So, I'm American, been living in Sydney for the past 4.5 months on a 6 month travel visa. Time's running out and I need to get an extension....only now I need to prove I have sufficient funds to support my stay. I'll have to get crafty but the real question is--what qualifies as "sufficient funds" for an extended stay of 6 more months? I mean, what amount of money do the people at the dept. of immigration look for?
On a travel visa, I've read, an American can only stay for up to 12 months. Is there any possible way I can stay longer? I'm working here and there to support myself (barely--that's why I haven't explored much outside of Sydney), I have a great boyfriend here (who may not be able to go to the U.S. with me for legal reasons), and some incredible friends of whom I couldn't possibly leave. I'm not a student, possess no special trade skills...I'm pretty much no benefit for Australia, but if I can stay longer, I'll pretend my ass off.
How difficult is it to apply for residency? How does dual citizenship work? I'm truely clueless about this stuff. Who can I ask about all this?...and most importantly will it cost me?
Any help/advice is much appreciated!
Thanks in advance.
I'm no expert by any stretch of the imagination on immigrations, but to give you a bit of an idea you may have seen a local tv show called border security. On that show I have seen people (American people) get denied entry in to Australia because they have $2,000 and are spending one month and immigrations thought that it was not enough to support for that long. I know as someone who has travelled on a tight budget that you could easily get by on that sort of money and still see quite a lot. If that is anything to go by, $10,000 for 6 months would probably be a bit under what they would expect.
A way you could stay longer is to marry some Australian citizen and then go through the processes of getting the appropriate visa. Then ideally stay happily married until the end or at worst stretch it out for 4 years (I think it is 4 for citizenship by way of marriage) and then after getting full citizenship get the divorce if things weren't going good (lets face it in this day and age this is almost a 50% chance of happening).
As for dual citizenship I am not sure if a US citizen is allowed to be a citizen of another country. I am an Australian resident/citizen but am also a British Citizen/passport holder (just not a resident of the country and never have been for more than a week). I hold both an Australian and UK passport and seeing the UK doesn't have any stupid regulations making it compulsary for you to do miltary duties or anything else like that, being a UK citizen doesn't have any impact on my life situation in Australia as an Australian citizen (other than having to pay 2 rediculously expensive passport fees every time I need new passports). If you were a citizen of somewhere like Russia well you'd have no chance of getting dual citizenship but even if you managed to sneak it under the radar somehow you may be expected to do Russian Military duties or stuff like that which is expected of citizens some stage in their life. This is just an example of the sort of thing so as long as your country doesn't have laws requiring its citizens to do certain things at some stage in their life it would most likely have no impact on your life in Australia if you got citizenship.
It is a big bonus when travelling because some places a UK passport gets preferential treatment over Australian one. For example in Chile where you get a visa on arrival a UK citizen/passport holder doesn't pay anything for the stamp in the passport, but an Australian citizen has to fork out about $70USD (was the case back in 2006). In your given situation being a US passport holder in that case it would be even worse for you if Chile was your destination. In places like Brazil you need a visa if you travel as an Australian but get in visa free if you travel as a British citizen. A US and Australian passport would not be quite as different because from what I have seen in most cases a US citizen needs visas where an Australian does and in some cases they cost quite a lot more and are harder to obtain with a US passport. If you have your passports stolen then it is a big pain having two countries passports as you have to deal with two different countries regulations to get new passports and in some cases this is a nightmare beyond anything you'd wish on your worst enemy (this happened to me). As for costs, I can't say with regards to Australia as I've always been a citizen, but I know for me to get British Citizenship it set me back close to $1000AUD and more than 4 months of processing to get my lovely piece of paper telling me that I'm now known as a British citizen. I would imagine that Australia would probably have similar sorts of processes and costs seeing the US, Australian and UK governments are so closely related with most things.
You should try speaking to the department of immigrations to find out about staying permantently in Australia. If you manage to fit in somewhere to be allowed to stay, you will need to study up on the countreis values etc to pass the citizenship (has some questions that many people who have been born and lived in Australia all their life wouldn't know the answer to!). It was in the news the other day that the new government was going to review these questions sometime soon.
[ Edit: Edited on Jan 3, 2008, at 2:21 AM by aharrold45 ]
get married. or try to prove that you are in a good genuine relationship with and aussie. that might help.
I've been looking into it recently and it seems you need to bring something to the table. They don't just let anyone in. I'm a graphic designer. and that seems to be on the short term shortage list or skills wanted (last time I checked, but that may have changed). I got a 4 month work visa and all I needed to show was a round trip ticket and $2700 in the bank. check out bunac.com I got my visa through them and apparently they say you can do the 4 month visa 3 times and a 12 month visa 1 time for a total of two years.
I would really push the relationship thing though...if it is serious.
As im British this has literal relevance to me, however I have just been granted my standard working holiday visa which allows me to work in Australia for one year.
On applying I did notice that the Australians and Americans have as of the 31st October 2007 also made a reciprocal agreement, allowing people aged 18-30 to go to each others countries to work and travel for a period of 1 year. If you were eligable you would be entitled to work legally and without fear of being deported with no reprieve to return. Alternatively it may mean that your boyfriend can now return to the US with you.
If you were to be granted this 1 year working holiday visa and can prove that you lived with your partner for this period of time in Oz (i.e. tenancy agreement, shared bills etc) then you may also be eligable after this period of time to upgrade your visa to that of a defacto spouse (i.e unmarried but serious partner) i.e. potential to eventually become permanent resident.
There are all kinds of conditions and bits and pieces here which you will need to read about, but maybe this will provide you with a little hope.
The official website is www.immi.gov.au
All the best