Here to Stay for 18 Months

February 9, 2011

in immigration, visas

The news came when I least expected it.

Before rushing out the door to drop off my friend at the airport after her week-long visit, Brendan said, “Something looks different on the visa application.”

He’d been checking the status of our appeal to make me a defacto partner on his 457 work-sponsored visa nearly everyday since we lodged it the first week of January. I never did. I didn’t want to obsess. I just waited for news.

His words initially made my stomach lurch until he followed up with, “It looks like they added you.”

“Really?” I said, still more concerned with leaving so we could get my friend to the airport on time. He sent an email to the people who had been handling our lodgment, and we left.

About 15 minutes into our ride to the airport, my friend of 23 years tucked into the back seat, Brendan’s phone rang. There were several “yeahs” and “OKs,” and then Brendan gave me a thumbs up, then ended the call.

“You’re approved. Actually, they approved it yesterday.”

The official word.

We were in the car and I had yet to have my coffee, so I can’t say that I went wild. I was excited, but it was more of a relief than anything at that moment. It took the minimum one month–to the day–our people said it would take to decide on the application. I couldn’t believe it’d been processed so fast.

I looked at my friend in the back seat. “Of course this happens while you’re here.” She smiled. It had also happened a year and a day to my one-year anniversary of meeting Brendan.

I feel incredibly lucky, to say the least. I know others remain in limbo waiting to hear about partner visa and permanent residency applications lodged months ago. I know others who were on my old visa fell in love in Australia, but then had to leave. I hope everyone trying to stay here for whatever reason gets the verdict soon.

For me, the news means I get to stay in Australia until September 2012, four years from the date Brendan’s visa was issued. Friends and family were happy to hear it, but I know this means adjusting expectations and plans. I am not going back to America anytime soon. I now have work rights, so the door is open for opportunities in that arena. I now have a year and a half to explore the rest of Australia and this side of the world.

I’m settled, for now.

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