strength and importance of different types of evidence. Generally speaking, what you should be providing is various forms of evidence that cover the entire duration of your relationship. Documents that demonstrate the sharing of various aspects of your lives are particularly important (e.g. joint bank accounts, joint liabilities, joint ownership or purchase of major assets etc.).
It is hard know exactly what types of evidence you need to submit or how much evidence you need in your application, particularly since the end decision is at the discretion of your case officer. The particular circumstances of your relationship can also have a significant bearing on the evidence that you’ll need to provide.
For my applicants, I’m generally ask them to provide the following (this is a very general guide so don’t read this and feel that you must provide evidence in accordance with my suggestions):
- Evidence of at least 12 months of co-habitation
- Around 6 or so ‘strong forms’ of evidence
- Around 6 or so ‘good forms’ of evidence
- Around 10-12 photos. You can provide a brief comment which indicates when and where the photo was taken. There is no need to provide a photo album with hundreds of photos
If you are not sure about whether your evidence is sufficient, then it’s better to provide a bit too much evidence rather than too little.
Make sure that you have provided the below documents
- Certified copies of supporting documents – Don’t provide plain copies, and don’t provide originals. Provide DIAC with certified copies. If you’re not sure about how copies are certified and who can assist you with this, have a read of this.
- Provide ORIGINAL health and character documents – You need to provide original police clearances and your sealed health examination result. If you’re in Australia and you attended Medibank Health Solutions for your health examinations, then they should provide you with your examination result in a sealed envelope. This envelope will have ‘do not open’ stamps all over it, so I suggest that you follow this advice. Unless your case officer makes a specific request, these are the only original documents that you should be providing to DIAC.
- Provide English translations (if applicable) – If you’re providing documents that aren’t in English, then you need to provide English translations of these documents. Your case officer will ask for this if you don’t provide translations. This will delay the processing of your application because your case officer will need to write up this request, and you’ll then need to respond to it.
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