HOW TO: Write about your relationship history for a Partner (Spouse) Visa application


An application ‘must do’ is for you and your partner to write about your relationship history (and future plans).  I tell all of my clients that when they send in their relationship history statement with their application a case officer will assess it.  In the very least, your case officer will  ask

  1. Is it genuine?
  2. Does it satisfy the criteria under regulation 1.15A to the Migration Regulations 1994?

The last one sounds complicated.  The first can be equally as complicated, for how can you prove someone is being genuine??  For this blog, I will tell you about how you may achieve that.   The regulation above (1.15A)  includes: (I simplify this later)

(1) For subsection 5F(3) of the Act, … the Minister must consider all of the circumstances of the relationship, including the matters set out in subregulation (3).

(3) The matters for subregulation (2) are:
(a) the financial aspects of the relationship, including:
(i) any joint ownership of real estate or other major assets; and
(ii) any joint liabilities; and
(iii) the extent of any pooling of financial resources, especially in relation to major financial commitments; and
(iv) whether one person in the relationship owes any legal obligation in respect of the other; and
(v) the basis of any sharing of day-to-day household expenses; and

(b) the nature of the household, including:
(i) any joint responsibility for the care and support of children; and
(ii) the living arrangements of the persons; and
(iii) any sharing of the responsibility for housework; and

(c) the social aspects of the relationship, including:
(i) whether the persons represent themselves to other people as being married to each other; and
(ii) the opinion of the persons’ friends and acquaintances about the nature of the relationship; and
(iii) any basis on which the persons plan and undertake joint social activities; and

(d) the nature of the persons’ commitment to each other, including:
(i) the duration of the relationship; and
(ii) the length of time during which the persons have lived together; and
(iii) the degree of companionship and emotional support that the persons draw from each other; and
(iv) whether the persons see the relationship as a long-term one.

This is read more easily if we break it down into the following subjects

 1) finances,

2) the nature of the household,

3) the social aspects of the relationship and 4

) the nature of your commitment to each other.

You need to write in a statutory declaration about all of these aspects of your relationship covering all points for each subject.  I advise anything from 1 ½ to half a dozen pages.  The average is four pages typed.

As an example, if we take the first subject, finances, you might come up with something like:

“Susan and I are waiting on the outcome of the visa application before deciding whether or not we will buy a house. If the visa is granted Susan will arrive as soon as possible and I will start making enquiries for home loans.  We were travelling the last year so didn’t have any regular income. Susan and I worked as we travelled staying in backpackers, or taking out short-term leases.  We took turns paying and I have provided the receipts.”

This type of statement could lead to your visa being refused with no refund for a $7160.00  application fee to the Department of Home Affairs.  In the example above the person has tried to take into account all points (i) joint ownership, 2)joint liabilities, 3)financial pooling, 4) legal obligations and 5) household expenses but they haven’t been able to accumulate any of that type of financial history because they were travelling.  It is a valid reason,  but the visa would be refused. The case officer is directed under their own policy to refuse visas where they are not satisfied that the r.1.15A legislation has been met. You should seek representation in such a situation.  There are ways to meet the requirement depending on overall circumstances but need to be handled carefully.

I see these types of cases all the time, especially for couples where one person is in Australia on a Working Holiday Visa.  I know that many of these people are told that they cannot apply for a visa in such as situation.  But – with some careful attention, making up for the weaknesses in the application, referring to similar situations in case law, I can end up with a grantable visa application.  Working with you I will need to draw out as much as I can about your situation and future plans to convey the full story to the your case officer.  Then I need align your information up with all the relevant legislation including the one I pasted above (1.15A).

The case officer can will assess the information you and I give, checking it against the plethora of partner visa immigration regulation and policy.  For those who submit insubstantial information, the case officer will have had no choice but to refuse the visa.  Often it is because the relationship history might miss one of the r1.15A criteria.

If you are in a situation that you can provide substantial evidence of everything listed under r1.15A then you will be able to write solid relationship history.   If you can’t provide some of the evidence do not worry – there is a high chance you can go ahead anyway but don’t go it alone!  Seek advice as there is too much at stake if the application is refused.