When you fall for a beautiful Australian girl, and you’re born and bred in the UK, the logistics of your relationship can become interesting.
I met my Sydney born Fiancée, Brittany, in London whilst she was travelling. It’s been three years now and we’ve never looked back, but family ties are precious threads and as time passed, Britt was missing home. As her partner, it seemed only right to me to give it a decent shot ‘down under’, and so, after months of dreaming of the sunny shores and opportunity, we began the detailed process of orchestrating our move to Australia.
12 Months before we left.
Of all the tasks involved during this time period, the De Facto Visa application was by far the most tedious. The process was long, complex and in all honesty the most frustrating part of our move.
First of all, you have to provide enough information to prove your relationship is genuine and exceeds twelve months. For us, this wasn’t an issue because we had been living together for some time, and had supporting documents like council tax, bank statements and references to prove this.
It was actually uploading of the supporting documents that was testing. At the time, the system was constantly crashing right before we were ready to submit! As such, I would strongly recommend completing and saving your work as you go in a separate program such as Microsoft word. It will save you many profanities, and keep your sanity intact. In some small retribution, we eventually submitted the application in October 2014, and very shortly afterwards the price increased, so that was a big positive for us.
Following payment and submission of your Visa, you find yourself in what we called “no man’s land”. You are neither here nor there, and we didn’t have any correspondence until 9 months later when, out of the blue, we received an email confirming that my application had been accepted! We had a successful De Facto Visa! At this point, we completely forgot about the tediousness and the excitement took over. We were on our way to Australia!
Obviously, when you’re moving from one side of the world to the other, you’ll want to take a few items with you. We wanted to ship some clothes, computers and an array of other personal items, and we used PSS International Removals to do this.
PSS were really helpful, and after a few enquiries we accepted their quote and had some wooden cases made up (for my computer screens and TV) in addition to three tea cartons for the smaller stuff.
A word of advice: When packing up your belongings make sure everything is super clean. My shipment got held up because a pair of my boots had some dirt on them, and I was given two options; to dispose of the boots for $80 Aud, or to pay an exorbitant fee to have them cleaned!
At first, I was furious at the costs but unfortunately I only had myself to blame, so again – pack carefully and don’t make the same mistake I did.
To our advantage, I have had some experience within the FX industry, so I knew the difference between a competitive exchange rate and a not so competitive rate. We used Torfx to send money to Australia, mainly because they gave us the best exchange rate and there were zero transfer fees. We were extremely fortunate with the exchange rate at the time – so it is worth studying this to ensure you get the most for your money. Click here to get a free quote from Torfx.
As with most people, this was a mixed bag of emotions for me. On the one hand, I was really going to miss my family – especially my nephew who had just turned two. My dog! Oh, that was really tough. But, on the other hand – I was starting a new chapter with my fiancé and best friend, and there was definitely the element of excitement of going into the unknown. Ultimately though, we made the decision. You have to do what’s best for you and your partner, and although England will always be ‘home’, knowing that Australia had so much to offer really took the edge off saying goodbye.
Stay tuned for part two, as we go through the first 6 months following our arrival in Australia, and subsequent thoughts and experiences. Also feel free to comment if you have any questions about our migration.
Written by Ben Hewitt.