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Which visa is right for me? A guide to Australian visa options.

Which visa is right for me?

Migrating to Australia can be confusing and complex. There are multiple different pathways to visit or temporarily stay in Australia. Many of these paths lead to the possibility of Permanent Residency (‘PR’) and Citizenship. Explore this step-by-step guide to Australian visa options and discover which visa is right for me.

STEP 1Which visa is right for me?
STEP 2Bridging visas
STEP 3Citizenship

Step 1. Which visa am I eligible for?

Why do you want to come to Australia? Click to explore visa options.

Visit Australia

eVisitor visa (subclass 651)

What is it?

The eVisitor visa allows you to visit Australia as frequently as you wish within a twelve-month period. You may stay in Australia for up to three months upon each entry. With the eVisitor visa, you can holiday, cruise, visit your friends or family, undertake business visitor activities (including making business enquiries, negotiating a contract or attending a conference), or study or train for up to three months if the sole purpose of your stay isn’t to study.

Am I eligible, and how can I apply?

The eVisitor visa is free and is applied for online. To be eligible, you must be outside Australia when you apply, and hold a passport from one of the following countries:Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Republic of San Marino, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom (British Citizen) or Vatican City.

You also must meet the health requirements, which may require you to undertake a health examination in certain circumstances. Furthermore, you must meet the character requirement, which requires you not to have a criminal conviction in any country (if this is the case, apply for a Visitor visa (subclass 600) instead). You also must have enough money to support yourself to live in and leave Australia.

Can I include family members in my application?

You cannot include family members in your application for an eVisitor visa. You must complete a separate application for each family member who wishes to join you in Australia.

Can I extend the length of my stay?

The eVisitor visa cannot be extended. To further your stay in Australia after your eVisitor visa has expired, you must apply for another visa. Consider your motivations for staying in Australia and check the options in 1.

Visitor visa (subclass 600) – Tourist stream

What is it?

The Visitor visa (tourist stream) allows you to stay in Australia for up to twelve months to visit family or friends, to holiday as a tourist or on a cruise, or for any other purpose other than business or medical treatment. On this visa, you can study or train in Australia for up to twelve months if the sole purpose of your stay isn’t to study (if it is, go to 5). The length of your stay will be determined by the Department of Home Affairs on a case by case basis. You may be able to exit and re-enter Australia if your visa is granted with multiple entries.

Am I eligible, and how can I apply?

The Visitor visa (tourist stream) costs from AUD145 per applicant and can be applied for online or on paper, either inside or outside Australia. You must meet the health requirement and character requirements. You also must have enough money to support yourself to live in Australia, and have adequate health insurance.

If you are from China, India or the United Arab Emirates, you may be able to fast-track your application for an additional AUD $1000.

Can I include family members in my application?

You cannot include family members in your application for this visa. You must complete a separate application for each family member who wishes to join you in Australia.

Can I extend the length of my stay?

The Visitor visa (tourist stream) cannot be extended. To further your stay in Australia after your Visitor visa has expired, you must apply for another visa. However, if one of the conditions of your visa prevents further stay, you cannot apply for a new visa.

Visitor visa (subclass 600) – Sponsored family stream

What is it?

Like the tourist stream, the Visitor visa (sponsored family stream) allows you to stay in Australia for up to twelve months to visit family or friends, to holiday as a tourist or for a cruise, or to study or train for up to three months. The length of your stay will be determined by the Department of Home Affairs on a case-by-case basis. You may be able to exit and re-enter Australia if your visa is granted with multiple entries.

Am I eligible, and how can I apply?

To be eligible for this visa, you must have a sponsor who is either a family member in Australia, or an Australian government official. Applications cost from AUD145 per applicant and can be applied for online or on paper. You must meet the health requirement and character requirements, and have (or have access to) enough money to support yourself during your stay.

Can I include family members in my application?

You cannot include family members in your application for this visa. You must complete a separate application for each family member who wishes to join you in Australia.

Can I extend the length of my stay?

The Visitor visa (tourist stream) cannot be extended. To further your stay in Australia after your Visitor visa has expired, you must apply for another visa. However, if one of the conditions of your visa prevents further stay, you cannot apply for a new visa.

Visitor visa (subclass 600) – Business visitor stream

What is it?

This visa allows you to enter Australia as a business visitor. Business visitors can make business or employment enquiries; conduct activities in the course of an official government visit; investigate, negotiate, enter into or review a business contract; or take part in a conference or other such seminar, so long as you are not paid to take part. Business visitors are prohibited from working for businesses based in Australia, and from directly selling goods and services to the Australian public.

This visa may be granted for a period of up to twelve months, and allows you to enter Australia and stay for up to three months at any time while the visa is valid.

Am I eligible, and how can I apply?

To be eligible, you must perform business visitor activities as outlined above. You also must meet the health and character requirements, and have enough money for your stay. Applications cost AUD145 and can be applied for online or on paper.

Can I include family members in my application?

You cannot include family members in your application for this visa. You must complete a separate 600 Visitor Tourist stream application for each family member who wishes to join you in Australia.

Can I extend the length of my stay?

The Visitor visa (business visitor stream) cannot be extended. To further your stay in Australia after your Visitor visa has expired, you must apply for another visa. However, if one of the conditions of your visa prevents further stay, you cannot apply for a new visa.

Visitor visa (subclass 600) – Approved destination status stream

What is it?

This visa is specifically allocated to citizens of the People’s Republic of China who are visiting Australia as part of a tour organised by a travel agent approved by the Department of Home Affairs. Visa holders must only engage in activities that are part of the tour, and enter and exit Australia with their tour group.

The length of this visa is determined by the Department of Home Affairs in the visa grant, taking into consideration the length of the approved tour.

Am I eligible, and how can I apply?

Costing AUD145, this visa is applied for by your travel agent on your behalf. Your travel agent must be registered with the Approved Destination Status scheme. To be eligible, you must be in the People’s Republic of China when your application is lodged and when the Department makes its decision. You also must meet the health and character requirements.

Can I include family members in my application?

You cannot include family members in your application for this visa. You must complete a separate application for each family member who wishes to join you in Australia.

Can I extend the length of my stay?

The Visitor visa (approved destination status stream) cannot be extended. You are obligated to leave Australia with your tour group at the date and time listed in your tour itinerary.

Visitor visa (subclass 600) – Frequent traveller stream

What is it?

The Visitor visa (frequent traveler stream) is designated to citizens of the People’s Republic of China who frequently travel to Australia for personal or business purposes. Holders of this visa can engage in business visitor activities, visit their family and friends, or holiday (including tourist and cruise activities).

This visa may be granted to a period of up to ten years; the Department will specify its length in the requisite visa grant. Visa holders may enter Australia as frequently as they wish whilst holding the visa, but cannot stay for more than three months upon each entry, or for more than twelve months in any 24-month period.

Am I eligible, and how can I apply?

To be eligible, you must hold a passport from and be a citizen of the People’s Republic of China, both while applying and for the duration of the visa. You also must meet the health and character requirements.

Can I include family members in my application?

You cannot include family members in your application for this visa. You must complete a separate application for each family member who wishes to join you in Australia.

Can I extend the length of my stay?

The Visitor visa (frequent traveler stream) cannot be extended. To further your stay in Australia after your Visitor visa has expired, you must apply for another visa. However, if one of the conditions of your visa prevents further stay, you cannot apply for a new visa.

Medical Treatment visa (subclass 602)

This is a temporary visa available for people who need to travel to or remain longer in Australia in order to:

  • Have medical treatment or consultations in Australia
  • Donate an organ to someone in Australia
  • Support a patient or organ donor who holds or is applying for this visa
  • Receive an organ from someone who travels to Australia with you
  • Come to Australia under the arrangements between the Western Province of Papua New Guinea and the Queensland Department of Health

This visa may also be available to you if you are onshore in Australia, aged 50 years or older, have been refused an Australian permanent visa on health grounds only and are unfit to depart Australia.

If you apply for this visa outside of Australia or represent a foreign government, there is no cost attached to this visa. If you apply from within Australia, there will be a $315 AUD cost.

In order to be eligible for this visa you must:

  • Not have a medical condition that could be a threat to public health
  • Be able to support yourself financially
  • Meet necessary health requirements if you are supporting someone else
  • Meet necessary character requirements

Transit visa (subclass 771)

This is a temporary visitor visa that lets people be in Australian for up to 72 hours. You must be outside Australia in order to apply and have a confirmed booking to travel to another country within 72 hours of arriving in Australia and the correct documents to enter that country. There is no cost attached to this visa. Applications for this visa can take up 20 days to be processed.

Working in Australia

If you want to come to Australia to work, you will need a visa that suits the work you intend to do.

Temporary work visas

Permanent work visas

Temporary Skills Shortage (subclass 482)

The subclass 482 visa replaced the subclass 457 visa in March 2018. This visa subclass has three streams: short-term, medium-term and labour agreement. It is designed to fill gaps in the Australia labour market by allowing employers to sponsor a suitably skilled worker to fill a position they can’t find a suitably skilled Australian to fill. Duration, costs and processing times vary between streams.

In order to be eligible for a TSS visa, you must:

  • Be nominated for a skilled position by an approved sponsor
  • Have the right skills to do the job
  • Meet the relevant English language requirements

Short-Term Stream

This stream allows employers to address labour shortages by bringing in overseas skilled workers where they cannot source Australian workers with the appropriate skills.

  • Duration: up to 2 years or 4 years if an International Trade Obligation (ITO) applies
  • Requirements: your occupation must be on the short-term occupations list
  • Cost: from $1,265 AUD
  • Processing time: approximately 48 days

Medium-Term Stream

This stream allows employers to address labour shortages by bringing in overseas skilled workers where they cannot source Australian workers with the appropriate skills.

  • Duration: Up to 4 years
  • Requirements: your occupation must be either that Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) or the Regional Occupation List (ROL)
  • Cost: from $2,645 AUD
  • Processing time: approximately 43 days

Labour Agreement Stream

This visa allows employers who have a Labour Agreement to nominate skilled workers. It lets you live and work in Australia temporarily. Labour agreements are developed between the Australian Government (represented by the Department) and employers.

  • Duration: Up to a maximum 4 years, depending on terms of labour agreement
  • Requirements: your employer has to have a labour agreement with the Australian government in effect
  • Cost: from $2,645 AUD
  • Processing time: approximately 43 days

Do you intend to bring your family with you to Australia?

Family members traveling with a subclass 482 visa holder are required to apply for a subsequent entrant visa.

  • Duration: you may stay in Australia as long as your visa is valid
  • Requirements: you must be a family member of a TSS visa holder.
  • Cost: from $1,265
  • Processing time: there are no processing times available for this visa

The Global Talent – Employer Sponsored (GTES)

The GTES allows employers to sponsor overseas workers for highly skilled positions that cannot be filled by Australian workers or through other standard visa programs (i.e. Short-term and Medium-term streams of the TSS visa).

This visa stream is only for highly skilled ‘niche’ occupations. Approved businesses must meet specific criteria and requirements in order to sponsor persons under this program.

Key aspects of this program include:

  • Two streams: Established Business and Start-ups;
  • A higher-earning threshold for applicants than under the standard TSS streams;
  • Ability to negotiation variations on the standard TSS requirements;
  • Departmental prioritisation of GTES agreement processing;
  • Trusted employers are able to access highly skilled workers and will not be restricted to occupation lists under TSS Short or Medium Term streams;
  • An ability to negotiate age requirements for the permanent residence pathway;

How long does this visa last for?

The visa is valid for up to 4 years and allows access to a permanent residence pathway.

Requirements

Before you can seek access to the GTES program, you must be able to establish that the positions cannot be filled by an Australia worker or through existing skilled visa programs. Further eligibility criteria will depend on which stream your business falls under.

Established Business

Employer requirements

  • Demonstrate that accessing GTES will support job opportunities and encourage skills transfer for Australians
  • Provide Labour Marking Testing evidence for the specific position
  • Be in good standing with relevant regulatory agencies (including compliance with immigration and workplace laws)
  • Be a publicly listed company OR have an annual turnover of at least $4 million AUD for each of the past 2 years
  • Be endorsed as a TSS accredited sponsor

Applicant requirements

  • Meet health, character and security requirements
  • Have no familial relationship with the directors or shareholders of employer company
  • Have qualifications commensurate with the highly skilled role
  • Have at least 3 years work experience directly relevant to position
  • Have the capacity to pass on skills to Australians
  • Position must have a minimum annual earnings equivalent to the Fair Work High Income Threshold ($148,700 AUD – as at 1 July 2019)

Start Up

Employer requirements

  • Demonstrate that accessing GTES will support job opportunities and encourage skills transfer for Australians
  • Provide Labour Marking Testing evidence for the specific position
  • Be in good standing with relevant regulatory agencies (including compliance with immigration and workplace laws)
  • Operate in a technology based on STEM-related field (e.g. digital, biomedical, agtech)
  • Be assessed and endorsed by an independent start-up advisory panel as a viable and genuine startup

Applicant requirements

  • Meet health, character and security requirements
  • Have no familial relationship with the directors or shareholders of the start-up company
  • Have qualifications commensurate with the highly skilled role
  • Have at least 3 years work experience directly relevant to position
  • Have the capacity to pass on skills to Australians
  • Position must have a minimum annual earnings at the market salary rate, but not less than $80,000 AUD

Working Holiday visa (subclass 417 & 462)

Working Holiday visa (Subclass 417)

This visa is suitable for young adults who want an extended holiday in Australia and to work here to fund it.

In order to be eligible for any streams of the subclass 417 visa, you must meet the following basic eligibility

Requirements

  • Be aged 18 – 30 years old (excludes Canadian, French and Irish nationals who can apply up to aged 35 years)
  • Have a valid passport from one of these countries:
    • Belgium
    • Canada
    • Republic of Cyprus
    • Denmark
    • Estonia
    • Finland
    • France
    • Germany
    • Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (including British National Overseas passport holders)
    • Republic of Ireland
    • Italy
    • Japan
    • Republic of Korea
    • Malta
    • Netherlands
    • Norway
    • Sweden
    • Taiwan (other than an official or diplomatic passport)
    • The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • Must not be accompanied by any dependent children

First Working Holiday visa

  • You must meet the basic eligibility requirements
  • You can work while you are here
  • You can apply for a second Working Holiday visa if you need certain eligibility criteria

Duration: 12 months

Cost: $485 AUD

Processing time: approximately 22 days

Second Working Holiday visa

This visa lets current holders of a Working Holiday Visa have a second working holiday in Australia, provided certain requirements are met.

  • You must meet the basic eligibility requirements
  • You can do any kind of work while you are here
  • You must have completed 3 months of specified work while holding your first Working Holiday visa
  • You can apply for a third Working Holiday visa if you need certain eligibility criteria

Duration: 12 months

Cost: $485 AUD

Processing time: approximately 22 days

Third Working Holiday visa

This visa lets current holders of a second Working Holiday Visa have a third working holiday in Australia, provided certain requirements are met.

  • You must meet the basic eligibility requirements
  • You can do any kind of work while you are here
  • You must have completed 6 months of specified work while holding your second Working Holiday visa

Duration: 12 months

Cost: $485 AUD

Processing time: no processing times are available

Work and Holiday visa (Subclass 462)

This visa is suitable for young adults who want an extended holiday in Australia and to work here to fund it.

In order to be eligible for any streams of the subclass 417 visa, you must meet the following basic eligibility requirements:

  • Be aged 18 – 30 years old
  • Have a valid passport from one of these countries:
    • Argentina
    • Austria
    • Chile
    • China, People’s Republic of
    • Czech Republic
    • Ecuador
    • Greece
    • Hungary
    • Indonesia
    • Israel
    • Luxembourg
    • Malaysia
    • Peru
    • Poland
    • Portugal
    • San Marino
    • Singapore
    • Slovak Republic
    • Slovenia
    • Spain
    • Thailand
    • Turkey
    • Uruguay
    • United States of America
    • Vietnam
  • Must not be accompanied by any dependent children

First Work and Holiday visa

  • You must meet the basic eligibility requirements
  • You can work while you are here
  • You can apply for a second Working Holiday visa if you need certain eligibility criteria

Duration: 12 months

Cost: $485 AUD

Processing time: approximately 35 days

Second Work and Holiday visa

This visa lets current holders of a Work and Holiday visa have a second working holiday in Australia, provided certain requirements are met.

  • You must meet the basic eligibility requirements
  • You can do any kind of work while you are here
  • You must have completed 3 months of specified work while holding your first Work and Holiday visa
  • You can apply for a third Work and Holiday visa if you need certain eligibility criteria

Duration: 12 months

Cost: $485 AUD

Processing time: approximately 35 days

Third Work and Holiday visa

This visa lets current holders of a second Work and Holiday visa have a third working holiday in Australia, provided certain requirements are met.

  • You must meet the basic eligibility requirements
  • You can do any kind of work while you are here
  • You must have completed 6 months of specified work while holding your second Work and Holiday visa

Duration: 12 months

Cost: $485 AUD

Processing time: no processing times are available

Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408)

This visa subclass allows a holder to come to Australia to do specific types of work temporarily. In order to meet the basic eligibility requirements, you must:

  • Have the skills to undertake the particular activity to be carried out in Australia
  • Be supported or sponsored
  • Meet the necessary additional requirements for the additional stream

There are ten streams under the subclass 408 visa:

Special Program

This visa lets you come to Australia to take part in an approval special program. There are four types of special programs:

  1. Cultural enrichment or community benefit programs
  2. Youth exchange programs
  3. School language assistance programs
  4. School-to-school interchange programs

Duration: up to 12 months

Cost: $310 AUD

Processing time: approximately 47 days

Requirements:

  • You must have an invitation to participate in an approved special program
  • You must be supported or sponsored depending on your circumstances
  • You must apply online either in or outside Australia, but not in immigration clearance

Religious Work

This visa lets you do full-time religious work for a religious institution in Australia. The visa allows both you and members of your family unit to travel to and stay in Australia.

Duration: up to 2 years

Cost: $310 AUD

Processing time: approximately 66 days

Requirements:

  • You must have an agreement to work full-time for a religious institution in Australia
  • You must be supported or sponsored depending on your circumstances
  • You must apply online either in or outside Australia, but not in immigration clearance

Research activities

This visa lets you observe or take part in a research project as part of a research or tertiary institution in Australia. The visa allows both you and members of your family unit to travel to and stay in Australia.

Duration: up to 2 years

Cost: $310 AUD

Processing time: approximately 60 days

Requirements:

  • You must be supported or sponsored depending on your circumstances
  • You must be invited to observe or take part in research at an Australian research or tertiary institution
  • You must apply online either in or outside Australia, but not in immigration clearance

Invited for other social and cultural activity (Invited Participant)

This visa lets you come to Australia if you are invited to participate in a community based event, including sports events. The visa allows both you and members of your family unit to travel to and stay in Australia.

Duration: up to 3 months

Cost: $310 AUD

Processing time: approximately 20 days

Requirements:

  • You must have been invited to take part in a community-based event in Australia
  • You must have a sponsor or supporter
  • You must apply online either in or outside Australia, but not in immigration clearance

Sporting activities

This visa allows you to play, coach, instruct or adjudicate for an Australian sports team or do high-level sports training for a sporting organisation. The visa allows both you and members of your family unit to travel to and stay in Australia.

Duration: up to 2 years

Cost: $310 AUD

Processing time: approximately 58 days

Requirements:

  • You must have a sponsor or supporter
  • You must have a contract and a letter of support from a peak sporting body
  • Not work outside your specified sporting activities
  • You must apply either in or outside Australia, but not in immigration clearance

Entertainment activities

This visa lets you come to Australian to work in the entertainment industry on film, television or live productions as a performer, production or support staff. The visa allows both you and members of your family unit to travel to and stay in Australia.

Duration: up to 2 years

Cost: $310 AUD

Processing time: approximately 24 days

Requirements:

  • You must have a contract or other proof of your engagement
  • You must have access to enough money to support yourself and any dependents who travel with you during your stay
  • You must apply online either in or outside Australia, but not in immigration clearance

Superyacht crew

This visa lets you work in Australia as a crewmember of a superyacht.

Duration: up to 12 months

Cost: $310 AUD

Processing time: unavailable due to low volume of applications

Requirements:

  • You must have a contract to work as a superyacht crewmember
  • You must have a letter from the owner of the superyacht confirming the person’s employment as a member of the crew of the vessel
  • You must have a supporter or a sponsor, depending on your circumstances
  • You must apply either in or outside Australia, but not in immigration clearance

Exchange arrangements

This visa lets you come to Australia as part of a staff exchange with an Australian organisation. The visa allows both you and members of your family unit to travel to and stay in Australia.

Duration: up to 2 years

Cost: $310 AUD

Processing time: unavailable due to low volume of applications

Requirements:

  • You must have the skills and experience to change jobs with an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • You must have a supporter or a sponsor
  • You must apply online either in or outside Australia, but not in immigration clearance

Australian Government endorsed events

This visa lets you come to Australia to participate in events that are endorsed by the Australian government. Two endorsed events are currently captured under this steam: Supporting Innovation in South Australia (SISA) and the INAS 2019 Global Games. The visa allows both you and members of your family unit to travel to and stay in Australia. You may also enter and leave Australia as many times as you want while the visa is valid.

Duration: for the duration of the event or up to 4 years if you are the organiser

Cost: $310 AUD

Processing time: not available for this visa

Requirements:

  • You must have a letter of endorsement from the event organiser
  • You must apply online

Domestic work for executives

This visa lets you come to Australia to do full-time domestic work in the household of certain senior foreign executives. The visa allows both you and members of your family unit to travel to and stay in Australia.

Duration: up to 2 years

Cost: $310 AUD

Processing time: unavailable due to low volume of applications

Requirements:

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • You must be invited to work in the household
  • You must be experienced in domestic work
  • You must be supported or sponsored

You must apply either in or outside Australia, but not in immigration clearance.

Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485)

This is a temporary visa that allows international students to live, study and work after they have finished their studies.

Graduate Work Stream

This stream is for international students who have recently graduated with skills and qualifications that are relevant to specific occupations that Australia needs. This visa allows you to temporarily live, study and work in Australia. This visa also allows members of your immediate family unit to travel to and stay in Australia with you.

Duration: usually up to 18 months

Cost: $1650 AUD

Processing time: approximately 4 months

Requirements:

  • You must be under 50 years of age
  • You must have a qualification relevant to an occupation on the skilled occupation list
  • You must be assessed as having skills suitable for an occupation on the skilled occupation list

Apply for Your 485 Visa Online. Check Your Eligibility

Post-Study Work Stream

This stream is for international students who have recently graduated with a degree from an Australian institution. This visa allows you to temporarily live, study and work in Australia. This visa also allows members of your immediate family unit to travel to and stay in Australia with you.

Duration: usually up to 18 months

Cost: $1650 AUD

Processing time: approximately 4 months

Requirements:

  • You must be under 50 years of age
  • You must have been granted your first student visa to Australia on or after 5 November 2011
  • You must have a recent degree in a CRICOS-registered course

Temporary Work – International Relations visa (subclass 403)

This subclass allows work in specific circumstances that improve Australia’s international relations.

There are six visa streams captured under this subclass:

Government Agreement Stream

This stream allows a person to work in Australia under the terms and conditions of a bilateral agreement between the Australian Government and a government of another country. The visa allows both you and members of your family unit to travel to and stay in Australia. This visa also allows you to travel to and from Australian as many times as you want.

Duration: as specified in your visa, up to 2 years

Cost: $310 AUD

Processing time: approximately 33 days

Requirements:

  • You must comply with licensing or registration requirements as part of your employment
  • You must be supported by the signatories to the agreement
  • You must apply online

Foreign Government Agency Stream

This stream allows a person to come to Australia for a specific activity. ‘Specific activity’ includes:

  • Work as an employed representative of a foreign government agency
  • Work as an employed representative of a foreign diplomatic or consular mission
  • Work as an employed representative of an international organisation recognised by Australia
  • Work as a foreign language teacher employed by a foreign government in an Australian school

The visa allows both you and members of your family unit to travel to and stay in Australia. This visa also allows you to travel to and from Australian as many times as you want.

Duration: as specified in your visa, up to 4 years

Cost: $310 AUD

Processing time: unavailable due to low volume of applications

Requirements:

  • You be supported by the government agency
  • If you will be teaching a foreign language: you must be supported by an Australian school
  • You must apply online

Domestic Worker (Diplomatic or Consular) Stream

This stream allows a person to work in Australia under the terms and conditions of a bilateral agreement between the Australian Government and a government of another country. The visa allows both you and members of your family unit to travel to and stay in Australia. This visa also allows you to travel to and from Australian as many times as you want.  

Duration: as specified in your visa, up to 2 years

Cost: $310 AUD

Processing time: unavailable due to low volume of applications

Requirements:

  • You must be offshore when you lodge the application for your first visa (for subsequent visas, you may apply onshore or offshore)
  • You must be employed full time in the household of a Diplomatic visa (subclass 995) holder in Australia
  • You must apply online

Privileges and Immunities Stream

This stream allows a person to come to Australia if they have, or expect to have, privileges and immunities under relevant legislation.

Duration: for the length of time specified in your visa grant letter, usually the time you are an international representative with the  support of DFAT

Cost: Free

Processing time: unavailable due to low volume of applications

Requirements:

  • You must have a letter of supporting from DFAT recommending that you should be granted this visa
  • You must have, or expect to have, privileges and immunities listed under International Organisations (Privileges and Immunities) Act 1963 or Overseas Missions (Privileges and Immunities) Act 1995
  • You must apply online

Seasonal Worker Program Stream

This stream allows you to come to Australia on a temporary basis to participate in the Seasonal Worker Program.

Duration: as specified in your visa, up to 9 months

Cost: $310 AUD

Processing time: approximately 9 days

Requirements:

  • You must be invited by an Australian employer who is a ‘Temporary Activities Sponsor
  • You must be a citizen of and resident in at least once of the following countries:
    • Timor-Leste
    • Fiji
    • Kiribati
    • Nauru
    • Papua New Guinea
    • Samoa
    • Solomon Islands
    • Tonga
    • Tuvalu
    • Vanuatu
  • You must be outside Australia when you apply and when a decision is made on your application
  • You must apply online

Pacific Labour Scheme Stream

This stream allows a person to participate in the Pacific Labour Scheme Program.

Duration: as specified in your visa, up to 3 years

Cost: $310 AUD

Processing time: N/A

Requirements:

  • You must be a resident of one of the following countries:
    • Fiji
    • Kiribati
    • Nauru
    • Papua New Guinea
    • Samoa
    • Solomon Islands
    • Timor-Leste
    • Tonga
    • Tuvalu
    • Vanuatu
  • You must be invited by an Australian employer endorsed by DFAT who is a Temporary Activities sponsor
  • You must be endorsed by DFAT to participate in the Pacific Labour Scheme Program
  • You must apply online

Temporary Work – Short Stay Specialist visa (subclass 400)

This visa is a temporary visa that lets you do short-term, highly specialised work in Australia. It is suitable if you have specialised skills, knowledge and experience not generally available in Australia. In limited circumstances, you may also be granted a visa if the activity or work relates to Australia’s interests. You can also bring your family with you, provided they meet certain requirements and do not work in Australia. Single or multiple entry visas are available.

Duration: up to 3 months or, in limited circumstances, six months

Cost: from $310 AUD

Processing time: approximately 21 days

In order to apply for this visa, you must establish that:

  • The work or activity you intend to undertake is short-term and non-ongoing (this means six months or less)
  • You need to be in Australia in order to do the work or activity
  • You have the relevant personal attributes or employment experience necessary to do the work or activity
  • You have enough money to support yourself and any family members traveling with you
  • If applicable, you have the support of the organisation which you’ll be working for or who invited you to Australia
  • You meet all the health and character requirements

Note: some exclusions apply to the entertainment industry

The subclass 400 visa does not always permit a holder to work in the entertainment industry. If you wish to work in the entertainment industry, it will depend on the type of activity you are undertaking as to whether this visa is right for you.

If you intend to do any of the following, a subclass 400 will be suitable for you:

  • Direct, produce or have any other role in a production that will not be shown in Australia (you will need to provide a distribution contract or other evidence to support this)
  • Come to Australia for a promotional activity, for example:
    • An actor visiting Australia for a red carpet premiere
    • A rock band in Australia for a promotional tour but no performances

If you intend to do any of the following, a subclass 400 will not be suitable for you:

  • Perform as an entertainer in Australia or support an entertainer or group of entertainers performing in Australia
  • Direct, produce or take any other part in a production that will be shown, broadcast or performed in Australia (including theatre, film, television, radio, concert or a recording)

Training visa (subclass 407)

This is a temporary visa subclass that allows you to take part in workplace-based occupational training activities to improve your skills for your job, area of tertiary study, field of expertise or in a professional developing training program in Australia.

Duration: up to 2 years

Cost: $310 AUD for the main applicant

Processing time: approximately 72 days

Requirements:

  • You must be sponsored
  • You must be nominated (unless the sponsor is a Commonwealth Government agency)
  • If your sponsor is a Commonwealth Government agency, you must be invited

Skilled – Recognised Graduate visa (subclass 476)

This visa allows recent engineering graduates to live, work or study in Australia temporarily.

Duration: up to 18 months

Cost: $405 AUD

Processing time: approximately 13 months

Requirements:

  • You must be under 31 years of age
  • You must have completed an engineering degree at a specified education institution in the past 2 years
  • You must not have previously been the primary visa holder of a subclass 476 or 485 visa

Skilled Regional Provisional visa (subclass 489)

This visa is for skilled workers who want to live and work in regional Australia. This visa allows you to bring your family and may allow you to apply for the Skilled Regional (Permanent) visa (subclass 887). This subclass is comprised of three possible pathways:

Invited Pathway

Duration: 4 years

Cost: $4,045 AUD

Processing time: there are no standard processing times for this visa

Requirements:

  • You must be nominated to apply by a state or territory government agency, or an eligible relative must sponsor you
  • You must have an occupation on a relevant skilled occupation list
  • You must have a suitable skills assessment for the occupation
  • You must be invited to apply
  • You must satisfy the points test

Extended Stay Pathway

This pathway allows you to live, work and study in a specified regional area of Australia for 4 years from the date your subclass 475, 487, 495 or 496 visa was granted. It allows you to travel to and from Australia as many times as you want while it is valid.

Duration: 4 years from the date your current skilled visa was granted

Cost: $360 AUD

Processing time: there are no standard processing times for this visa

Requirements:

  • You must hold a subclass 475, 487, 495 or 496 visa

Subsequent Entry Pathway

This pathway allows family members of a current subclass 489, 475, 487, 495 or 496 visa holder to live, work and study in a specified regional area of Australia. A visa holder may travel to and from Australia as many times as they want, while the visa is valid.

Duration: until the family member’s visa expires

Cost: $4,045 AUD

Processing time: there are no standard processing times for this visa

Requirements:

  • You must be a member of the family unit of a subclass 475, 487, 489, 495 or 496 visa holder

Business Innovation and Investment visa (subclass 888)

This visa is designed to let entrepreneurs, investors and business owners continue their activities in Australia and is suitable for people looking to invest in the robust Australian economy. The visa enables for work and study in Australia, enrolment into Medicare, sponsorship of family, and can also lead to citizenship pathways.

This may be less suitable if all the normal health, character, debt and English requirements cannot be fulfilled at the time of application, as it can incur a second installment charge.

There are five visa streams captured under this subclass; namely, Business Innovation, Investor, Significant Investor, Premium Investor, and Entrepreneur.

Duration: All streams are permanent visas.

Cost: From $2590 AUD through all streams for the main applicant.

Processing time:  There are no standard processing times available for any streams.

Business Innovation Stream

This stream is suitable for those who own and manage dynamic businesses, and are looking to expand operations in Australia.

Requirements:

  • One of the following must apply:
    • Hold a Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) 188 visa
    • Hold a Special Category 444 visa
    • Hold a Business (Long Stay) 457 visa
    • Have a spouse/de facto partner who holds a Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) 188 visa
  • You must be nominated by an Australian state or territory government agency
  • You must own and manage a business in Australia which:
    • For the immediate 2 years before you apply, you must have:
      • had, and continue to have, an ownership interest in up to two main businesses in Australia
      • had a direct and continuous management role in that business or businesses
      • submitted Business Activity Statements to the Australian Taxation Office
      • submitted Business Activity Statements to the Australian Taxation Office
    • For the immediate 2 years before you apply, you must own at least:
      • 51% of the total value of a business with a turnover of less than AUD400,000 per year; or
      • 30% of the total value of a business with a turnover of AUD400,000 or more per year; or
      • 10% of the total value of a business that is operated by a publicly listed company
    • For the immediate 1 year before you apply, your business must have an annual turnover of AUD300,000 or more, unless a nominating State/Territory government determines there are exceptional circumstances
  • If you bought your business from a person who applied for or held a 188, 890, 891, 892, 893:
    • You must show that you and that person co-owned the business for at least 1 year
  • You or your partner must show at least 2 of the following for the immediate 1 year before you apply:
    • assets of AUD200,000 net value in your business
    • personal and business assets in Australia of AUD600,000 net value
    • equivalent of at least 2 full-time eligible employees in your main business
    • employ Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents, or holders of valid New Zealand passports who are not members of your family
  • You must have operated your business within Australian laws
  • You must have been in Australia for at least 1 year in the immediate 2 years before you apply, as a holder of the aforementioned visas.
  • You and your partner must not have been involved in any business or investment activities that are unacceptable in Australia
  • You must have a realistic commitment to continuing your business and investment activities in Australia.

Investor Stream

This stream is suitable for those with a track record of investment activities in Australia.

Requirements:

  • One of the following must apply:
    • Hold a Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) 188 visa in the Investor stream
    • Have a spouse/de facto partner who holds a Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) 188 visa
  • You must be nominated by an Australian state or territory government agency
  • Upon application for the provisional visa, you have invested 1.5 million AUD in an Australian state or Territory:
    • If you applied for the provisional visa before 1 July 2015, the investment has to be held for at least 3 years and 11 months.
    • If you applied for the provisional visa after 1 July 2015, the investment must be held for at least 4 years.  
  • You must have lived in Australia for at least 2 of the 4 years immediately before application.
  • You and your partner must not have been involved in any business or investment activities that are unacceptable in Australia.
  • You must have a realistic commitment to continuing your business and investment activities in Australia.

Significant Investor Stream

This stream is suitable for those with a sustained track record of significant investment activities in Australia.

Requirements:

  • One of the following must apply:
    • Be the primary holder of a Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) 188 visa in the Significant Investor/Significant Investor Extension stream
    • Hold a 188 visa on the basis your spouse/de facto partner held a Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) 188 visa in the Significant Investor/Significant Investor Extension stream, and you have ceased to be the spouse/de facto partner, or that person has died. 
    • An application for the permanent visa depends on when you applied for the provisional visa.
  • You must be nominated by an Australian state or territory government agency or Austrade. The State or territory must confirm that your nomination is still current; however, you do not need another expression of interest.
  • During the period you held the provisional 188 visa, you have invested $5 million AUD in a ‘complying investment’ or a ‘complying significant investment’.
  • You must inform the Government of any times you transferred funds from one investment to another.
  • Where any part of your investment is or was a direct investment (DI) in an Australian proprietary company:
    • If the period of DI was less than 2 years, the company must be a qualifying business for the whole period
    • If the period of DI was at least 2 years, the company was a qualifying business for at least 2 years
    • If the company has been unable to operate as a qualifying business, you must have made a genuine attempt to operate the business as a qualifying business.
  • All other baseline requirements are similar to the Investor Stream.

Premium Investor Stream

This stream is suitable for those with a premium track record of substantial investment activities in Australia.

Requirements:

  • One of the following must apply:
    • A) Be the primary holder of a Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) 188 visa in the Premium Investor stream
    • B) Hold a 188 visa on the basis your spouse/de facto partner held a Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) 188 visa in the Premium Investor Extension stream, and you have ceased to be the spouse/de facto partner, or that person has died. 
    • NOTE: You must have held this for a continuous period of 12 months.
  • You must have a current nomination from Austrade.
  • During the period you held the provisional 188 visa, you have invested 15 million AUD in a ‘complying premium investment’.
  • The investment of the 15 million must be in any of these options:
    • Australian securities exchange (ASX) listed assets
    • Australian government or semi-government bonds or notes
    • Corporate bonds or notes issued by an ASX listed entity (or a wholly owned subsidiary), investment grade related Australian corporate bonds or notes rated by an AFS licenced debt rating agency
    • Australian proprietary limited companies operated to make a profit by providing goods or services to the public, not as a passive or speculative investment (e.g landlord of residential property, gambling, share trading or holding property for capital gain)
    • Deferred annuities issued by Australian registered life companies
    • State or territory government approved philanthropic contribution.
  • Additionally, to be an eligible fund, cash is not to exceed 20% of a fund’s net assets, and derivatives are to be used for risk management purposes only. 
  • Premium investors may elect to make a portion or the entirety of their investment by way of a philanthropic donation (endorsed by a state/territory government).
  • All other baseline requirements including not being involved in unacceptable business activities are similar to the Investor Stream.

Entrepreneur Stream

This stream is suitable for those with a demonstrated and successful record of undertaking entrepreneurial activities in Australia while holding the provisional 188 visa.

Requirements:

  • You must be the holder of a subclass 188 provisional visa in the Entrepreneur stream, and have held this visa for a continuous period of at least 4 years immediately before you apply.
  • You must be nominated by an Australian state or territory government agency. The State or territory must confirm that your nomination is still current; however, you do not need another expression of interest.
  • You must meet the criteria for ‘successful’ entrepreneurial activities. You must show:
    • 2 key success factors; or
    • 1 key success factors and 3 supporting success factors
  • Key success factors include:
    • Employing at least 2 Australians, permanent residents or other eligible persons
    • An annual turnover of at least AUD 300,000
    • Filing a provisional patent or acquiring a standard or innovation patent
    • Receiving ongoing funding or investment in your entrepreneurial activity
    • Entering into a partnership with a university
    • Selling an entrepreneurial venture for AUD 2 Million.
  • Supporting success factors include:
    • Adapting entrepreneurial activities into other business areas
    • Receiving a statement of success from a state/territory government nominator
    • Receiving sponsorship from the corporate sector
    • Starting at least 1 other business or contributing to at least 2 other businesses
    • Receiving formal awards or recognition
    • Raising or contributing to social
  • All other baseline requirements including not being involved in unacceptable business activities are similar to the Investor Stream.

If you intend to do any of the following, the Entrepreneurial stream will not be suitable for you:

  • Residential real estate
  • Labour Hire
  • Buying existing enterprises or a franchise in Australia

Permanent visas

Employer Sponsored Work visas (subclasses 186 & 187)

This visa allows skilled workers, who have been nominated by their employer, to live and work in Australian permanently. There are three applicable streams to this visa subclass.

Direct Entry stream

Duration: Permanent

Cost: $4,045 for the main applicant – a charge applies for each family member who applies for the visa with you

Processing time: approximately 20 months

Requirements:

  • You must be nominated by an Australian employer
  • Your occupation must be on the relevant list of eligible skilled occupations
  • You must have at least competent English

Labour agreement stream

If your current employer is party to a labor agreement, this stream may be for you.

Duration: Permanent

Cost: $4,045 for the main applicant – a charge applies for each family member who applies for the visa with you

Processing time: Unavailable due to low volume of applications

Requirements:

  • You must currently work, or will work, for your employer under a labour agreement
  • You must have suitable English language skills, experience, skills and other attributes for the position
  • You may be asked to get a skills assessment
  • You must be licensed, registered or a member of a professional body if it is mandatory in the state/territory you intend to work in
  • You must be nominated by an Australian employer whose business is actively and lawfully operating in Australia and party to a labour agreement
  • You must be aged under 45 years old when you apply (unless the labour agreement provides otherwise)
  • You must hold a 457 or TSS visa issued under a labour agreement
  • You must meet health and character requirements

Temporary Residence Transition stream

Duration: Permanent

Cost: $4,045 for the main applicant – a charge applies for each family member who applies for the visa with you

Processing time: approximately 13 months

Requirements:

  • You must hold a subclass 457, 482 (TSS) or an associated Bridging Visa A, B or C (granted after your 457/TSS visa expired)
  • You must have the required skills and qualifications needed to perform the tasks of the nominated occupation – a skills assessment may be a requirement to show that you have these skills
  •  You must be licensed, registered or a member of a professional body if it is mandatory in the state/territory you intend to work in
  • Your employer must have sponsored you to work full-time on your subclass 457 or 482 visa for at least 3 of the 4 years prior to nominating you for the subclass 186 visa
  • Be under 45 years old when you apply – some exemptions apply
  • You must meet health and character requirements

Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189)

Points tested stream

This visa lets invited workers with skills Australia needs live and work permanently anywhere in Australia. You can only apply for this visa if you are invited. In order to be invited, you must first submit an expression of interest (EOI) to notify the Department of Home Affairs that you wish to apply for the visa. After you have submitted the EOI, you will be ranked against other applicants.

This is a points-tested visa. Points are usually awarded for:

  • Age
  • English language ability
  • Skilled employment experience
  • Educational qualifications
  • Specialist education qualification
  • Australian study requirement
  • Professional year in Australia
  • Credentialed community language
  • Study in regional Australia
  • Partner skills

Duration: Permanent

Cost: $4,045 for the main applicant – a charge applies for each family member who applies for the visa with you

Processing time: Approximately 20 months

Requirements:

  • Be invited to apply after submitting an EOI
  • Have a suitable skills assessment
  • Be aged less than 45 years old when invited to apply
  • Be able to score 65 points or more
  • Have a competent level of English
  • Your occupation must be on the relevant list of eligible skilled occupations
  • Meet the health and character requirements

New Zealand stream

This visa lets eligible New Zealand citizens, who have demonstrated commitment and contribution to Australia, live and work in Australia permanently.

Duration: Permanent

Cost: $4,045 for the main applicant – a charge applies for each family member who applies for the visa with you

Processing time: Approximately 17 months

Requirements:

  • You must hold a New Zealand Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa
  • You must have resided in Australia for at least the last 5 years
  • You must have started living in Australia on or before 19 February 2016
  • Meet character and health requirements

Skilled Regional visa (subclass 887)

This permanent visa is for people who have lived and worked in specified areas of regional Australia on a previous, eligible visa. An eligible visa is a: subclass 489, 495, 496, 475 or 487 visa. You must have held one of these visas for a total of 2 years before you can apply for a subclass 887 visa.

This visa will allow you to stay in Australian permanently. You can: work and study in Australian, enroll in Australia’s public health care scheme, sponsor your relatives to come to Australia, travel to and from Australia for 5 years and, if eligible, apply for citizenship.

Duration: Permanent

Cost: $415 for the main applicant – charges apply to each family member who applies with you

Processing time: approximately 20 months

Requirements:

  • Have an eligible visa and be in Australia
  • Must have lived and worked for a total of at least 2 years as the holder of an eligible visa in a regional/low-population growth metropolitan area if a state or territory government nominated your visa OR a designated area of Australia if a family member sponsored your visa

Compliance with health and character requirements

Studying in Australia

Student visa (subclass 500)

This visa is a temporary visa that lets you visit Australia to participate in a course of study. This visa allows you to participate in an eligible course of study, travel in and out of Australia and work up to 40 hours every 2-week period once your course starts. You can also bring your family with you, provided they meet certain requirements and do not work in Australia. In addition, you can apply online or outside of Australia for this visa.

Duration: Up to 5 years and in line with your enrolment

Cost: from $620 AUD, unless exempt

Processing time: varies

Requirements:

  • You must meet age requirements
    • Cannot be younger than 6
    • Cannot be older than:
      • 17 years old when starting Year 9
      • 18 years old when starting Year 10
      • 19 years old when starting Year 11
      • 20 years old when starting Year 12
  • You must provide a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE)
  • You must make welfare arrangements if you are under 18 years of age
  • You must be English language and health insurance requirements
  • Have not held any of the following visas:
    • Subclass 426
    • Subclass 403 (Domestic Worker (Diplomatic or consular) stream)
    • Subclass 995 (As a primary Visa holder)
    • Subclass 771
    • Subclass 600 (Sponsored Family or Approved Destination Status Streams)
  • You must have enough money for your stay during your studies
  • You meet all the health and character requirements

Student Guardian visa (subclass 590)

This is a temporary visa that lets you visit to support a child who holds a student visa. This visa allows you to come to Australia to provide care and support for a student visa holder who is under 18 years of age or older due to exceptional circumstances.

Duration: determined by the student visa holder’s stay and their age

Cost: from $620 AUD

Processing time: approximately 2-3 months

Requirements:

  • You must not have held any of the following visas:
    • Subclass 426
    • Subclass 403 (Domestic Worker (Diplomatic or consular) stream)
    • Subclass 995 (As a primary Visa holder)
    • Subclass 771
    • Subclass 600 (Sponsored Family or Approved Destination Status Streams)
  • You must be either:
    • Parent or stepparent
    • Custodian
    • Grandparent or step-grandparent
    • Sibling or step-sibling
    • Aunt, uncle, step-aunt or step-uncle
    • Niece, nephew or step-niece or step-nephew
    • Partner
    • Child or stepchild
  • You must be able to provide for the student
  • You must have enough money for your stay
  • You must only bring family members over the age of six. If any member of your family unit has not turned six, you cannot be granted the visa unless:
    • There are compelling and compassionate reasons; or
    • Granting the visa would significantly benefit the relationship between the Australian Government and the government of another country, you are 21 and if the student visa holder has not turned 18, the nomination is supported by a parent or someone with custody of the student.
  • You must make adequate arrangements for the accommodation, support and welfare of any member of your family who:
    • Is not coming with you to Australia
    • Is under 18 years of age
    • Does not have a Student visa
  • You meet all the health and character requirements

Joining your partner or child

Partner visas

Prospective Marriage visa (subclass 300)

This visa is a temporary visa that lets you come to Australia to marry your prospective spouse and then apply for a Partner visa. This visa allows you to stay in Australia for 9 months from date of grant of visa, work in Australia and study in Australia at your own expense.

Duration: 9 months from date of grant of visa

Cost: from $7,715 AUD

Processing time: between 16-22 months

Requirements:

  • You must have approved sponsorship from your prospective spouse
  • You must be at least 18 years old when you apply for the visa
  • You must intend to marry your prospective spouse before the visa period ends

Partner [Overseas] (Provisional & Migrant) visas (309/100)

This visa allows the partner or spouse of an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen to live in Australia. You apply for the temporary (309) and the permanent (100) partner visas together.

Note: You apply for the temporary and the permanent partner visas together.

Duration: the provisional (temporary) visa will last until the Department decides the outcome of your permanent (subclass 100) visa or the application is withdrawn.

Cost: from $7,715AUD (combined)

Processing time: provisional – up to 20 months, permanent – up to 21 months

Requirements:

  • Provisional
    • You must be the spouse or de facto partner of an Australia citizen, permanent resident or eligible NZ citizen
    • You must have a sponsor when you lodge your application and when you are on this visa
    • You must be at least 18 years of age
  • Permanent
    • You must hold a Partner (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 309) or a Dependent Child (Subclass 445) Visa
    • You must continue to be the spouse or de facto partner of the same person who sponsored you for the temporary visa. This includes:
      • Be married or in a de facto relationship
      • Have a genuine and continuing relationship
      • Live together, or not live permanently separate and apart
      • Be mutually committed to a shared life excluding other partners.

Partner [Onshore] (Temporary & Permanent) visas (820/801)

This visa allows the partner or spouse of an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen to live in Australia. You apply for the temporary (820) and the permanent (801) partner visas together.

Note: You apply for the temporary and the permanent partner visas together.

Duration: the temporary visa will last until the Department decides the outcome of your permanent (subclass 801) visa or the application is withdrawn.

Cost: from  $7,715 AUD (combined) for most applicants or $1,285 AUD for Prospective Marriage visa (subclass 300) holders

Processing time: temporary – approx. 22-28 months, permanent – approx. 22-26 months

Requirements:

  • Temporary
    • You must be the spouse or de facto partner of an Australia citizen, permanent resident or eligible NZ citizen
    • You must have a sponsor when you lodge your application and when you are on this visa
    • You must be at least 18 years of age
    • You must meet all health and character requirements
  • Permanent
    • You must hold a Partner Visa (Subclass 820) or a Dependent Child (Subclass 445) Visa
    • You must continue to be the spouse or de facto partner of the same person who sponsored you for the temporary visa. This includes:
      • Be married or in a de facto relationship
      • Have a genuine and continuing relationship
      • Live together, or not live permanently separate and apart
      • Be mutually committed to a shared life excluding other partners

Parent visas

Aged Parent visa (subclass 804)

This visa is suitable for aged parents of settled Australians, permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens who wish to stay in Australia. It also allows for work and study in Australia, enrolment into Medicare, sponsorship options for family members to come to Australia, and a pathway to citizenship.

Note: This visa is subject to capping and queuing. As these are in high demand, it may even take many years for this visa to be granted.

More suitable options could include the Contributory Aged Parent Visa (subclass 864) – see below.

Duration: This visa has an indefinite duration in Australia.

Cost: from $6,415 AUD.

Processing time: There are no projected processing times for this particular visa. The visa is assessed in 2 stages:

  1. Eligibility is checked, and the application is either added to the queue or refused.
  2. Continue assessing the application when a place becomes available, and the DHA will make the decision.

Requirements:

  • You must have approved sponsorship – usually, it is an eligible child. If your child is under 18, you can be sponsored by an eligible relative or community organisation. This sponsorship must be approved.
  • You must be old enough to receive the age pension in Australia (that is, around 65-67 years)
  • You must meet the balance of family test:
    • At least half your children and step-children are eligible children
    • There are more eligible children living in Australia than in any other single country.
  • You must obtain an assurance of support where necessary – you will not have to rely on government assistance after you enter Australia.

This visa will not be suitable if:

  • You have proportionally less eligible children living in Australia.
  • You would not be eligible for the aged pension in Australia.
  • You would require government assistance in Australia (e.g Centrelink).

Contributory Aged Parent (Temporary) visa (subclass 884)

This is a temporary visa that lets an aged parent of a currently settled Australia citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen stay temporarily in Australia. With this visa you can live in Australia for up to 2 years, you can work a study and you eventually apply for a permanent visa (Contributory Parent visa (subclass 864)). You cannot receive cannot support while on this visa.

Can I stay longer than two years?

Unfortunately not – you can’t stay in Australian longer by extending or reapplying for this particular visa. If you wish to remain in Australia, you’ll need to apply for a different visa.

Can I bring my family with me?

Yes! You are able to include members of your family unit (i.e. a spouse or dependant) in your application for this visa. Family members must meet the relevant health and character requirements.

What is the cost?

The cost of this visa starts from $33,285 AUD. There will also be additional charges for each family member who applies with you.

How long does the application process take?

Unfortunately, the Department does not provide processing times for this visa. However, it is important to note that applications are subject to capping and queuing.  Your application might take longer to process if:

  • You do not fill it in correctly;
  • You do not include all the required documents or if further information is needed; or
  • If it takes the Department time to verify your information.

Family migration visas are in high demand. As such, it may take many years for this visa to be granted.

Contributory Aged Parent visa (subclass 864)

This is a permanent visa allowing the aged parent of settled Australian citizens, permanent residents or eligible NZ citizens stay in Australia. It also allows for work and study in Australia, enrolment in to Medicare, sponsorship options for family members to come to Australia, and a pathway to citizenship.

What is the cost?

The cost of this visa starts from $47,755 AUD. There will also be additional charges for each family member who applies with you. This can be paid in two instalments – the first is upon application, and the second is upon request. 

How long does the application process take?

Unfortunately, the Department does not provide processing times for this visa. However, it is important to note that applications are subject to capping and queuing.  Your application might take longer to process if:

  • You do not fill it in correctly;
  • You do not include all the required documents or if further information is needed; or
  • If it takes the Department time to verify your information.

Family migration visas are in high demand. As such, it may take many years for this visa to be granted.

Requirements

  • You must have approved sponsorship – usually, it is an eligible child. If your child is under 18, you can be sponsored by an eligible relative or community organisation. This sponsorship must be approved.
  • You must be old enough to receive the age pension in Australia (that is, around 65-67 years)
  • You must meet the balance of family test:
    • At least half your children and step-children are eligible children
    • There are more eligible children living in Australia than in any other single country.
  • You must obtain an assurance of support where necessary  – you will not have to rely on government assistance after you enter Australia.

This visa will not be suitable if:

  • You have proportionally less eligible children living in Australia.
  • You would not be eligible for aged pension in Australia.
  • You would require government assistance in Australia (e.g Centrelink).
  • You require a quick turnaround to be with your family.

Contributory Parent (Temporary) visa (subclass 173)

This is a temporary visa, which lets a parent of a settled Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident OR eligible New Zealand citizen stay (temporarily) in Australia for up to 2 years.

This visa will allow you to:

  • Live in Australia for up to 2 years
  • Work and study in Australia (but not receive government support)
  • Enrol to receive public health support (Medicare)
  • Apply for a permanent visa – Contributory Parent visa (subclass 143)

Requirements:

  • Have a sponsor
    • You must be sponsored for this visa. Usually, you will be sponsored by a child, who is over 18 years of age. They must be an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen.
  • Meet the balance-of-family test
    • This test measures an applicant’s family links to Australia. It ensures that only those applicants with close ties to Australia will be eligible for a parent visa. A parent meets the test if:
      1. At least half of their children and stepchildren are eligible children; or
      2. There are more eligible children than children living in any other single country
    • A child is eligible if they are:
      • An Australian citizen; or
      • An Australian permanent resident; or
      • An eligible New Zealand citizen
  • Meet the health requirement
  • Meet the character requirement

Can I bring my family with me?

Yes! You are able to include members of your family unit (i.e. a spouse or dependant) in your application for this visa. Family members must meet the relevant health and character requirements.

What is the cost?

Costs for this visa subclass start from $31,930 AUD. There is also an additional charge for each family member who applies with you. This can be paid in two installments – the first is upon application, and the second is upon request. 

Can I stay longer than two years?

Unfortunately not – you can’t stay in Australian longer by extending or reapplying for this particular visa. If you wish to remain in Australia, you’ll need to apply for a different visa.

Do I have to be offshore to lodge my application?

You can be onshore or offshore when you apply for this visa – but you must be offshore when a decision is made regarding your application. If you make an onshore application, any family members you include in your application must also be onshore when you apply. If you make an offshore application, any family members you include in your application must also be offshore when you apply.

How long does the application process take?

Unfortunately, the Department does not provide processing times for this visa. However, it is important to note that applications are subject to capping and queuing.  Your application might take longer to process if:

  • You do not fill it in correctly;
  • You do not include all the required documents or if further information is needed; or
  • If it takes the Department time to verify your information.

Family migration visas are in high demand. As such, it may take many years for this visa to be granted.

Contributory Parent visa (subclass 143)

This is a permanent visa that lets a parent of a settled Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident OR eligible New Zealand citizen stay (temporarily) live in Australia indefinitely.

If you hold a Contributory Parent (Temporary)(subclass 173) visa, you can then apply for a subclass 143 visa as part of a 2-step process. Apply in 2 stages allows you to spread the cost of the visas over a number of years.

This visa will allow you to:

  • Live in Australia
  • Work and study in Australia
  • Enrol to receive public health support (Medicare)
  • Sponsor your family members to come to Australia
  • Travel to and from Australia for up to 5 years
  • Apply for Australian citizenship

Requirements

  • Have a sponsor
    • You must be sponsored for this visa. Usually, you will be sponsored by a child, who is over 18 years of age. They must be an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen.
  • Meet the balance-of-family test
    • This test measures an applicant’s family links to Australia. It ensures that only those applicants with close ties to Australia will be eligible for a parent visa. A parent meets the test if:
      • At least half of their children and stepchildren are eligible children; or
      • There are more eligible children than children living in any other single country
  • A child is eligible if they are:
    • An Australian citizen; or
    • An Australian permanent resident; or
    • An eligible New Zealand citizen
  • Have assurance of support

An assurance of support assures the government that you will not have to rely on government assistance after you enter Australia on this visa.

  • Meet the health requirement
  • Meet the character requirement

Parent visa (subclass 103)

This is a permanent visa that lets a parent of a settled Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident OR eligible New Zealand citizen stay (temporarily) move to Australia.

Note: if you apply for this visa as a retiree you do not need to meet the balance of family test, have an assurance of support or have a sponsor.

This visa will allow you to:

  • Stay in Australia indefinitely
  • Work and study in Australia
  • Enrol to receive public health support (Medicare)
  • Sponsor your family members to come to Australia
  • Travel to and from Australia for up to 5 years
  • Apply for Australian citizenship

What is the cost?

Costs for this visa subclass start from $6,415 AUD. There is also an additional charge for each family member who applies with you. This can be paid in two installments – the first is upon application, and the second is upon request. 

Can I bring my family with me?

Yes! You are able to include members of your family unit (i.e. a spouse or dependant) in your application for this visa. Family members must meet the relevant health and character requirements.

Do I have to be offshore to lodge my application?

You can be onshore or offshore when you apply for this visa – but you must be offshore when a decision is made regarding your application. If you make an onshore application, any family members you include in your application must also be onshore when you apply. If you make an offshore application, any family members you include in your application must also be offshore when you apply.

How long does the application process take?

Unfortunately, the Department does not provide processing times for this visa. However, it is important to note that applications are subject to capping and queuing.  Your application might take longer to process if:

  • You do not fill it in correctly;
  • You do not include all the required documents or if further information is needed; or
  • If it takes the Department time to verify your information.

Family migration visa are in high demand. As such, it may take many years for this visa to be granted.

Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa (870)

This visa is a temporary visa that lets a parent of an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen visit Australia for up to 3 or 5 years. This visa allows you to visit Australia for up to 3 or 5 years per visa, apply for further visas to visit up to a maximum period in Australia of 10 years, but you are not allowed work in Australia.

Duration: Up to 3 or 5 years

Cost: Up to 3 years $5,000 AUD, Up to 5 years $10,000 AUD

Processing time: not yet available

Requirements:

  • You must be the biological, adoptive, step-parent or parent-in-law of the sponsor
  • You must be least 18 years of age
  • You must have an approved sponsor
  • You must have and maintain adequate arrangements for health insurance from an Australian Health Insurance provider
  • You must have enough money for your stay during your studies
  • You must meet all the health and character requirements

Obtaining protection as a refugee

Australia’s Refugee and Humanitarian Program help people in humanitarian need who are either:

I am offshore

Global Special Humanitarian (subclass 202) visa

This visa allows you to gain permanent residency (PR) in Australia if you face substantial discrimination or human rights abuses. You must also have a proposer. A proposer is an Australian citizen, permanent resident or organisation who advocates for you to come to Australia.

This visa will allow you to:

  • Stay in Australia permanently
  • Work and study in Australia
  • Enrol in Australia’s public healthcare scheme (Medicare)
  • Propose family members for permanent residence
  • Travel to and from Australia for up to 5 years
  • Apply for citizenship if eligible
  • Attend 510 hours of English language classes for free

Can I bring my family with me?

Yes! You are able to include members of your family unit (i.e. a spouse or dependant) in your application for this visa. Family members must meet the relevant health and character requirements.

Cost

There are no costs for this visa unless you are applying under the Community Support Program (CSP). If however, you, cannot pay for your travel, your proposer must do so on your behalf.

How long does the application process take?

Unfortunately, the Department does not provide processing times for this visa. However, it is important to note that applications are subject to capping and queuing.  Your application might take longer to process if:

  • You do not fill it in correctly;
  • You do not include all the required documents or if further information is needed; or
  • If it takes the Department time to verify your information.

The Department has advised that they receive many more applicants than the number of places available and this visa application is therefore likely to take several months and possibly years.

Requirements

  • You must be living outside of Australia at the time you apply
  • You must be experiencing substantial discrimination in your home country (enough to violate your human rights)
  • You must have a proposer
  • You must meet the Australian health requirement
  • You must meet the Australian character requirement
  • You must sign the Australian values statement

You must pay off any debt to the Australian Government (if applicable)

Refugee (subclasses 200, 201, 203 and 204) visa

These visas allow you to gain permanent residency (PR) in Australia if you are subject to persecution in your home country. You and your family may live, work and study indefinitely in Australia. The four subclasses under this grouping are:

  • Refugee (subclass 200)
  • In-country Special Humanitarian (subclass 201)
  • Emergency Rescue (subclass 203)
  • Woman at Risk (subclass 204)

This visa will allow you to

  • Stay in Australia permanently
  • Work and study in Australia
  • Enrol in Australia’s public healthcare scheme (Medicare)
  • Propose family members for permanent residence
  • Travel to and from Australia for up to 5 years
  • Apply for citizenship if eligible
  • Attend 510 hours of English language classes for free

Can I bring my family with me?

Yes! You are able to include members of your family unit (i.e. a spouse or dependant) in your application for this visa. Family members must meet the relevant health and character requirements.

Cost

There are no costs for this visa unless you are applying under the Community Support Program (CSP). If however, you cannot pay for your travel, your proposer must do so on your behalf.

How long does the application process take?

Unfortunately, the Department does not provide processing times for this visa. However, it is important to note that applications are subject to capping and queuing.  Your application might take longer to process if:

  • You do not fill it in correctly;
  • You do not include all the required documents or if further information is needed; or
  • If it takes the Department time to verify your information.

The Department has advised that they receive many more applicants than the number of places available and this visa application is therefore likely to take several months and possibly years.

I am onshore

Protection (subclass 866) visa

This is a permanent visa for persons who are already in Australia and want to apply for protection. You can stay permanently in Australia if you originally arrived on a valid visa, engage Australia’s protection obligations (under the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) and the Refugee Convention) and meet all other requirements.

Requirements

  • You must have arrived in Australia legally: you cannot make a valid application for this visa if you are an unauthorised maritime arrival (you arrived by boat)
  • You must be a refugee or engage Australia’s complementary protection criteria:

A refugee is defined in the Migration Act 1958 as a person who is outside their country of nationality or former habitual resident and is unable or unwilling to return to their home country owing to a well-founded fear of persecution.

A person has a well-founded fear of persecution if they face serious harm owing to either their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.

Complementary protection may apply to persons who do not meet the definition of a refugee but can’t return to their home country because they will suffer certain types of harm. A person can be granted complementary protection if there are substantial grounds for believing that there is a real risk they will suffer ‘significant harm’ if they are returned to their home country.

‘Significant harm’ is defined as arbitrary deprivation of life, the death penalty, torture, cruel or inhuman treatment or punishment or degrading treatment or punishment.

  • You must meet identity requirements: you will be required to provide evidence of your identity, nationality or citizenship
  • You must not be barred from lodging a permanent protection visa application:

A person cannot make a valid application if they:

  • Have been refused a protection visa since their last arrival to Australia
    • Have had a protection visa cancelled since their last visit to Australia
      • Are a national of two or more countries
      • Have already been granted protection in another safe third country
  • You must not hold a Temporary Protection visa (subclass 785), Temporary Safe Haven visa (subclass 449), Temporary (Humanitarian Concern) visa (subclass 786), or a Safe Haven Enterprise visa (subclass 790) visa

Temporary Protection (subclass 785) visa

This visa is for people who arrived in Australia without a valid visa, and want to apply for protection. It lets you stay in Australia temporarily if you engage Australia’s protection obligations under the Migration Act 1958.

This visa allows you to:

  • Live, work and study in Australia temporarily for 3 years
  • Access a number of government services including jobactive, Medicare and Centrelink
  • Access short-term counselling for torture and trauma
  • Attend up to 510 hours of free English classes
  • Travel overseas (other than to your home country) when written approval is obtained from the Department

Can I stay longer?

If you still require Australia’s protection you may apply for another Temporary Protection Visa or a Safe Haven Enterprise visa before you current visa expires.

Can I bring my family?

Yes but they must be in Australia with you at the time of application and must be part of the same family unit. Members of the same family unit include: spouse or de facto partner of the family head, dependent child or step-child of the family head, dependent child or step-child of the family head’s partner, other dependent relatives of the family head (e.g. parent, brother/sister, grandparent/grandchild, aunt/uncle, cousin, niece/nephew or step equivalent to any of the aforementioned). A relative will be considered to be a dependant of the family head if they do not themselves of a spouse/de facto partner, usually live with the family head and are wholly or substantially reliant on the family head for financial, psychological or physical support.

What are the costs involved?

The cost associated with this visa subclass is $35 AUD.

How long does the application process take?

There are no estimated processing time frames available for this visa subclass. The Department notes that application process associated with this visa subclass is particularly complex and, as such, can take time. Your application might take longer to process if:

  • You do not fill it in correctly;
  • You do not include all the required documents or if further information is needed; or
  • If it takes the Department time to verify your information

Safe Haven Enterprise (subclass 790) visa

This visa is for people who arrived in Australia without a valid visa, and want to apply for protection. It lets you stay in Australia temporarily if you engage Australia’s protection obligations under the Migration Act 1958.

This visa allows you to:

  • Live, work and study in Australia temporarily for 5 years
  • Access a number of government services including jobactive, Medicare and Centrelink
  • Access short-term counselling for torture and trauma
  • Attend up to 510 hours of free English classes
  • Travel overseas (other than to your home country) when written approval is obtained from the Department
  • Apply for certain other visas in Australia (including permanent visas such as skilled and family visas) if, for a total of 42 months, you are employed or attending full-time study in a regional area while on this visa

Can I stay longer?

If you still require Australia’s protection you may apply for another Safe Haven Enterprise visa or Temporary Protection Visa or before your current visa expires. You may also be able to pursue other visa pathways if you have met the Safe Haven Enterprise visa pathway.

Can I bring my family?

Yes but they must be in Australia with you at the time of application and must be part of the same family unit. Members of the same family unit include: spouse or de facto partner of the family head, dependent child or step-child of the family head, dependent child or step-child of the family head’s partner, other dependent relatives of the family head (e.g. parent, brother/sister, grandparent/grandchild, aunt/uncle, cousin, niece/nephew or step equivalent to any of the aforementioned). A relative will be considered to be a dependant of the family head if they do not themselves of a spouse/de facto partner, usually live with the family head and are wholly or substantially reliant on the family head for financial, psychological or physical support.

What are the costs involved?

The cost associated with this visa subclass is $35 AUD.

How long does the application process take?

There are no estimated processing time frames available for this visa subclass. The Department notes that application process associated with this visa subclass is particularly complex and, as such, can take time. Your application might take longer to process if:

  • You do not fill it in correctly;
  • You do not include all the required documents or if further information is needed; or
  • If it takes the Department time to verify your information.

Returning to Australia

Subclass 155 & 157 visa

Permanent visas will usually have a travel validity period attached. If you leave Australia after your travel validity expires, or it expires while you are overseas, you will not be allowed to return to Australia as a permanent visa. This visa allows you to return to Australia as a permanent resident. You do not need to apply for this visa as a permanent resident unless you intend to travel. There are no limits on the number of times you can apply for this visa.

How long does the visa last for?

The validity of this visa will depend on your circumstances. If you have lived in Australia for 2 out of the last 5 years as a permanent resident then you will likely be granted a 5 year travel validity. If you have not lived in Australia for 2 out of the last 5 years as a permanent resident then you will likely be granted a maximum of 12 months travel validity. If you are a member of a family unit of a person who holds this visa, then you can only be given a maximum of 12 months travel validity. If you do not meet the requirements of this visa but nonetheless have compelling and compassionate reasons for departure you may be given a 3 month travel validity.

What are the costs involved?

The cost associated with this visa subclass is $405 AUD for each applicant if applied for online or $485 AUD for each applicant if applied for on paper.

Can I bring my family?

You cannot include another family members in your application. If they are applying separately, you can have your applications processed together.

How long does the application process take?

Subclass 155

  • 75% of applications: 2 days
  • 90% of applications: 54 days

Subclass 157

  • 75% of applications: Unavailable due to low volume of applications.
  • 90% of applications: Unavailable due to low volume of applications.

STEP 2. Bridging visas

A bridging visa is a temporary visa that the Department might grant you in certain circumstances. Bridging visas let you stay in Australia lawfully while your immigration status is resolved. That is, usually while you are awaiting the outcome of your substantive visa application. The type of bridging visa you will be granted depends on your circumstances.

There is only one bridging visa type that will let you leave and re-enter Australia – Bridging visa B (BVB).

Bridging Visa A (BVA)

A BVA will usually be automatically granted when you make an application for a substantive visa while you are in Australia and currently hold another valid visa. The visa will allow you to lawfully stay in Australia once your current visa expires and while you are still awaiting the outcome of your application.

This visa allows you to:

  • Travel anywhere within Australia (but you are not entitled to depart and then return)
  • Reside in Australia (until a determination is made regarding your substantive visa application)
  • Retain work and study rights based upon the visa you previously held

Bridging Visa B (BVB)

A BVB will grant you the right to travel and subsequently return to Australia within the ‘travel period’. The visa may be granted where you currently hold a BVA or BVB and it is in effect or will be at the time of your intended travel.

Applications must be made to the Department in person and in writing. There is an associated fee of $140.00.

Bridging Visa C (BVC)

A BVC will be available to you when you voluntarily lodge an application for a substantive visa while you are unlawfully in Australia. That is, you do not hold a substantive visa and have become unlawful (you have no valid visa) while applying for a new one.

This visa does not allow you to return to Australia once you depart. You will not be eligible to apply for a BVB on this visa.

This visa may be granted with a condition that prohibits you from working. If this is the case, you may apply to have this condition removed by applying for a new BVC without the work prohibition attached. However, you will need to demonstrate that you have a compelling need to work – i.e. financial hardship that would follow from the prohibition.

Bridging Visa D (BVD)

A BVD will be available to you when you are about to become unlawful and you have attempted to lodge a substantive visa application but the application was invalid. The grant of this visa will give you up to five days to lodge another, valid, application. This visa does not have work entitlements and will not allow a holder to travel.

Bridging Visa E (BVE)

A BVE is usually granted to persons who have been detected as being unlawful in order to provide them with time to voluntarily depart Australia. They may also be granted in order to allow you to remain in Australia while you make an application for a substantive visa, wait for a decision by a court on an appeal, or wait for Ministerial Intervention to grant you a visa. BVEs are also granted to persons who have applied for a protection visa. There are usually very specific conditions attached to this visa, including reporting obligations and a prohibition on work and study. However, these conditions can be removed with an application for a new BVE accompanied by submissions explaining why work and study rights should be granted.

STEP 3. Citizenship

Once you have been in Australia for a sufficient amount of time as a permanent resident – that is, on a permanent visa – you may be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship.

In order to be eligible for citizenship by conferral you must:

  • Have commenced residence in Australia at least 4 years before lodgment;
  • Have resided in Australia for 3 out of the last 4 years;
  • Have resided in Australia for 9 out of the last 12 months;
  • Have resided in Australia for at least 1 year as a permanent resident in Australia;
  • Have not experienced any period of unlawfulness (i.e. not having a valid visa) during last 4 years’ residence in Australia;
  • Be able to demonstrate your identity should the Department of Home Affairs have any doubts; and
  • Meet the character test

The above article is a summary only and should not be treated as legal advice. You should seek personalised advice before acting on the above information and visa pricing.