The Department of Immigration has finally contacted us, sixteen months after we originally submitted our visa application for Beth. It seems that they want yet more information to continue the application process. There are several different items of further information that they say that they require from us, some of it is a little confusing. They actually sent us an email with two separate attachments with the details of the requirements they want. The challenge is that the details of the two attachments actually contradict each other.

We contacted the Department of Immigration (now that’s interesting just trying to find their phone number) and had a chat with them. I’ll put a link here in this post for the contact details of the Department of Immigration, as I know how difficult the contact numbers are to find. The Department of Immigration actually states on their website that they prefer that all communications be done electronically, and that they really would prefer that we do not call them. This must be why they make it so difficult to actually find their contact phone number. http://www.border.gov.au/about/contact/make-enquiry

Some of the further requirements that they want is reasonably straight forward for us to be able to supply. There are however some details that are going to be more than just a little challenging. The one requirement that is going to cause challenges is the police clearances. When we originally submitted the application to The Department of Immigration we were not required to submit police clearances as we were not in the category that required it. The Department of Immigration states that police clearances are required if the applicant has been residing in Australia for a period of 12 months or more. At the time the application was submitted, Beth had been residing in Australia for only 9 months. Quite obviously, she has now been here for much more than 12 months, so the Department of Immigration has decided that we are to supply police clearances from every country that she has lived in for any period of time longer than 12 months. This now means that we have to get police clearances from Kuwait, Philippines and Australia.

Getting a police clearance from the Australian Federal Police is not too difficult, but getting a police clearance from The Philippines and Kuwait, that’s another story altogether. Let us start by trying to explain how the Philippines wants us to get a police clearance from them. First, we have to contact the Philippine embassy here in Australia (easy), asking for a fingerprint card form to be sent to us. We then take that to our nearest police station to get them to take Beth’s fingerprints and authenticate that they are true and correct. Then send the completed fingerprint card to the embassy with some other requirements, plus a stamped self-addressed envelope, plus a cheque made out to the embassy for AU $45.

Once the application has been authenticated by the embassy, it is considered to be accomplished, and is then sent back to the applicant in the applicant supplied stamped self-addressed envelope. The applicant (that is us) then sends the accomplished application to the NBI in Manila, Philippines. Naturally we the applicant must also provide yet another stamped self-addressed envelope for the return of the eventually completed NBI clearance certificate, and we must also enclose a money order for Php 200 payable to the NBI. Full instructions are available at https://www.philembassy.org.au/images/2016/nbi/APPLICATION_FOR_AN_NBI_CLEARANCE_FROM_ABROAD.pdf

There are several other options available for the return of the NBI clearance if the applicant has family in the Manila area. I’m curious as to what exactly I’m getting for the funds that I’m sending to the Philippine economy. It seems to us that we send $45 to the Philippine embassy here in Australia so that they can attach a copy of a picture to a card of fingerprints. Hell, we even pay the postage for them to return it to us. Why do we have to then send it to the NBI in Manila? Why can’t the embassy send it to the NBI in the diplomatic pouch? At this stage the Philippine embassy is instructing us to send an authenticated set of fingerprints with attached pictures thru the mail system to the NBI in Manila. This process doesn’t seem to me to be what I (or many others) would classify as a secure, safe, and reliable method to send sensitive documentation.

As we previously said, we also are required to get clearances from Kuwait. By comparison with the Philippines, this is going to be a much more simple process (albeit more expensive). The simple instructions are available at this link http://kwinaustralia.com/index.php?option=com_wrapper&view=wrapper&Itemid=27 . We simply send a copy of the Passport, a couple of pictures and some fingerprints. We send it all together (once) to the Kuwait embassy with $70 and they will send the completed Police clearance to us approximately ten to twelve weeks after the initial application was received from us.

There are several other items that The Department of Immigration say that they require from us before they can continue with the application process. None of these seem to be too much of an issue, just time consuming. Ah well. On the positive note, we are still together and spending our lives together. We are very aware that it is now very difficult for the Department to order that Beth would be required to leave Australia, so we are very positive that this is just going to be a minor delay in proceedings. We are very quickly approaching our second anniversary of Married Life, so there will be some celebrations very soon. Needless to say, there will also be pictures and possibly video links posted here of the celebrations. Have a great week, more will be posted soon.