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Going to Australia to live with my boyfriend...

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Going to Australia to live with my boyfriend...

1. Posted by brittpinkie (Budding Member 8 posts) 4y

Okay, I have quite a few questions about this. I'm an American and my boyfriend is an Australian citizen. We met online last year and fell in love (he's come to the States to visit me twice last year), and naturally the next step for us is to live together. Right now, we are planning on me moving there sometime this summer (Australian winter). I'm still trying to work out the best visa to get. I'm thinking of the Working Holiday Visa (I'll be 25 by the time I travel, so I will fall into the age bracket for it), because I want to be able to work while I'm there. Then, I was looking at the other Visas, and thinking that after we are living together/before my Visa expires, we can apply for the De Facto Spouse Visa. My question is, does all of this make sense and would it be the best plan of action?

The other thing I'm slightly considered about is having the funds for the Working Holiday Visa. How stringent is immigration about the $5000? I was planning to be able to take about $2000 with me- I wasn't worried much about money, because I will be moving straight in with my boyfriend, and I'm getting a one way ticket, because I'm not really planning to come back to the States. Do you think they will factor in my boyfriend's income or his bank information? Or would it just be wise for him to transfer money into my account until I get approved for my Visa (seems shady, but it's a way around the system, yes?)?

Thanks for reading all this and thanks for your help! I've asked a few questions via the Australian consulate, but they just copied and pasted the same information I found on the immigration website, so I'd like to hear the opinion of those of you that are personally familiar with this process. Thanks!:)

2. Posted by mojorob (Moderator 1047 posts) 4y

Just to clarify, as an American citizen the visa you may be eligible for, and I think you're referring to is the Work and Holiday Visa (subclass 462) as opposed to the Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417).

Before talking about funds, there is something else you need to consider with your plan. The Work and Holiday Visa allows you to stay in Australia for up to 1 year - in order to apply for the de facto visa you need evidence of living together for at least 1 year (not 11 months & 3 weeks or whatever).

With the funds, I'm not sure if they ask for evidence at application stage with the Work and Holiday Visa. However if you're planning on switching visa type, be aware that the requirements for a W&H Visa includes either a return or onward ticket - or the funds for a fare to depart Australia. I know with the normal Working Holiday Visa that I've never heard of anyone being asked for evidence of their funds when arriving in Australia - just do not tick the box "settling permanently" or similar on the landing card, as for all intent and purpose you would be arriving as a visitor.

Also, if you do end up applying for a de facto visa in Australia be aware of the cost for that visa (currently AU$2,960 for an on-shore application) but would likely increase. In addition to that, there would be a charge for a medical required for the visa, and you would need to get police/FBI checks from both the USA and most likely Australia.

3. Posted by brittpinkie (Budding Member 8 posts) 4y

Thank you for the reply! And yes, I meant the Work and Holiday Visa. According to the fine print of the de facto Visa, we may still be able to qualify it despite only living together a year- by that time we'll have been together two years, and I read that you may still qualify if you have good reason for the time you spent apart. Plus, we have a lot of pictures/e-mails/testimonials of our relationship that we could show to immigration, if need be.

Is there any way around paying for the de facto visa? Would I qualify for the cheaper option, because I would already hold a visa allowing me entrance to the country?

Has anyone here made this transition already? Any tips?

[ Edit: Edited on 26-Jan-2012, at 02:12 by brittpinkie ]

4. Posted by mojorob (Moderator 1047 posts) 4y

Quoting brittpinkie

Thank you for the reply! And yes, I meant the Work and Holiday Visa. According to the fine print of the de facto Visa, we may still be able to qualify it despite only living together a year- by that time we'll have been together two years, and I read that you may still qualify if you have good reason for the time you spent apart. Plus, we have a lot of pictures/e-mails/testimonials of our relationship that we could show to immigration, if need be.

I wouldn't rely on that. It might be possible for you to spend the 12 months on the W&H Visa, then travel somewhere close like New Zeland and apply for an ETA and re-enter Australia. However you may get asked questions by the immigration officer on re-entry, and remember that you would be entering as a tourist. Then once in, apply for the de facto.

An alternative is to spend the year on the WH&V, towards the end of that time sort out wedding plans - even if you prefer not to get married, sometimes it's smoother sailing if you do with these things. Then you can return to the US and apply for a Prospective Spouse Visa.

Quoting brittpinkie


Is there any way around paying for the de facto visa? Would I qualify for the cheaper option, because I would already hold a visa allowing me entrance to the country?

No, you would have to pay the on-shore fee if you apply on-shore - makes no difference if you hold a WH&V, or even ETA.

The only way to make a spouse visa cheaper, is to apply for the spouse visa off-shore. It would then be AU$1,995. If you went down the route I mentioned early of off-shore prospective spouse and then on-shore spouse the total would be the same amount I previously mentioned of $AU2,960

Of course, these costs will change - and any off-shore applications are subject to DIAC's exchange rates rather than the actual exchange rate on the date you apply.

Quoting brittpinkie

Has anyone here made this transition already? Any tips?

To give you a bit of background, I haven't made a transition like this. I'm from the UK originally, and first visited Australia on a Working Holiday Visa. A few years after returning to the UK I met the person who is now my wife, and she is from Brisbane originally. We got married and after living for a while in the UK we moved here, with me on a spouse visa - I'm an Australian citizen now.

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