Your Partner Visa Relationship Statement – Don’t underestimate the power of a good love story

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by Rofia Mavaddat - LL.B - Registered Migration Agent [MARN 1467678]

October 26, 2023

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Partner Visa Relationship Statements are my FAVOURITE part of a Partner Visa Application. They are so heart-warming to read and for me put the whole application into context. An application just makes sense once I have read the couple’s relationship statements.

Without relationship statements, a Partner Visa Application simply isn’t complete. 

What are your Partner Visa Relationship Statements?

If you’re not familiar with relationship statements, then this blog is going to be your best friend. Relationship statements, otherwise known as or referred to as your ‘statutory declarations’ are your unique love stories. They paint the picture of your relationship and should provide a detailed account of your relationship history and how you manage various aspects of your lives as a couple. 

A relationship statement in a partner visa can be the difference between a visa refusal and visa grant. Your statements are your opportunity to explain various aspects of your relationship. Not just to explain, but to fill in the gaps. If your application doesn’t tick all the ‘conventional’ evidence boxes, for example not having joint bank accounts or perhaps you live your lives on the road together and so you don’t have joint lease agreements, then your relationship statements are where you explain your individual relationship. 

Why should I provide a Relationship Statement?

Think of your relationship statements as the final piece of the puzzle that demonstrates your commitment to your partner and your shared life together. It should be a powerful narrative convincing the decision maker that you are in a commitment, mutually exclusive relationship. Simply put, your relationship statement is going to give the decision maker so much more context than simply looking over documents.

How long should they be?

I have had clients provide relationship statements for their partner visa that were just one page long, and have had others 20 pages long! Over the last 9 years of reading relationship statements, I believe I’ve found the sweet spot for how long they should be.

A one page statement is not nearly enough to cover everything you should be covering (we’ll come to the content of the statements soon). A 20 page statement is also arguably too long. You want to keep the decision maker engaged with your statement. If your statement is too long then you run the risk of having it skimmed through and potentially having the decision maker miss some of the most important points.

So what’s the magic number? I would recommend keeping your relationship statement between 4-6 pages. From the thousands of statements I have read, this seems to be the perfect balance of giving the decision maker enough insight into your relationship and addressing all the key components of your relationship, but still making sure its succinct and easy to follow.

Keep in mind that this is a guide only. Depending on your case, and remember that each partner visa is unique and different, you may need more or less pages.   

What information should a Relationship Statement for your Partner Visa cover?

You should be writing your relationship statements using clear headings. As your starting point, you should be talking about the development of your relationship. This includes information detailing when you met, where you first met and how your relationship started to develop. Ideally, you want to keep this content to one page.

You’re then going to move into talking about the ‘four pillars’. Remember that when the decision maker is assessing whether or not you meet the criteria for a Partner Visa, they will assess your relationship against four different factors. These are:

  1. The financial aspects of your relationship
  2. The nature of your household
  3. The social aspects of your relationship
  4. Your commitment to one another (also called Nature of Commitment)

As a general rule of thumb, try to keep the content of each of these four pillars to half a page long. You will find that with some pillars you may need to provide more information than others.

Here are some ideas and guides to talk about under each pillar:

The Financial Aspects of your relationship

Here, the decision maker wants to understand how you manage your finances and how you pool your finances together.

  • Describe how finances continue to be managed between both of you
  • Do you have joint bills?
  • Have you made any joint purchases?
  • Do you have any loans together?
  • Do you have a Will in the other person’s name?
  • If you don’t have a shared bank account how do you manage your finances and why?
  • Moving forward (in the future) how will the finances in your relationship be managed?
  • Is there something you are saving for together? Do you have some shared financial goals?

Nature of your household

Under this section, you want to give the decision maker a recount in your daily life and what it looks like. For example who wakes up first in the morning, who makes the coffee/tea, who does the washing, who does the cooking, who does the driving, who pays the bills, who cares for the children, do you have extended family you’re responsible for ie an elderly person. 

There are of course situations where couples do not live together when a Partner Visa is submitted, or even afterwards. Your relationship statements are a great place to talk about your living arrangements and if you are not living together, why?

  • Who does the cleaning/washing/ household chores?
  • Do you have joint responsibility for raising children or pets? If so talk about this
  • Who is responsible for managing the bills? Talk about your shopping routine, who drives and how you live together as a couple.

Social Aspects of your Relationship

Under this section, you want to explain to the decision maker what your social life looks like. For example, do you do things together when you’re not working, do you plan your social activities and attend them together, do your friends/family and the people that matter to you know about the relationship or is it a secret? It’s important the decision-maker is left with an understanding of what you do together socially, if you present yourselves as being in a relationship publicly ie with friends/family and if you’re viewed by friends/family as partners.

  • Describe the social activities you do together
  • Talk about how you plan your social activities. Do you make plans together? Do you introduce each other as partners or friends?
  • Describe which members of your family and friend circles know about your relationship
  • Talk about your holidays together
  • Talk about joint attendance at events together
  • What clubs/church/sport or recreational groups do you belong to?

Commitment to one another

This section is designed to show immigration just how serious your relationship is. This is done by firstly looking at the strength of your relationship at this point in time (up until now) and then by talking about your plans for the future together.

  • Have you experienced any difficult periods together where you have provided emotional support to each other? If so, explain this. Please give anecdotal examples.
  • Talk about the degree to which you rely on each other for support
  • Talk about sacrifices you have made for each other
  • Talk about your knowledge of goals/plans or things your partner wants to achieve in the future and how you will support him/her with this
  • Talk about why it is you love your partner, what had you fall in love with your partner and why they are important to you.
  • What do you have in common? What shared values do you hold? What makes your relationship strong/long lasting?
  • What are your plans for your future together?
  • Do you plan to have children? Do you plan to buy a house? Do you plan to get married? Do you plan to travel? Do you plan to study? Do you have pets together?

Who needs to write a Relationship Statement?

For an Australian Partner Visa, both the Applicant (person applying for the visa) and the Applicant’s partner (known as Sponsor – the Australian Citizen/Permanent Resident sponsoring their partner) need to complete relationship statements.

It’s not sufficient or insightful if only one party is providing a statement. The statements should be written separately by both parties.

Oftentimes a couple believes their friends and family also need to provide relationship statements. But what they are referring to are actually witness statements.

I always recommend submitting your relationship statements as soon as your partner visa is lodged. This is best practice to ensure the case officer has all the information they need to make a decision, so make sure your statements are signed and ready to go!

Avoid these common mistakes

Getting your relationship statements right are really important. At the end of the day, you’re wanting to make the decision maker’s life (and in turn your life) easier. 

You’ll find that I love my analogies so here’s another one. Imagine you start reading a book but realise the first and last chapters are missing. You can still read the book but it just won’t make as much sense. You need those first and last chapters to complete your book. That’s the same as your relationship statements. You need them in order to complete your application.

Here are my top tips on what to do, and what to avoid when writing your statements:

DO cross check dates and information. Consistency is key. Not just when it comes to your relationship statements, but the entire application. If you are stating that your relationship started on 01 January 2021, then your partner’s statement should also reflect the same date.

DON’T copy each other’s statements. Your statements are your opportunity to talk to the decision maker, to speak in your own voice, write your own memories of your relationship and how you work together as a couple. Continuously looking at your partner’s statement will on some level make you write a similar statement to theirs, which you want to avoid.

DO your grammar and spelling checks. A well written statement reflects your commitment to the process, professionalism and attention to detail. It pays off to do your checks.

DON’T be vague. The whole point of a relationship statement for a partner visa is to provide insight into your relationship. The decision maker won’t be getting any if you’re vague and generic in your recount of the relationship.

DO get a translator. If you or your partner does not speak, read or write English then we recommend they write their statement in their native language and have an English translation complete by an accredited interpreter.

DON’T write your partner’s statement. Why? If your partner’s level of English is not the same as yours it will be very clear to the decision-maker that it was not actually written by the person signing it.  I could tell straight away when I read a couple’s relationship statements if they were both written by the same person. One of the statements will always lack authenticity and even the style of writing, the words they choose to use and the formatting of the statements is close to exact. It’s easy to spot when one person is writing and it comes off as lazy.

What else should you cover in your Relationship Statements?

Relationship statements are also a great place for you to talk about or ‘speak to the case officer’ about your immigration history. If you are the visa applicant, you should provide a brief overview of any previous visas you have held and your current visa (if you are in Australia).

If you have ever been refused a visa, your relationship statement is again a great place to talk about the reasons around why your visa was refused.

Statutory Declaration or Statement?

There’s no formal requirement from the Department of Home Affairs around what the formatting of your relationship statement for your partner visa should look like.

My preference is to always provide your relationship statements in the form of a Statutory Declaration. This is because a Statutory Declaration is a legal document and may hold more weight. There are of course situations where providing a Statutory Declaration is not possible, and that’s okay too.

Key takeaway points

If you remember anything after reading this blog, let it be these three main points:

  1. Your Relationship Statements should be given the effort and energy they require. It’s important to sit down and detail your relationship history and go into detail around the pillars of evidence.
  2. Write your own statement. Don’t share your statement with your partner until they are both completed.
  3. Cross check your statements at the end, along with your application forms, documents, witness statements to ensure there is no inconsistency across the information and dates provided.

IMPORTANT: Please note, this does not constitute Immigration advice. Always seek advice from a Registered Migration Agent before applying for an Australian Visa. Migration Law is constantly changing. This information is accurate only at the time of publication.

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Rofia Mavaddat - LL.B - Registered Migration Agent [MARN 1467678]

Rofia was born in Perth, Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Law and has been a Registered Migration Agent since 2014. Rofia chose to specialise in Partner Visas because of a deep-seated belief in the power of love and family unity. She has seen firsthand the joy and fulfillment that comes from reuniting couples and keeping families together. Her work in this area allows her to witness and be a part of the beautiful stories of love and togetherness - what could be more rewarding? 

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