By Joy Hay – Registered Migration Agent MARN 1465325
The relationship statement is an important part of your partner visa application.
As part of an Australian partner visa application, the applicant and sponsor must write what is commonly known as a ‘relationship statement’. This document will explain the nature of your relationship and how you met. Ideally, it should be around 2-3 pages long.
This statement will help to prove that your relationship is genuine. This is your opportunity to explain your relationship in your own words, so it’s crucial to get it right. The Case Officer will place weight on this document, so make sure it’s of a good standard.
Here are our top tips for writing an effective relationship statement:
1. Explain how and when you met, including the exact date your relationship commenced. Let the case officer know how your relationship developed. Did you start off as friends? How long did you know each other before you formed a relationship? Make this part as detailed as possible. Go into detail and don’t be embarrassed to explain what attracted you to your partner and how you felt upon making their acquaintance for the first time.
2. Make sure that your spelling and grammar is on point. Take your time, ensure place names and your partner’s name and family names are spelled correctly.
3. Have you been separated for any long periods of time? Explain how you kept in touch and how frequently. Did you exchange regular phone calls and text messages? Did you use messaging apps or emails? Have you taken any holidays separately? If so, how did you keep in touch during that time? It’s important to go into some detail here as periods of separation will be heavily scrutinised by your Case Officer.
4. Explain how your relationship developed and became more serious. Did any significant events occur? Maybe your partner helped you through a difficult time or did something to really demonstrate their commitment to you. Provide details on the development of your relationship and let the case officer know when your partner was first introduced to friends and family.
5. It’s important that you use the statement to demonstrate the nature of your household. Who does the cooking and cleaning? How do you split responsibilities? Do you go grocery shopping together? If you have pets or children, explain how you share the responsibility and who does what. Don’t worry about going into too much detail. If you do the cooking on a Monday and your partner does it on a Tuesday, write it down.
6. What activities do you enjoy doing as a couple? Have you been on holiday? Do you go to the gym together? Use your statement to explain how you spend your time and what kind of activities you enjoy doing as a couple. Explain what you do on a typical weekend or how you spend your annual leave.
7. Your statement should explain how you share your finances and meet your expenses as a couple. Explain how you deal with financial commitments such as rent, credit card repayments, car loans or food shopping. Do you use a joint bank account? Are your salaries paid into the same account? How do you pay utility bills? Have you prepared a joint will or named your partner as your superannuation beneficiary? Have you purchased joint insurance policies? Sharing financial commitments is a major part of proving that you’re in a genuine relationship, so this part should be fairly comprehensive.
8. Not only do you need to show that your partnership is genuine, you also need to prove that it’s ongoing and that you’re planning to spend your future together. Use the statement to detail your upcoming plans such as holiday bookings or major purchases. You can also explain what your plans are in terms of having children or perhaps getting married. If you’re saving up for a house or planning any other large purchases together, you can also detail those plans.
9. Now is the time to round up those old wedding invitations and Christmas cards that are languishing at the bottom of a drawer somewhere. Being jointly invited to events shows that your relationship is recognised by your family and friends. Use your partner visa relationship statement to provide details of where you were invited, when it was and whether you attended or not.
10. You need to demonstrate the length of your relationship, so make sure your statement is peppered with accurate dates. Remind the reader about the length of time you’ve been together and make sure you mention important dates such as when you began cohabiting, anniversairy dates and other dates of importance to you as a couple.
It’s always a good idea to make a rough draft of your statement using bullet points before fleshing out the real thing. You might also find it useful to draw a timeline and add important events on there. It’s vital that the applicant’s statement and the sponsor’s statement do not contain any contradictory information. Double check your dates and timeline of events. It’s easy to make mistakes, so really ensure that you take your time and get it right.
It’s not unusual for a Case Officer to call and interview you about the nature of your relationship, so you need to be prepared for that too. If your interview takes place over the phone, they might question you about the nature of your household or even ask which side of the bed you sleep on. If your interview is in person, you might be asked to identify your partner’s family members in photographs. Case Officers are generally allowed to ask you any questions they wish, as long as the line of questioning is appropriate.