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Tag Archives: immigrating

  1. 5-Year Ausiversary

    As of last week, I have been in Brisbane for five years. FIVE. YEARS. I believe that this takes the record as the longest I’ve been in any one spot since high school.

    I’ve found it a bit funny as I’ve tried to reflect back to my feelings at the time. I was in love and excited about the adventurous possibilities. I couldn’t wait to explore and settle in and pick up the accent. I looked forward to warmth and tropical weather and ocean and kangaroos. I couldn’t wait to be with my future husband and his family and make friends who might find me to be as exotic as I found him in America.

    Wow, I could hardly have been more disillusioned, and culture shock is a real b*tch.

    [NOTE: That’s the extent of what I’ve had saved in draft for over a week now. I was going to try and elaborate a little more on how things have changed, but I don’t really know what to say. Things here are good. I am pretty much enjoying myself daily.]

    Me & Him
    (Us at the beach on the Sunshine Coast. There’s also a cute photo of me & Tash from the same day here.) 🙂

    Posted in Nothing in Particular, Photographing.

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  2. Public Service: On Shore Partner Visa for Australia

    Firstly, I got a letter from immigration today to say that my permanent partner visa has been granted. WOO. HOO! It’s such a weight off the shoulders not having to think about that anymore.

    I get lots of hits from people searching for info on migrating to Australia, so I thought I’d post my time-line to help give an idea. Keep in mind that every situation is different, and this is just my personal experience. Dates are what was on the correspondence unless otherwise noted. I don’t know if I have all the dates either, but this will give the general idea.

    Wife: American in Australia
    Husband: New Zealand citizen, Australian resident
    Visa: Partner (Temporary Residence) Visa (Class UK) (Subclass 820) and Partner (Residence) (Class BS) (Subclass 801)

    06 JUL 06: Made appointments for full health check. (AU$296)

    14 JUL 06: Had blood test for health check.

    18 JUL 06: Had chest x-ray for health check.

    23 JUL 06: Had fingerprints done (FBI Form FD-258: PDF) at Roma Street Station to send with FBI Clearance form. (I was not charged by the super-nice policeman, but the website said it was AU$21.)

    24 JUL 06: Had medical exam done for front-loaded visa application.

    31 JUL 06: Mailed FBI check to America. (FBI Cover Letter PDF and instructions.) Saved copy of request to submit with front-loaded visa application. (Request: US $18 / Postage: AU$16.50)

    11 AUG 06: Hand-delivered front-loaded visa application to Brisbane Department of Immigration, which included the following:
    • Spouse Visa Application Document Checklist (PDF);
    • Big fat cheque for AU$1990;
    • Completed Form 47SP (PDF);
    • Completed Form 40SP (PDF);
    • Certified copies of our passports;
    • Copy of sponsor’s Australian tax assessments for two years;
    • Certified copy of my driver’s license;
    • Two passport photos for each of us (AU$24);
    • Certified copy of marriage certificate (AU$25);
    • Evidence of genuine relationship including phone records, instant message logs, emails, wedding cards, copy of wedding ceremony and announcement, photos;
    • Two statutory declarations Form 888 (PDF) from people who know us (we used a couple we used to live with and husband’s boss);
    • A statutory declaration from each of us describing the history of our relationship;
    • Results of my health check; and
    • Photocopy of my Character Clearance Check from the FBI.

    16 AUG 06: Received letter from DIMA noting that they were waiting on the requested FBI clearance. I was also advised that we needed full medicals (AU$296), Form 80 (PDF), Australian Federal Police clearance (Form 1101: PDF), and NZ Police Clearance (instructions) for my husband as the sponsor being a NZ citizen.

    13 SEP 06: Letter from Australian Federal Police clearing husband (AU$37).

    13 NOV 06: Email from immigration officer saying my Temporary Partner Visa has been granted. (Time passed: 3 months, 4 days)

    02 JUL 08: Letter from DIMA with checklist for Stage 2, Permanent Partner Visa.

    01 SEP 08: Hand-delivered Stage Two application, including:
    • Partner Visa Checklist;
    • Statement on Partner Relationship;
    • Two statutory declarations Form 888 (PDF) from people who know the ongoing nature of our relationship. (This time we used sister-in-law and our boss.);
    • Form 80 (PDF) for me;
    • Certified copies of our personal details pages in our passports;
    • Evidence of our relationship, such as mail in both names at same address, bills, text messages to each other, proof of name change to married name, boarding passes showing joint travel, evidence of events we attended together, photos, evidence of joint purchases and financial obligations; and
    • Photocopy of request for Federal Police clearance (Form 1101: PDF) (AU$43).

    03 SEP 08: Received Federal Police Clearance in the mail.

    05 SEP 08: Mailed police clearance to DIMA.

    08 SEP 08: Letter from Department of Immigration requesting Australian Federal Police Clearance (Form 1101: PDF) and Form 80 (PDF) for my husband as a sponsor who is a NZ Citizen.

    04 OCT 08: Sent off Police Clearance request for husband. (AU$43) (The reason for the delay in getting this done was due to my parents being here for two weeks, so I waited until after they had left to get back into all this.)

    06 OCT 08: Mailed Form 80 and copy of Police Clearance request to immigration officer.

    20 OCT 08: Letter dated from Australian Federal Police as clearance for husband.

    26 OCT 08: Sent AFP Clearance for husband to immigration officer.

    31 OCT 08: Permanent Partner Visa granted, unbeknownst to me until…

    04 NOV 08: Received letter from immigration officer informing me that my application had been approved! (Time passed: 2 months, 3 days)

    Yay!

    For anyone going through this process, if you have any questions, I’m happy to try answer them via the email address above. I can only speak from my experience and am no expert by any means.

    Some people, like we did, might wonder, “Do I need an immigration attorney or migration agent?” The answer for us was a big, fat NO. We got all our forms off the internet. DIMA will send a request for anything you miss. All an attorney can do is hound you to get things done, because you’re still going to have to fill out all the forms yourself. Save the $2000 and do it yourself.

    And finally, my biggest piece of advice is to SAVE EVERYTHING. I was blessed with a certain packrat gene, but if you don’t have it, start getting into the habit of sticking anything do to with your relationship into a file. Anything with both of your names on it. Anything that shows you live together, travel together, socialize together. SAVE IT!

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  3. Providence of Playlists

    I’m sitting here adequately stressed out while putting together the finishing touches on my gigantic package of photocopies and documents to submit with my Stage Two Partner Visa application. I’ve had the MP3s on shuffle and couldn’t ask for a better soundtrack of mellow and moving tunes to keep me going.

    ♥ “Wonderful” – Adam Ant
    ♥ “I’ll Fly Away” – Gillian Welch & Allison Krauss
    ♥ “Mojo Pin” – Jeff Buckley
    ♥ “Fast Car” – Tracy Chapman
    ♥ “Crazy” – Seal

    And then “Just a Friend” by Biz Markie came up and ripped me out of my happy bubble. Hmm, where’d that come from?

    (Also my intense love for Adam Ant has been rekindled, and right now I’m kicking myself for bringing my Manners & Physique album to work.)

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  4. For Future Perusal

    For the next available free moment between now and October.

    Earthlust: stainless steel water bottles

    Kir De Vries: online store with Earthlust products… and also Shinzi Katoh bento boxes?!

    lost.net.au/vic: links to pretty things

    Write On and More: even more links to pretty things, including the beautiful Blue Leaves

    Expat Women: misery loves company, I guess?

    Wists: Make your own wishlists… if you want.

    All these are brought to you by a sudden urge to find a new handbag before we go to Perth. (Though, maybe I should just get one there — even I can’t resist their shopping opportunities.) However, as you can see, there are no links to handbags. Oops. Back to work.

    Posted in Inspired.

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  5. Stay off the Sidewalks

    In case you missed the Tweet, I got my Queensland Driver’s License the other day after only the slightest bit of drama. Oh, and I also had my eyes closed the first time, so I had to take not one, but two, horrible license photos. But woo… no test!

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  6. Immigration Station

    And I came home yesterday to a large envelope from my lovely immigration officer. Lo and behold, it has been two years since I submitted my partner application and now it’s time to Taylor-Dayne it up again. Another Australian police clearance, more statutory declarations, the ever-fun character assessment form, and evidence and documents based on my answers on the Statement of Partner Relationship… to be completed by September 2. Joy.

    (Yeah, Tash, turns out a visit AFTER September is going to work out better! Hehe.)

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  7. Getting Things Done

    I also decided to quit whinging and start DOING something about all the stressors in my life. I’m just not very good at diving headfirst into things and hoping for the best. I plot and plan and hypothesize, and by the time I need to take action, I’ve turned into a little pile of anxiety. A ball of stress. A wart of worry. Introvertism at its worst.

    I’m happy to report that a year and a half after I was officially allowed, I finally signed up to get my Medicare card this week. (Medicare is like the public health system. From what I can tell, if/when you go to the doctor it’s kind of like insurance where you pay a little bit and they pay the rest. But people still get private insurance for reasons unbeknownst to me.)

    Once I get that little card in the mail, I’m going to finally get my Australian driver’s license.

    And then, just maybe, I’ll see a cute, little car in my future.

    I also have things to take care of with the ominous Department of Immigration and the good ol’ US Consulate. Blerg. These things stress me out, and I’m acting like I don’t have to do it.

    Anyway, we’re not quite dead yet. More to come…

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  8. Procrastinator Stress
    I attempted to file my taxes today. Still a U.S. Citizen. Still paying U.S. taxes. Still technically self-employed. Still wondering whether the little I make is worth the hassle come April.

    Weekend Perks

    • Watched two movies this weekend that we bought in the States… The Score and The Saint. I have loved The Saint since the day I first saw it. Only now I realize how bad Val’s Aussie accent is. Hehe.
    • We’re going to Ikea this afternoon. My goal is to come back with some sort of device to put extra clothes in and a filing cabinet. That’s all I want in this world. Pretty much.
    • Outback Spectacular tonight. Huzzah!

    Free Eric Volz
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YChhOHrFA4]

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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