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Parent visa (subclass 103)

PARENT VISA (SUBCLASS 103)

If you have one or more children living in Australia, you might be eligible to apply for an Australia parent visa (subclass 103).

This visa is suitable for the parent or parents of a child/step-child who is a settled Australian citizen, settled permanent resident, or settled eligible New Zealand citizen. If granted, this visa will allow the parent or parents to permanently migrate to Australia to join their children.

Whether you qualify for this visa depends on a number of factors, such as:

  • residence status of your child(ren) in Australia
  • the amount of time the sponsoring child has lived in Australia
  • whether you meet the balance of family test
  • whether you meet certain health and character criteria

Parent visa requirements

Please note

  • There can be long waiting times of up to 30 years before this visa is approved.
  • If you are in Australia and your current temporary visa is about to expire, you will not be eligible for a bridging visa to stay in Australia. This is because you must be outside Australia when a decision is made on your application.

Parent visa benefits

A parent visa enables you, your partner and dependent family to reside in Australia on a permanent basis. Some additional entitlements are listed below:

  • work or study is permitted
  • access to healthcare through Medicare – subsidised by the government
  • the ability to sponsor family members for permanent residency in Australia (a waiting period applies)
  • social security (a waiting period applies)

For applicants of a Parent (subclass 103) visa, there are numerous criteria that must be met. This section outlines the general requirements for this visa.

Parent visa eligibility

To be eligible for a parent visa there are certain criteria that must be met:

THE APPLICANT
  • the applicant must have a child who is an Australian citizen, or
  • a permanent Australian resident, or
  • an eligible New Zealand citizen
THE SPONSOR

If your child is not an eligible sponsor, you may be sponsored by the following persons:

  • your child’s partner
  • guardian or family member of your child
  • guardian or family member of your child’s partner
  • a community organisation
HEALTH & CHARACTER REQUIREMENTS

A health check is required for all applicants and accompanying family members, this includes your partner and any dependent family members.

OUTSTANDING DEBTS TO THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT

Any debts that you have to the Australian Government will need to be repaid before this visa can be granted. If you are in financial difficulty you may need to arrange a repayment scheme.

VISA APPLICATION LIMITATIONS

If you are inside Australia, in certain cases you may be prohibited from applying for this visa, such as:

  • if there was a condition in your previous visa that you would not be granted a substantive visa while you are in Australia
  • you do not currently hold a substantive visa and have had a visa refusal or cancellation since you last arrived in Australia
  • you currently hold a sponsored visitor visa
  • you are held in immigration detention
Balance-of-family test

The balance-of-family test measures your ties to Australia. You meet this requirement if either:

  • at least half of your children live permanently in Australia
  • more of your children live permanently in Australia than in any other country.

You must meet this requirement to be granted this visa. It cannot be waived, even in compelling or exceptional circumstances.

The table below gives some examples of families with different numbers of children and whether they would pass the balance-of-family test.

TOTAL NUMBER OF CHILDREN NUMBER OF CHILDREN USUALLY LIVING IN AUSTRALIA NUMBER OF CHILDREN USUALLY LIVING IN COUNTRIES OTHER THAN AUSTRALIA MEETS BALANCE OF FAMILY TEST
Country A Country B Country C Country D
1 1 Yes
2 1 1  – Yes
3 1 2  – No
3 1 1 1  – No
4 2 2  – Yes
4 1 1 1 1  – No
4 1 2 1  – No
5 1 1 1 1 1 No
5 2 1 1 1 Yes
5 3 2  – Yes
6 2 2 2  – No

We do not assess the nature of your relationship with your children.

If you do not know where your children are, we consider that they are in the country in which they were last known to live.

To be counted as usually living in Australia, your children must be one of the following:

  • Australian citizens
  • Australian permanent residents who usually live in Australia
  • eligible New Zealand citizens who usually live in Australia.

If your children are in Australia on a temporary visa (such as a Student visa), they are counted as usually living outside Australia.

Your and your partner’s children, including stepchildren and adopted children, are counted in the balance-of-family test, unless they:

  • are deceased
  • are removed from their parents’ legal custody by adoption or court order
  • are registered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as refugees and live in a camp operated by the UNHCR
  • live in a country where they suffer persecution or human rights abuse and cannot be reunited with their parents in another country.

A stepchild is either:

  • your current partner’s child, or
  • younger than 18 years of age and the legal responsibility of you or your partner and:
    • the child of your former partner, or
    • the child of a former partner of your current partner.

Stepchildren born from polygamous or concurrent relationships are not recognised in Australia and so they cannot be counted in the balance-of-family test.

THE APPLICANT(S)

If this visa is granted, you will be expected to comply with the Australia standards of living and it is critical that you and any additional family member comply with all Australian laws.

THE SPONSOR

As the sponsor, you will be required to assist your family members and help them settle in Australia by providing the following:

  • moral support
  • adequate accommodation
  • financial support

For the first two years of residency it’s crucial that the sponsor complies with these obligations.

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