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Swedish import duties.

Epic news alert!

Pack your bags and grab the sunscreen.

Put Kylie Minogue’s ‘Celebration’ on high rotation.

We are moving to Sydney!

OH.MY.GOD.NO.WAY.SHUT.UP.YES.IT.IS.TRUE. After 14 years up north, it’s now time for this little trumpeter to head south. Yes dear readers, we will be swapping snow for sunshine, curling for cricket and wearing socks with sandals to just wearing sandals.

Departure date will be sometime in January 2014 a bit of way off, so don’t worry there will be plenty of time for complaining about bad Swedish weather in the meantime. But for now it’s time to plan.

644133_14989161What exciting news! It’s going to mean a big change for us. A big change. Especially for me. No longer will people be automatically impressed by the simple fact that I can speak English. No one will be charmed with my delightfully Australian ways or the fact I can whip up a Pavlova. No longer will I be an ‘Expat’ but simply someone who lives with a woman named Pat.

And quite frankly I was expecting a bit more of a standing ovation and fireworks at the news that I, a protegé of Keating’s Creative Nation policy whom cast herself out into the world stage, was now planning a return to the ‘old country’ complete with international experience, awards and the ability to assemble IKEA furniture. Instead, the Australian government told me that if I planned on bringing the Swedish Husband and my children with me, I’d better start applying for the visa now and by the way, yes it can be denied purely on the basis of ‘character’ so don’t start packing yet.

800387_95688650Turns out my little piglets were not the problem and are now officially Australian citizens complete with passports. Importing the Swedish Husband however, has proven to be more difficult. At some stages of the application process I did consider just leaving him in Sweden. In order for him to be able to work and for us not to have to apply for visa’s for the rest of our lives, we have opted to apply for a ‘Partner Visa’, the holy grail of Australian visa’s that ultimately leads to Australian citizenship. It’s a very expensive, complicated and time-consuming application which we have finally completed and are now waiting for the results.

The information required for the application was painfully extensive and included but was not limited to:

  • all dates of entry and exit to Australia in the last 10 years
  • all dates of entry and exit to any other country in the last 10 years
  • everything you’ve done in the last 10 years, copied, certified, translated, in black pen not blue
  • more evidence that we are married, apart from the Australian Marriage Certificate issued by the Australian government we have from the time when we were married, in Australia
  • more evidence that we are married apart from certified copies of our children’s birth certificates, certified mortgage statements, bills, employment evidence and a 2005 Kath and Kim Christmas card written to the both of us from my friend Sam
  • statutory declarations from Australian citizens to prove that we are in a ‘continuing relationship’ and really are married, apart from the above
  • full police checks in both Sweden and Australia
  • medical checks including x-rays supplied by an ‘Australian Government approved’ doctor in Sweden
  • knowing that Crowded House are actually from New Zealand and not Australia
  • photographic evidence that you can open a beer bottle with your teeth
  • The ability to recite a capella  your own, very unique rendition of Men at Work’s I don’t come from a land Down Under but I would very much like to live there
  • Knowing the meaning of the word ‘girt’ in the first verse of Australia’s national anthem.* I suspect that they are just looking for the answer themselves as no one within Australia actually knows

Do you believe TSH should be fully vaccinated, quarantined and then let in to our great big brown country? I sure hope the Australian Government does.

(photos courtesy of

27 Comments Post a comment
  1. I’d love to know the criteria for an ‘Australian Government approved’ doctor. Full knowledge of all episodes of The Flying Doctors?

    May 27, 2013
    • Ha!!!! Love it. Wouldn’t that be something. Or maybe it will be one of the actual flying doctors, they are pretty serious about it!

      May 27, 2013
  2. Matthew #

    The spouse Visa for OZ just seams like the pinnacle bureaucracy, paper work, time and cost. My Japan visa, whilst it took 6 months, was really not that onerous and cost only the normal processing fees, AUD60. My brother has gone through about AUD6K to get his Japanese wife in (with a kid) and is still not there. I dread having to get a full visa for my wife one day (kids are fine as that have both passports) .
    Happy to hear you did it!

    May 27, 2013
    • It’s not done yet and if it’s not approved we have to pay the AUD3000 again! I know it is outrageous how much it costs and the processing times. We have to be processed through Berlin and haven’t heard a thing from them. Your visa cost AUD60, that’s amazing. All this is the biggest surprise to me, I really wasn’t expecting it to be so difficult considering we are married and he’s Swedish. Fingers crossed!

      May 27, 2013
  3. Oh that sounds exciting and definitely a big deal! I do hope that whatever happens or what the decision may be regarding the move maybe a great one for your family. I have never had to make a huge move like that before. Again hope all goes well 🙂

    May 27, 2013
    • Thank you! We are really looking forward to it but it’s both nerve wracking and exciting all at once.

      May 27, 2013
  4. Eleni #

    Thank God he’s Swedish!
    Imagine him being Greek — with this huge immigration trend we’re having here, and all these labels of “troublemakers” and “lazy” Greeks we were awarded by the media lately… you would have to wait for years to get that visa!

    May 28, 2013
    • Yes, a lot of EU media do seem to be taking it out on the Greeks. We would have loved to make another dash down to Tinos before we leave, so beautiful!

      May 28, 2013
  5. Peta #

    I think you’re on to something with the definition of ‘girt’. I think they’re also after a few more answers.

    Really, the application should read:

    Who played ‘Scott’ in Neighbours c.1986?
    Who played his friend ‘Mike’?
    What song was played at Scott and Charlene’s wedding in 1987?
    Can you eat Vegemite and keep it down?
    Which AFL team does Kel barrack for?
    Finish this sentence…’Day-facto, night-facto, the fact….’
    What is ‘wine time’?
    How do you pronounce ‘Chardonnay’?
    Who’s faces are on the $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 notes? (If you could tell me too, that would really help on any trivia nights.)
    Is Russel Crowe really one of our own?
    Translate these terms: Ranga, Uggies, tinny (2 possible answers accepted), bogan (auto-spell check just rejected this word 4 times…clearly not an Aussie computer!), thongs, beaudy, fair dinkum, grub.
    How many verses are in the National Anthem. What are the words to at least 2 lines?
    Who is Ray Martin?

    There you go, you’re in!!!

    Good luck, I’ll heat up the Barbie ready for you. 🙂

    May 28, 2013
    • Bahahaha, you made my day Pete. Classic. Given the extensive nature of the application, it would not surprise me if these questions came up during round 2. I loved Who is Ray Martin + translations + the love song for Scott and Charlene’s wedding!

      May 28, 2013
      • Peta #

        Sweet…think I’ll go off and join the Government then and fix up their application process!

        May 29, 2013
  6. nudetopia #

    Welcome home! And if the application doesn’t work out, I think my dad still has the boat in which we left Vietnam…

    May 28, 2013
    • Excellent to hear. Feels like that might be our easiest option at the moment 🙂

      May 28, 2013
  7. Wowza! Big news. I’m sure there is some sort of vegemite eating clause somewhere? And does your husband like beets on his Big Mac, salad on his sandwiches, and know the difference between a brownie and a slice?

    May 28, 2013
    • Beets on a hamburger, you are making me homesick. I’m sure there will be a blind Vegemite test on the cards…. I know it is big news, we are excited and scared all at the same time but first up is to get the visa approved.

      May 28, 2013
      • Peta #

        Add a bit of pineapple or a fried egg to that burger…and some BBQ sauce. All washed down with a chocolate Moove. And for afters….a chicco roll of course!

        May 29, 2013
  8. (Sorry if this comment is left more than once on your blog, I’ve been having trouble leaving comments on WP blogs) What is prompting the move? Are you excited to be going back home (are you going back to your hometown?)? Hope all goes smoothly, especially the part about letting your imperfect husband into your perfect country/continent ;).

    May 30, 2013
    • Super excited. I just feel like it is time to try it out and see how it goes. My brother has been seriously ill but is now better, still would like to go and see him more and more.

      June 1, 2013
  9. Hilarious… not the fact that you are returning home of course (that is good news) but that poor hubby has to jump through so many hoops! And quite frankly, I don’t know why the Oz Govt isn’t asking your advice on citizenship tests cos your suggestions sound WAY better than the usual boring stuff!


    May 31, 2013
    • I know, I wish they would listen to me! I tried to be funny with them on the phone. Didn’t go down well!

      June 1, 2013
  10. Wonderful news for you!
    But, as an American married to an Aussie for 11 years with high hopes of leaving Sweden for Oz some day, reading this post is a buzz kill!

    June 2, 2013
    • Oh start applying now if you plan on doing it in the next 20 years 🙂

      June 2, 2013
  11. Krystyna Luczak #

    Hello dear Louise – lovely news – look forward to seeing you when you and Oskar and girls make landfall! K XXXX

    June 5, 2013
  12. kath #

    Nice to know how hard it actually it to get a visa in Aus for a Swedish Partner, time to start planning for the move back in 5 years. Although im now up to the 6 month mark for my Sambo Swedish Visa have been told it may take 18 months and in that time i can not leave Sweden (winter wonderland). Good luck with the move, it will be so much easier with the kids, only having to worry about one layer of clothes, not 5 or 6 !!

    June 16, 2013

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