Today, I sent my child out into the world to fend for itself.
Here it is:
That manuscript-looking thing is my Australian partner visa application. Originally slotted to be submitted by the 1st of February, I finally put it in the post today, the 29th of April.
This thing is four years in the making; Jared and I have been hanging on to evidence all along, knowing one day it would come to this. But it’s been over the past four months that shit got serious.
We planned on applying from the States.
We considered moving to Canada or New Zealand while waiting for it to be processed.
We decided to apply from Australia.
We almost got married at city hall.
This fat bundle of papers contains more than just a history of our relationship (though it’s got that). It’s full of the blood, sweat, and tears that went into its compilation (the application, not the relationship).
That’s not hyperbole. There is literally blood on one of the pages. The person certifying our documents got a paper cut. I wasn’t stressed. Hopefully immigration will take it as subtle encouragement to speed things along before things get…out of hand. It’s my version of a horse head on their satin sheets.
A sample of what’s included in the application (which, it might interest you to know, weighs 1 kilogram):
- A list of every job I’ve ever had.
- A list of every international trip I’ve taken since 2003.
- Statutory declarations confirming that we’re a for-real couple.
- A signed Form 80, stating, among other things, that I’ve never had a different birthdate, or a parent of Russian descent.
- Criminal history checks from the FBI, the state of Indiana, the UK, South Korea, and Australia.
- Bank statements, proof of insurance, job contracts, and letters addressed to us at the same address.
And, most importantly perhaps, a payment of $3975.
No. That’s not a typo.
It would be easier to bear if there was a chance of getting the visa in a timely manner, but the waiting period is currently 14 months. Apparently, Australians are swarming the globe, romancing foreigners and attempting to bring them home.
This morning, I entered the New Lambton post office, clutching the carefully stacked sheaf of papers to my chest. I felt like Gollum with his ring, in agony at the prospect of handing it over.
“It’s a visa application,” I explained to the woman behind the counter. “I really want to make sure it gets there okay.”
“Right,” she said, as if I’d just told her it was a box of dead flies.
My last glimpse of it was when the woman at the post office all but bowled it into a box of other mail.
It’s not a cricket ball, I wanted to shout at her. Show a little respect for the papers.
But they were gone. Released from my grip in exchange for $12.50 and a tracking number.
I thought it would be a relief, but it’s not. That won’t come until I get notification from the immigration department that the package is safely in their Sydney office.
Where it will then sit, collecting dust, for more than a year.
On a totally unrelated note: thoughts on bribes – okay/not okay?