Australian Partner Visas and the Road to Residency: Part 3

17 Dec

For Part 1, click here.

For Part 2, click here.

If you’re applying for a partner visa within Australia (or just about any other substantive visa for residency), you will be required to submit a police check from your home country and any other country that you’ve lived in for at least a year (including Australia if you’ve been here for a year or close to it by the time you submit).

For Americans, that means you need to get a criminal records check from the FBI. I’ve already mentioned this previously, but I’ll walk you through it again in more detail, along with the fingerprinting process.

You will need to submit an Identification Record Request to the FBI. The instructions for doing so can be found here, and all the relevant links you need for the documents can be found on the right side-bar.

Most people can probably figure out how to fill out the forms required (if you are paying by credit card, which is easiest from abroad, note that the credit card form needs to be downloaded separately- see the sidebar with all the links).

The biggest hassle is getting your fingerprints done. As I’ve said before, there is only one fingerprinting facility in Melbourne. You must make an appointment to have your fingerprints done. The wait time for fingerprinting in Melbourne can be 2-3 months. If you can’t wait that long and are willing to travel, there are several regional offices that you can contact to see if you can get in earlier.

You will need to take your passport with you, along with the fingerprint card used by the FBI. It’s fine to print this from your home computer on standard paper. I recommend printing at least two copies and having two sets of fingerprints taken, just in case you get some prints that don’t come out right according to the FBI regulations. Think how much it would suck to wait all that time for an appointment and travel all the way to the police station, only to have your prints messed up somehow and not have a spare card for them to use. I brought four with me (only needed two), just because I used to be a Girl Scout and I like to be prepared.

Equally important is to arrive early. Yes, your appointment might not be til 11am and you might not be seen until 11:30, but aim to get there at least 15 minutes early so you can check in and they can go over your paperwork.

If you arrive late, even just a little bit, you risk losing your appointment. I was in line behind a woman who was five minutes late and throwing a fit because she hadn’t been able to find a parking spot and was upset that the police wouldn’t accommodate her anyway because their entire day for fingerprints was booked up. So it’s much better to arrive early, and if you are a lot early, there are a few cafes inside the building you can hang out at.

It isn’t too difficult to get there. It is within walking distance from Southern Cross train station and several trams run by or near to it. If driving is your thing, there are parking garages available (but not much in the way of on-street metered parking).

If you GPS the address (637 Flinders), it will take you to a police station at that address. But this is not where you get your fingerprints done. Instead, you need to enter the World Trade Centre building from the Siddeley Street entrance (there is conveniently a parking garage located right next to this entrance) and go up the escalators, where you will see the fingerprint facility right next to the Victorian Police Museum.

Location of Melbourne fingerprinting facility

Location of Melbourne fingerprinting facility

(By the way, if you’ve never had your fingerprints taken before, it can be quite messy, so don’t wear anything that you’d be upset about getting ink on it.)

Now, when I called to make an appointment, I was told the charge for fingerprinting was $141, but when I got there, they told me there was no charge for the service. So I didn’t actually pay anything, but I’m not convinced it wasn’t a fluke. Bring your credit card, just in case.

Once you’ve finished with your fingerprints, you’re good to go. They’ll be given to you in an unsealed envelope, to which you can add your FBI form.

Lastly, go over the checklist and make sure you have everything you need, then post it all to the FBI at:

FBI CJIS Division – Record Request
1000 Custer Hollow Road
Clarksburg, WV 26306

And then sit back and enjoy waiting on American bureaucracy! 😀 It will be up to six weeks before you get a response back.

For Part 4, click here.

*Disclaimer: None of this is legal advice. If you have questions about your own visa application, you really should talk to a licensed migration agent. I’m not an expert. This post pertains solely to my experiences and circumstances- yours will probably be different.*

23 Responses to “Australian Partner Visas and the Road to Residency: Part 3”

  1. Eva December 17, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    Goodness, looks like quite a headache! Not looking forward to dealing with this myself someday…

    • housewifedownunder December 20, 2012 at 10:31 am #

      Parts of it are a major hassle. I think it’s good if you know what to expect going into and have all your ducks in a row before you attempt the process. It will make things a lot easier if you have a plan and know what you are doing, rather than just fumbling around in the dark.

      • Eva December 20, 2012 at 10:46 am #

        I’m in the middle of an application for a work visa, which has been relatively painless only because my sponsoring company is providing a lot of tips and support. I’m sure the day will come though when I go through the partner visa stuff too, and it looks way more complicated from what I read on your blog and those of others in similar situations. Ick.

  2. Dee Pryor December 17, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

    I am currently waiting for my 2nd set of fingerprints to be processed by the FBI. The first was rejuected. I am finding that no one seems to know how to do ink fingerprints — because Australia hasn’t done them for years! It’s all electronic. WHY the FBI won’t accept them in electronic form is totally beyond me — you would think they would be happy to NOT have to scan them themselves (which is what they do).

    • housewifedownunder December 20, 2012 at 10:39 am #

      I think they do accept them electronically, but only from certain devices/companies. I wasn’t entirely clear on their requirements for that.

      The girl that took my fingerprints said she was familiar with the FBI form and seemed to know what she was doing, so I’m hoping they will accept the ones I sent in. I’m mainly worried about the section where they want all four fingers next to each other, because I have really long spider fingers and the box they provided for the prints was just too small, so no matter how we took the prints, they were still spilling out of the bottom of the box.

  3. louiseagnes December 17, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

    I’m currently doing this myself, but since we don’t have FBI in Sweden I don’t have to do the fingerprint part… I feel so bad for you. It seems to be a terrible process! Except from that I think we are on the same page…. Never thought it would be so hard. Good luck with all. Lou

    • housewifedownunder December 20, 2012 at 10:41 am #

      Don’t you have to get a police check from Sweden, though? Do they not require any fingerprints for that? I know some countries only run a check on the name. I think the FBI just wants prints for its collection. I wasn’t at all happy about providing them!

      • louiseagnes December 24, 2012 at 11:10 am #

        I do need submit a police check from Sweden. The police in Sweden don’t require my fingerprints to send me the document. All I need is to send in a document where I ask to receive a police check in english and they will send it over to me. The only time you need to provide your finger prints is when you have been suspected for something. The law in Sweden is different which can be good or bad.

  4. Cosette December 17, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

    Sigh. It’s all a big pain. I need to sit down and figure out when I should begin some of these steps so that when I’m eligible to apply, I can submit everything right away. Any thoughts on that? It sounds like it takes months just to prepare the application.

    • housewifedownunder December 20, 2012 at 10:42 am #

      If you and Theo have been in a “committed relationship” for at least a year or are engaged and plan to marry in the next few months, then you can apply now. If you’re not sure, just walk into the immigration office (it’s on Spring Street) and ask someone there. I’ve found if you go early in the day, the lines aren’t too long and the people working there seem to be pretty friendly and able to answer questions.

    • housewifedownunder December 20, 2012 at 10:43 am #

      Oh, and also… it took me months to prepare because I forgot to bring all my documents with me from America and we’ve had a lot of trouble getting a hold of some of them.

  5. Sam December 17, 2012 at 9:26 pm #

    Surprisingly, that’s more involved than it is in Germany. We only had to submit a police report for the German town that we live in…after living there for about four days 🙂

    • housewifedownunder December 20, 2012 at 10:44 am #

      That is surprising. I would have thought the Germans, with their love of bureaucracy, would make it as challenging as possible!

  6. Hiyuki February 12, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

    I love these series! I am in the process of applying for a 820 now, and the information you give are very helpful! Good to know that I seem to be doing everything right so far.

    I still have a month left in my student visa, and hopefully they will give me a Bridging A, as I am currently working, and hope to keep my job.

    • housewifedownunder February 16, 2013 at 11:42 am #

      I’m glad some of it is helpful to you. Some things are the same no matter what visa you are applying for. Good luck on getting a new visa!

      • Eric March 9, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

        Will the FBI mail the report to Australia?

      • housewifedownunder March 10, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

        Yes, they do, and no extra charge for it, either!

  7. Morgan Bennett June 15, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

    Thank you so much for all these extremely helpful information. I’m a Socal girl married to an Aussie and I’ve just been on a holiday visa since October I’ e traveled back to the states once and I renewed once. I’m going back to the states for holiday in June and I haven’t completed my bridging visa forms so I’m going to renew my holiday visa for a second time. I find all this paperwork to be overwhelming and exhausting and I grateful appreciate this blog! You rock!

    • housewifedownunder June 16, 2013 at 10:16 pm #

      Happy to be of help! If you ever have questions, feel free to ask and I’ll answer them if I can. The paperwork is definitely overwhelming and can be confusing at times. Just take it one step at a time. If you’re not using a migration agent, I have found that the people at DIAC are generally very helpful when it comes to explaining what forms you need to submit and in what order.


  1. Australian Partner Visas and the Road to Residency: Part 2 « Housewife Down Under - December 17, 2012

    […] For Part 3, click here. […]

  2. Australian Partner Visas and the Road to Residency: Part 1 « Housewife Down Under - December 17, 2012

    […] For Par 3, click here. […]

  3. Australian Partner Visas and the Road to Residency: Part 4 | Housewife Down Under - March 24, 2013

    […] For Part 3, click here. […]

  4. Australian Partner Visas and the Road to Residency: Part 5 | Housewife Down Under - April 11, 2013

    […] For Part 3, click here. […]

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