Statutory Declaration by a Supporting Witness Form 888 Partner Visa
Form 888 is the form completed by people willing to be supporting witnesses to a partner class visa application. If you are looking for information about the Statement of History of Relationship, refer to Statement of History of Relationship Partner Visa 309/100. I see many, many search terms reach this site looking for what to say on a Form 888. Form 888 is for Australia, but I am sure other countries have a similar form. In answer to one search term this morning, yes, you may type the Form 888. In fact typing is always better as it is clearer to read. I have also noticed search terms asking “who is the applicant?” The applicant is the person applying for the visa to come to Australia.
I am not a Migration Agent or a Migration Lawyer. I am unable to offer professional/formal advice. Furthermore, as MARA agents advise, all the time, on the Forums of which I am a member, each and every case is unique, so there are no umbrella statements anyone can give about what you should say in any particular case. If you are unsure, seek professional advice.
What I can say when you sit down to write your statement in support of your family member’s or friend’s relationship, remember one thing above all else: the decision maker knows NOTHING about the couple in question. You are helping to paint a picture for the decision maker of the relationship. The advice I was given, to give my witnesses, was to tell them to write from the heart. That made sense to me then and still does now.
If, for any reason, in your heart you do not feel the relationship is genuine, do not complete the Form 888. Refer to my Open Letter to the Bad Guys instead! Remember also you may be asked to write follow-up statements:
A person completing this declaration may be required to submit up to 3 separate declarations during the processing of the application to remain permanently in Australia. They may be contacted by the department for further comment and interview in relation to the information given in this form.
You are signing a legal document: there are penalties for making false statements of four years imprisonment and A$12,000 – make sure you read that part of the form!
Assuming you believe or know the relationship is genuine, then write from the heart. Write about how long you have known the couple. You may be a brother, sister or parent and have known your sibling or child all your or their life, but have known the partner only a short time. You may have visited them if they are living together and witnessed them cooking meals together, sharing household tasks, cuddling on the couch in front of the TV. While that may seem too “domestic” to write about in a statutory declaration in this particular case it is substantiation of a domestic relationship that is being sought.
Was there a defining moment that made you smile and think “They make the perfect couple”? Write about that moment. Have you heard them talking about having children in the future, if they don’t have any already? Write about that. Think of the things YOU know about this couple that proves to YOU they are in a genuine and ongoing relationship. The very things that convinced YOU are likely to be the same things that will help convince the decision maker.
Perhaps the couple have been living overseas and you haven’t actually met the partner yet. Have they regularly sent you photos? Have they signed Christmas cards (or other holiday cards) to you jointly? Have you spoken on Skype? Do YOU feel the partner is a member of your family? Why do you feel that? Write about it!
Don’t feel you have to fit what you want to say in just the space on the form. You can write more! I am also aware of cultural issues: depending on your cultural background you may feel some things are “private” and should not be shared on such a form. I ask you to consider carefully before excluding information on cultural grounds. It may be the very information the decision maker is loking for.
To the actual applicant and sponsor, let me repeat what I said in Applying for a Partner Visa?:
Suggestion Number 2
Put yourself in the DIAC Delegated Decision Maker’s shoes.YOU know you are in love and have a “genuine and ongoing relationship to the exclusion of all others”. When we ourselves know this, we can expect everyone else to just accept it is fact or on minimal evidence because we know it to be true! The Decision Maker’s job is to confirm or deny our claim and a lot of this is subjective assessment. Yes, they will call it a “claim” – sounds horrible, doesn’t it? “The applicant and sponsor claim to be married”. Get used to the wording. You are no longer Jim and Nancy, you are the applicant and the sponsor. In order to confirm or deny, the Decision Maker will question everything, including who made the bed in the morning and who cooked and who ironed. We have a marriage certificate, I hear you cry. Yes, lucky you: pretty piece of paper, isn’t it? In this situation, that is all it is: a pretty piece of paper. DIAC also have an assessment methodology, but you do not know what that is, so look at everything as if YOU do not know anything about your own relationship and you are telling yourself all the gritty details.
With that in mind, my personal advice is do not do what we did and only submit two Form 888 statements. Submit as many as you can! OK, perhaps don’t submit 100, but submit more than two if you can! Note that Form 888′s can only be completed by people who:
know both the Partner class visa applicant and their sponsor and the history of their relationship;
are aged 18 years or over; and
- are an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident.
Note also that certified copies of evidence of the citizenship or permanent resident status of the person making the statutory declaration MUST be attached.
Evidence of the person’s Australian citizenship or Australian permanent resident status must be attached to this form (for example, a certified copy of the birth certificate, Australian passport or passport containing a permanent visa). Such evidence must show the current name of the person making the declaration.
If the couple are unable to have Australians complete Form 888s, it is possible to have overseas people complete statements. This is stated on the form:
If you are outside Australia and are unable to get an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident to complete a statutory declaration in support of your relationship with your partner, you may obtain statements from people who know you and your sponsor. Such statements are not statutory declarations under Australian law. However, in accordance with policy, they should be witnessed or certified according to the legal practices of the relevant country. Failing that, they should be witnessed by a person whose occupation or qualification is comparable to those listed above. This person should sign, date and specify their occupation at the bottom of the statement.
The Form 888 is not a scary document. All you really have to do is write what you know and write from the heart. If you are in ANY doubt at all, please seek professional advice.
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