Partner Visa Witness Statements: The Ultimate Guide

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

November 9, 2023

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One of the key aspects immigration needs to look at and understand in your relationship is the social aspects. That is, whether your friends, family and the people you belong to – do they know about your relationship or is it a secret?

As part of your application you will need to provide witness statements from those nearest and dearest to you. But can there be too many doting friends and family members? Short answer, yes. Let’s get into witness statements. 

Who should I ask to provide a Witness Statement in support of my application? 

I’m glad you asked because there can be a wrong answer. Witness statements should come from your friends, family members, organisations you might belong to and even your co-workers. As you can imagine, each application will have a different list of witnesses. Some couples may not be friends with co-workers, some may have very few friends and belong to lots of different organisations and clubs, so while reading this blog, please think of witnesses best suited in your social circles.

Generally I ask my clients to choose a combination of friends/family/colleagues and other special people in their lives. 

When deciding which family members to choose, keep in mind that it should be a combination of both sides (that is, the applicant and sponsor’s family). Providing one sided statements may cause more harm than good for an application. 

You may choose to provide one statement from the applicant’s mother and one statement from the sponsor’s father. Where possible, providing a witness statement from a parent is a great idea. Similarly, choosing friends who you are close to, who have seen you both interacting with each other at different social events or have visited your shared home would make for great witnesses. Again, keep in mind that the content of the statement is going to be really important. 

It’s not helpful to provide a witness statement from your friend who has never met your partner and only speaks to you once in a blue moon. Although you can provide witnesses from friends and family who have never met your partner in person, you want to make sure their statements are substantial, that they are giving the decision maker an insight into your relationship.

It’s also handy to think who your most eloquent family and friends are? Remember than content is so important and your witness being able to express WHY they believe you are in a genuine and continuing relationship is going to be critical. Who’s the best at putting pen to paper? That’s the person you want writing a statement for your partner visa!

What if providing a Witness Statement from family members is not an option?

There are of course situations where family members may not be in a position to provide witness statements. In some cases I have seen, family members are not supportive of the relationship due to a couple being from different religious or ethnic backgrounds. In other cases, either the applicant or their partner was simply not close with their family members. 

In these cases, it’s important to seek additional advice. You want to make sure you’re giving the Department as much information as possible. So if your family members are not going to be providing witness statements, then talk about this in your relationship statements.

How many Witness Statements should I provide?

Naturally you are probably thinking how many witness statements you need to provide. The Department of Home Affairs requires two, however I always recommend providing between 4-6 witness statements. 

The more the merrier? Not in this case. Six well written and insightful statements will hold so much more weight than ten poorly written statements. 

That’s why it’s important to choose your witnesses carefully. 

What format should they be in?

As of July 2023 the Department of Home Affairs made a big change when it comes to witness statements. Spoiler – it’s a good change! 

The Department has now simplified the process of completing a Form 888 (which is no longer a statutory declaration). 

This also means that both your witnesses inside and outside Australia can use the Form 888.

What should my witnesses talk about?

The Form 888 that your witnesses will need to complete sets out the questions that the Department wants to know. In my opinion, it’s not enough to simply address these questions as it’s easy to fall into the trap of sounding vague. 

For example, question 4 of the Form 888 asks you to state whether you believe the relationship is genuine and continuing, and to give your reasons. It’s really easy to provide a ‘yes’ answer and complete the sentence with ‘because Tim and Jen love each other and I have seen how much they support each other through difficult times’. 

This technically answers the question, but it doesn’t actually add any weight to the application nor provide any real insight into your relationship. Here are some guides on what your witnesses should be talking about:

  • When did they first know you were in a relationship?
  • What type of relationship are you in? For example: Are you in a de facto relationship OR in a married relationship?
  • Do you live together?
  • Have they been to your shared home?
  • Have you been on any holidays together?
  • Have you told them about any plans you have for the future?
  • Have either of you said something to them that confirmed you are in a loving relationship with each other?
  • Do they believe you share the same values and outlooks on life?

Do witnesses need to provide a copy of their certified identity document?

As of July 2023, witnesses no longer need to provide certified copies of their identity documents. Best practice is to attach a clear coloured copy of their identity document to the Form 888. 

Key takeaway points

If I can give you three main points to remember when it comes to witness statements, they would be to:

  1. Choose wisely! 
  2. Don’t go overboard. Quality over quantity
  3. Consistency, consistency, consistency. Double check witness statements against your own relationship statements, forms and documents.

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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