We know! We know! Where are all the holiday posts? They’re coming! We are going to take it in turns to recount the holiday, and Johan is taking his sweet old time! But we aim to have more posts published in the coming week. In the mean time…
A couple of weeks ago, we had our first question sent in to us by Phi! Phi asks:
A lot of international LDR couples are FRAZZLED over the visa process, thinking that a marriage/fiance visa route is easier. What do you think about that? For example, instead of looking for jobs, like you two, they worry about the entire visa result over the process. what do you think?
Such a great question, and we’ll do our best to answer it!
K: I think the process of applying for a visa, whether a work or marriage visa, is (in the technical aspect of it) much more important than the end result. If you take the time to do your research and gather as much information as you can, by the time it actually comes to applying for the visa, things will hopefully run much smoother. As long as you put in as much detail as you can, and be completely honest on your application, then hopefully there won’t be any problems with getting your application accepted. At least, that’s my positive thinking! We’re really lucky with Sweden, they have a special type of visa which I’m looking at getting.
J: Yeah, I haven’t really looked into the visa application stuff as much as Kylie has, but there is a residence permit you can get “to live with someone in Sweden with whom you are planning to marry or become common law spouses“. What this means is that we don’t need to rush into a marriage to be able to live together, we can take it one step at a time. The whole process seems to be a fairly uncomplicated. The person moving applies online, sends in supporting documents proving the relationship, then gets called into an interview at the embassy. The person to whom they are moving must answer an online questionnaire and then a decision is made whether to approve the application or not.
K: By obtaining this residence permit, it will also entitle me to a Swedish personal number (ID) and allow me to set up a bank account, undertake SFI (Swedish for Immigrants), etc. It is a 1-2 year permit which will also automatically grant me a work permit, and I can apply for an extension when that time is up. We must be able to show that we can support each other financially until I get settled in as it may take time to find work, and once I’ve been living in Sweden for 3 years, I can apply for a full Swedish citizenship.
J: It really seems like the most sensible option for us over a working visa for which she can only stay 12 months. It is really all about doing your research. Comparing the cost of living in either country, the cost and benefits of the different visas etc. A visa in Sweden costs about 1/28th of what a visa in Australia costs (150SEK/240AUD vs 41628SEK/6865AUD) , so even if it wasn’t for the fact that Kylie has really fallen in love with my country and really wants to move here, her moving to Sweden is really the more financially logical choice for us. We have also compared the cost of living in both countries, and while it wasn’t as much difference as it was with the visa, some important things, like housing, is a little cheaper in Sweden.
K: When I heard about the fees, that really put the icing on the cake! So right now we’re in the middle of doing continual research and checking out the forms we’ll need to fill out in preparation for submitting them a little later in the year and gathering as much evidence as we can of our relationship and detailing our plans for the future, including how we’ll support ourselves with work. For instance, if I can’t obtain work in Sweden right away, which I’m absolutely not holding out hope for, I do have online transcription work that I can do for a very minimal wage, but it’s something that’s there. We don’t plan to make the move unprepared without some sort of income. One could be accepted on a partner visa, but what’s the point in that if it falls through a year later because you haven’t thought about how you’ll survive as a close distance couple living away from the support of your family and friends back home? Which is why we’re trying so hard right now to talk about such things and work out a process that will work for us, that will not only sit good on an application, but work effectively in practice.
J: Yes, you really should have some kind of longer term plan, and have savings as a safeguard for if things go wrong. Life in unpredictable, and you never know what might happen, so the more eventualities you are prepared for, the better. Consider things such as what will happen if your application is denied? Know the rules for reapplication. What if you lose your income? Know your options. What if something delays your planned moving date? A lot of these things could make the move cost a lot more than you originally anticipated, but if you have done your research and are prepared to deal with it, you could minimize the damage, or at least not be surprised by it.
We will of course keep everyone updated on our journey to closing the distance, and all the trials and worries that are sure to come with it, but I hope that it will go as smoothly as possible, and that we can inspire others to get close the gap as well. Distance can seem like this insurmountable obstacle, but armed with the right knowledge, it doesn’t have to be that bad.