This is without a doubt the most daunting task you’ll face when preparing your visa application, I’m not going to sugar coat it and say you won’t get stressed out, but I’m hoping that I can at least offer some advice to save you from yourself.
As I’ve written this, it’s slowly got longer and longer, so I’ve separated it in to three main sections of Evidence and put them in to separate posts.
– The Basics
– Memories Box
I think it’s easier to digest this way – you’re possibly already swimming from an information overload and that excited buzz that ‘oh my goodness, we’re really doing this’ won’t carry you forever.
your scanner is your new best friend.
The absolute best thing about being a millennial is that by and large, everything is done online, and we’re ok with that.
(Incidentally, I also think this is the worst thing about being a millennial)
It does however mean that you don’t have to fanny around laying waste to small sections of English Woodland to provide Immigration with the hundreds of pages of documentation they need. And as an idealistic tree hugger, that makes me very happy.
You also don’t need to worry about having everything JP-ed or ‘signed off’ – for us, I just scanned everything in, and sent it over to Ana.
She told us if we needed more, or different.
Scan and repeat.
rome wasn’t conquered in a day.
As annoyingly cliche as that sentiment is, it was something I would have done well to remember while I was gathering our evidence and, as is often the case with hindsight, I think I’ve worked out a much better way of tackling the documentation.
The main thing I really want to press home is do not try and do everything in a week.
If you’re fitting your visa prep around full time work, it’s entirely unrealistic to expect you to have everything turned around so quickly.
For a large part of our evidence gathering I was only working a few nights a week teaching. There would be days when I was lost in the rabbit hole of evidence, getting more and more worked up that I couldn’t find a ticket stub, or a photo that I knew we had somewhere.
It’s stressful and demoralising.
My body reacts to stressful and demoralising with migraines.
My brain quite literally swells up and the recovery from a migraine takes way too much of my time – it’s more productive for me to tackle potentially stressful projects in bite size chunks. We do now have a fail safe routine that gets me back from migraine to headache in around 8 hours and only wipes me out for 2 days, but it’s not fun for anyone and definitely heightened anxiety in this first month.
I’d also like to mention that I’m incredibly organised.
Our entire house regularly has admin audits, which may or may not include new folders, new dividers, amended colour coordinations (with appropriate key) and online versions of the super important documents checked and upgraded where necessary.
Ok, yes, it borders from organised to anal, but I just wanted to highlight the fact that even though this kind of paperwork isn’t a chore for me (I’d go so far as to say I actually enjoy doing life admin) the emotional weight it carried made it harder.
First things first, there are the ‘basics‘ – the documents you can easily get your hands on and for most people, you probably already have a digital copy of them ‘on file’.
I’m talking the birth certificate, passport and driving license.
We also included our Medicare cards, Working With Children Check’s and for me my AUSTSwim ID (purely because swimming teaching is my trade, and it’s most likely I’ll get straight back in to teaching once we get to Melbourne). I’d also throw in your TFN and N.I. number here as a ‘basic’.
Take a morning, or a few hours to find these documents and scan them in, then walk away from your scanner. Make yourself a coffee, or pour a glass of wine, go and hold your partners hand and smile dreamily at each other.
If you are feeling twitchy, then set yourself up with Dropbox and make a few folders on there for your evidence.
Again, purely because I like things to be ‘ordered’ I had different folders covering evidence for different sections.
There was my ‘basics’, Zac’s ‘basics’, joint evidence (which included personal statements, proof we were living together, pictures, joint bank statements).
The monthly dated folders correspond with bank statements and evidence related to those bank statements.
By and large, you’re also going to need all of these documents for your police checks, so it’s useful having them all there, readily available now.