The Department does provide template partner visa statutory declarations for the visa applicant, and the sponsor. The considerations which are raised in the Department’s template statutory declarations are the factors which the case officer needs to take into consideration when assessing your relationship and application.
We will look at each of these considerations, and provide you with examples which may be applicable for your relationship.
Development of the relationship
In this section, you can outline the initial development of your relationship, for example:
- How you and your partner were introduced to each other (e.g. friends, family, internet dating website etc.)
- Date that you and your partner first contacted each other, and how you contacted each other: (e.g. text message, call, in person introduction etc.)
- Date and place that you and your partner first met in person
- Any significant events, holidays or personal matters leading up to your decision to enter into your committed and exclusive relationship
- Events leading up to you and your partner starting to live together
- Significant events in your lives during which you have relied on each other for support, such as personal or family illness, stressful periods at work or with studies, adjusting to life in Australia for the visa applicant etc.
In this section, you can outline any shared financial commitments and arrangements, such as the following examples:
- Joint loan or lease agreements such as for your residence, cars, business etc.
- Joint bank account and/or savings account which is used with reasonable frequency
- Owning or operating a business together
- Conferring financial benefits on each other such as having your partner as a beneficiary in your will or insurance policy
- How day to day household expenses are paid and shared
- Explaining that wages for your partner and/or yourself are paid into the same joint account
- Your future financial goals, such as saving up to purchase a house, wedding costs, overseas trips etc.
- Explaining your joint purchase of any significant assets or household items
Nature of your household
In this section, you can outline any joint responsibility for the care and support of children, your living arrangements and sharing of the responsibility for housework. Examples include:
- Who is responsible for various household chores such as cleaning, cooking, shopping etc.
- Duties that you and your partner undertake in looking after any child or children of the relationship
- Duties that relate to other household chores such as looking after pets, elderly parents or other relatives
Social aspects of your relationship
In this section, you can outline important social aspects of your relationship, such as:
- Holidays that you have taken together
- Weddings, baptisms and other significant social events that you have attended together
- Important family and friends who know about the relationship, and who are supportive of your relationship
- Sporting, cultural, social or other activities that you both participate in
Your commitment to each other
The following are just some examples of what you can describe in this section:
- Your future plans together such as buying a property, starting a family, moving to a bigger residence once your partner arrives in Australia etc.
- Significant events in your lives during which you have relied on each other for support, such as personal or family illness, stressful periods at work or with studies, adjusting to life in Australia for the visa applicant etc.
- Affirm the nature of your relationship
Referring to your supporting documents and evidence in your declarations
When I prepare a statutory declaration, as I make various statements about the relationship, I often refer the case officer back to the uploaded supporting documents which support and demonstrate the statements made. I think that the main benefits of doing this is that:
- You are reaffirming/evidencing the truthfulness of your statement
- You can let your case officer know what particular documents mean, or what the documents are demonstrating. This is particularly helpful if you think that the evidence that your providing isn’t particularly strong, or clear in relation to what it is suppose to demonstrate
Statutory declaration example
How do you write clear and useful supporting statutory declarations for your partner visa application?
- Write in a clear and understandable way. Pretend that you are an objective third party that doesn’t know anything about your history or relationship. Is your declaration clear and understandable from such an perspective?
- Write in simple, short sentences that address the critical aspects of your history, relationship, and the considerations that the Department will assess (e.g. development of the relationship, financial aspects of the relationship etc.)
- Include details and facts, and explain important and relevant events and dates, which will make your declarations, history and relationship more convincing. Such as the below example.
- Refer to supporting documents and evidence that you are including in your application during your declaration, which will again make your declaration and relationship more convincing.
- Proofread and make your declarations easy to understand. You don’t want to make your case officer’s job difficult, since he or she will decide your application. You actually should be as helpful and organised as you can be. Use a text to speech reader which can help you with identifying errors.
- Get a friend or family member to proofread your draft as well, and see if they understand your declaration, whether they find it convincing, and if they have any further suggestions.
Penny and John are applying for their partner visa application
I, Penny Money, of 5 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000, full-time student, make the following declaration under the Statutory Declarations Act 1959:
- I can confirm that John Bond and I have a mutual commitment to a shared life as spouse partners to the exclusion of all others.
- Our relationship is genuine and continuing.
- We first met in February 2010 at the University of Sydney.
- We both decided to enter into our committed and exclusive relationship on 30 June 2015. This was the date that we both decided that we would get married, and we would start planning our wedding.
- We recently completed our marriage ceremony and obtained our marriage certificate on 11 October 2016. After our marriage ceremony, we spent the weekend moving our belongings to John’s family home in Sydney. We are currently living together at John’s family home, at 5 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000.
- Prior to getting married, we previously lived together at 6 Bay Street, Randwick NSW. We lived together at this address between June 2013 and October 2016.
Details of the development of the relationship
- John and I first met at the University of Sydney in February 2010 while we were doing our undergraduate studies at this university.
- We both completed our undergraduate studies at the University of Sydney at the end of 2012. Please see attached copies of our undergraduate degree qualifications which demonstrates that we were both studying at this university at the same time.
- During our time as undergraduate students, John and I were good friends, but we never dated each other. During our first and second years at university, we didn’t have many courses and subjects in common. We would usually see each other at university around once or twice a week, for various events and activities such as:
- Social activities organised by the university, university social clubs or students union
- Social activities organised by our mutual friends
- Study groups with our friends when we had mid-term or end of term examinations
- During our last year of undergraduate studies during 2012, John and I were enrolled for the same course and class for four different subjects. We did two common subjects in semester one, and also two common subjects in semester two. This was because the later year advanced courses were a lot more specialised and limited.
- During the last year of our studies, John and I spent a lot more time together during our classes, and also after class as we often studied together.
- Our last year of undergraduate studies was also the most difficult. John and I became a lot closer during this year as we helped and encouraged each other through the difficulties of our final subjects and examinations. I think that both of us performed much better with our exams and results because we had each other support and understanding. It was during this year that John and I first started to develop our feelings of care, love and support for each other.
- In 2013, we both continued our studies as PHD students. I completed my studies in Medical Engineering, while John studied Aeronautical Engineering. We both completed our PHD studies in adjacent buildings on campus from 2013. Please see attached copies of our PHD degree qualifications.
- In January 2013, we were together on a day trip to the Blue Mountains with a group of other friends. We got to know each other a lot more during this trip, so this trip and time together was an important step and development in our relationship. It was at this time that our relationship changed from being just friends, as we talked to each other about dating each other as partners. Soon after this trip, we decided to enter into our relationship. Please see attached ‘Relationship Photos 2013-2016’ which includes a few photos from this trip.
- In the year that followed, we developed and continued our close relationship by having nearly daily contact at our university. We have provided some examples from our message and phone records, which demonstrates our regular daily communication, including during a short period of separation when I travelled overseas to see family (Dec 2014 –Jan 2015).
- I was introduced to John’s father and brother in September 2014. Please see attached Form 888 completed by John’s father (Form 888 Sponsor father) and brother (Form 888 Sponsor brother).
- We went to Tasmania for a one-week road trip with two friends and stayed together in January 2015. Please see attached:
- Social Tasmania trip flights and hotel bookings
- Social Tasmania trip car rental
- Social Tasmania trip photos
- We attended a Christmas party held at my supervisor’s place in December 2015. I introduced John to my supervisor and all the other students that were doing my PHD course. Please see attached Form 888 completed by my supervisor (Professor Nutty).
- During our undergraduate studies, I got to know John as a friend, and I thought that he was a nice guy. I found he is caring and knowledgeable, and that we have a lot in common.
- After we started our relationship, we both knew from early on that we have found our right other-halves. Being PHD students, we are often faced with difficulties in research and exams. Our similar backgrounds and upbringing also made it easier for us to communicate, as well as communicate with each other’s friends and family. With the mutual commitment and support of both our families, we decided to get married and started organising our wedding plans in mid 2015.
- Both John and I have family with conservative values, and this was also how both of us were brought up by our parents. While both our parents knew about our relationship and they were very supportive, our parents didn’t want us to live together until we had confirmed our intentions to get married and started organising our wedding.
- Hence, shortly after we told our parents that we would be getting married in June 2015 and that we had started organising our wedding plans, we also looked into moving in together. After we confirmed our wedding date, John moved in with me and my housemates at our rented unit in Randwick on 2 July 2015. The rent was $1100 per fortnight. Our housemates have been paying their share to our joint account ($660) before we make the full payment to the real estate agency from our joint account. Please see attached:
- Tenancy change form July 2015
- Financial joint account bank statement: we have highlighted our rental payments
- John and I lived together for just over one year before we got married on 11 October 2016. This was a very important period in our relationship, as we got to see what it would be like to live with each other on a daily basis. While John and I were very certain that we would be able to live happily together based on our history and how much we knew about it other, it was still important for us to live together before we got married.
- This period allowed John and I to connect and get to know each other even better. We got a chance to see how we as a couple can organise our home affairs, chores and joint responsibilities. Over time, we also got to know when it was right to give each other some space and personal time, which is still important to both of us. By the time that we got married, we already had a very good idea of each other’s daily habits.
- From mid-2015, John and I organised and planned our wedding. We had a lot of help from John’s family in Australia. Because my family live overseas, they weren’t able to help much with our wedding organisation. But my family did help financially by sending money to our joint account which we used for various wedding expenses. We have provided receipts for these transfers from my family. My family also helped organise travel and accommodation for my family members who travelled to Australia for our wedding.
- Our marriage registration took place on 30 June 2016, followed by our wedding ceremony and celebrations which was also held on 16 September 2016. Please see attached:
- Relationship marriage certificate Sep 2016
- Relationship wedding invitation
- Relationship wedding photos
- Statutory statements from supporting witnesses (Form 888 and statutory declarations from non-Australian witnesses)
- After our wedding, we spent the weekend packing our belonging and moved to John’s family’s place at 5 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000.
Details of the financial aspects of the relationship
- We opened our joint bank account on 7 July 2015, shortly after John and I started living together. Please see attached file: Financial joint account bank statements.
- Before opening this account, we would take turns paying for daily expenses such as food, entertainment, social events with friends etc.
- Both our scholarship payments and tutor teaching salaries are transferred directly into our joint account. During our time as PHD students, we both earned extra income by working as tutors for our university. We have also both transferred funds from our personal accounts into our joint account whenever we need some extra funds for expensive purchases like furniture, electronics, holiday bookings, wedding expenses etc.
- The attached joint account statement demonstrates that we both regularly use our joint account for regular expenses like groceries, various personal bills, entertainment etc. Both our scholarship payments and salaries as university tutors were paid directly to our joint account and key expenses (e.g. rental payment, wedding-related, furniture, electronics etc.) have been highlighted and explained.
- Currently John is not working and he is not receiving any further scholarship payments after the completion of his PHD. I am completing the final year of my PHD studies, hence, my scholarship payments and salaries as a university tutor are still paid directly into our joint account for both of us to use.
- We currently both continue to use our joint bank account regularly for daily expenses, as well as all major purchases such as flight and holiday costs.
- Because we currently live at a residence which is owned by John’s family, we currently do not have to pay rent. However, we do contribute to household expenses by buying groceries and other household items. We started paying for all electricity bills for the household from October 2016 onwards. This is paid directly from our joint account.
- John is currently looking for work after recently completing his PHD studies. I currently have around another 12 months to go before I will complete my PHD research and studies. Once I finish studying and hopefully secure employment after graduation, we are planning to obtain a home loan to purchase an apartment.
Details of the nature of the household
- While living at 6 Bay Street, Randwick, we both had to handle the constantly changing schedule and time demands that are placed on PHD students. Hence, we shared our household chores in a flexible manner, so whoever has more spare time during the week would do the majority of chores.
- I was mainly responsible for cooking and taking food to the university if John is working after hours on his experiments.
- Our shopping was done together during any nights that we are free, although I or John would also do shopping by ourselves if the other was busy.
- When we didn’t have any plans to go out, we set Saturday night aside for house cleaning and we did that together.
- We adopted a dog in December 2015, and we have named him Dobby. Sharing the responsibility of looking after our dog has helped us tremendously in preparing ourselves for a family life. We both really enjoy taking Dobby out for walks, which also helps us keep active and gets us outdoors basically every day.
- We are living with John’s family at the moment. John’s father likes to cook, so he is responsible for this most of the time. John and I are responsible for preparing lunch and dinner on Sundays. We also contribute by helping with the shopping and cleaning around the house. John’s father has retired, and he has really helped us by accommodating us into his home, and providing us with help as John looks for a job and we both look to save up to eventually buy a place of our own.
Details of the social aspects of the relationship
- Over the past year or so, we went for bushwalks in the surrounding national parks near Sydney on several occasions. We have now taken our pet dog Dobby on several of these walks, and this is an outdoor activity that we both really enjoy together.
- We went to Watson’s Bay with a few other friends in November 2014 and again during Easter 2016.
- We have also attended several major festival celebrations together as a couple (Easter, New Year, birthdays and weddings etc.). Please see attached ‘Relationship photos social’.
- Since October 2015 we have been swimming at our local fitness & aquatic centre on a very regular basis. Please see attached: Gym cards.
- We attended the lab Christmas party at my supervisor’s place as a couple. Please see attached completed Form 888 by my supervisor, Professor Nutty.
- In January 2015, we and two other friends went for a road trip in Tasmania for a week during the Christmas break.
- We have also talked to my parents on Skype regularly. I talk to my parents via Skype on Sundays, and John usually joins me for these calls. My dad and John are both really into football, and they message and banter with each other on weekends during games.
- Our parents and John’s brother all support our relationship and marriage. Details to be found in the attached Form 888 from John’s father and brother, and the attached statutory declarations from my parents.
- Our friends are also supportive of our relationship and invite us to events as a couple. Please see attached ‘Relationship wedding and other invitations’.
Details of the nature of the commitment
- The relationship between John and I is genuine and continuing. We are both committed to a shared life as spouse partners to the exclusion of all others. We have been and will continue to support each other in all aspects of our lives.
- From January to August 2016, I was preparing to finalise my important research project submission and examinations. This was a particularly difficult and stressful time. John has always been encouraging and understanding during such difficult periods. He also offered his expertise on solving problems and answering interview questions. It was because of him that I performed well for my research project and exams.
- My mother got sick in the same year and needed critical care for a while. It was an extremely challenging time for both of us, especially because I could not travel back home due to my need to submit my research project in time. During this tough time. John supported me emotionally and mentally.
- These adverse life events in the end made our relationship even stronger. We both knew then we would stick together for better, for worse, in sickness and health, and that we were ready to spend the rest of our lives together.
- I know that John is working hard with his job applications, and thankfully he already has a few positive leads with some second stage interviews that he has completed. John has always worked hard throughout his life, and he is also very intelligent and easy-going. We are both confident that he will shortly be able to secure a job in an industry/business that is related to his studies and interests.
- I currently have around another 12 months to go before I will complete my PHD research and studies. Once I finish studying and hopefully secure employment after graduation, we are planning to obtain a home loan to purchase an apartment.
Frequently asked questions in relation to preparing your statutory declarations
|Can we prepare a joint declaration?||No because a statutory declaration is sworn and signed by one person only|
|Do we need to prepare two separate and different declarations for the same relationship history?||Yes – we recommend having your statutory declarations ready at the time that you lodge your applications, so that yourself and your sponsor have a clear understanding of your relationship history and information that you have provided to the Department.|
|Can our declarations be the same or similar?||Yes but you shouldn’t really be completely copying and pasting each other’s declarations. Overlap and similarities are acceptable since your writing about the same relationship and history, but you still need to prepare two separate declarations written from your individual perspectives|
|My partner’s English isn’t very good – should he or she write his or her declaration in his or her native language and translate this?||This would be the most accurate way for the applicant or sponsor to provide the relevant information to the Department.
We have had instances where the Department has accepted statutory declarations that were prepared in English for the visa applicant or sponsor, and this information was explained to the visa applicant or sponsor in their native language, before the visa applicant or sponsor arranged for swearing of the relevant statutory declaration.
Please also see our other partner visa articles:
- Partner visa post outlining the main partner visa and sponsorship requirements
- Comprehensive 12 step guide for your partner visa application
- Schedule 3 and Compelling reasons requirement if you are lodging your partner visa application in Australia and you currently hold a bridging visa or do not hold any visa
- Information in relation to preparing Form 888 and detailed example answers
Other visa information:
- Resident return visa – for current or former permanent residents or Australian citizens that need to apply for a new permanent residency visa
- Employer nomination scheme ENS 186 permanent residency visa
- Regional sponsored migration scheme RSMS 187 permanent residency visa