Parent visas

Australian citizen, Australian permanent residents or Eligible New Zealand citizen (NZ citizens resident in Australia prior to the 26 February 2001), are able to sponsor their parent(s) for a permanent visa to join them in Australia – on the condition parent applicants can satisfy the ‘balance of family test’ .

chinese family wishing happy chinese new yearThe Department’s website is reporting extensive queues for these visas and potential applicants should be aware of these:

  • Non-Contributory Parent visa (CPV) – approximately 30 years
  • Carer visa – approximately 4.5 years
  • Remaining Relative and Aged Dependent Relative – approximately 56 years

If you are interested in investigating the Aged Parent and Aged Dependent relatives and other on-shore visa categories which will allow the issue of a bridging visa during this lengthy processing, then please use our Contact Us page.

News flash

The Amendment – discontinued

On 26 March 2018, the Minister for Social Service Dan Tehan introduced a legislative instrument to significantly increase the financial criteria for Assurance of Support (AOS) which would have seriously impacted Australian citizens and permanent residents who wished to sponsor their overseas parents to come to Australia under SC143/173 Contributory Parent visa program.

As a result of public outcry, the government has decided to shelve the amendment and the situation will revert to the pre-amendment position.

Aged Applicants

Contributory Parent visas include an ‘aged’ parent category which entitles a qualified applicant – 65 years for men  (born before 1952) and 61+ for women- depending upon the year of birth– to apply for the visa whilst in Australia. For those males born after 1952 the qualification age will increase incrementally in line with the entitlement to an Australian aged pension.

As an application lodged in Australia the visa applicant(s) will be granted a bridging visa upon lodgement BUT parents waiting on bridging visas are not entitled to Medicare unless they come from countries which have reciprocal health rights. Even then this is limited, so they are advised to obtain private health insurance.

Contributory parent require a mandatory Assurance of Support (AOS) and bond payable but the amounts vary.

Longer term visitor visas for parents

Parents who have applied for parent visas and also those who have not yet applied or even those who do not intend to apply, have the opportunity of applying for visitor visas up to 12 months in any 18 month period to visit their Australian citizen or settled permanent resident children. This acknowledges the appallingly long processing wait for the non-Contributory Parent visas.

This may give parent applicants the opportunity to visa for longer where  they do not pass the Balance of Family test, or cannot afford the very high 2nd visa application charge attaching to the Contributory Parent  visas (see below) or do not wish to live in the twilight zone in Australia on a bridging visa for the next 25 years!

Contributory Parent visa (CPV) category

Contributory Parent category visa applicants can choose to apply directly for a permanent visa or to go through a two-stage process. Under the two-stage process, applicants initially apply for a temporary Contributory Parent category visa. The temporary visa is only valid for a period of two years and cannot be extended or renewed. At any time during the two-year validity period of the visa, the temporary visa holder can apply for the corresponding permanent visa. Applicants must pay a first and second instalment of the VAC for both temporary and permanent visas.

The net costs of the two-stage process are broadly similar to the option of applying directly for a permanent Contributory Parent category visa except that the costs are staggered across two applications. The first and second VAC payable per applicant are based on the charges in place at the time that the respective application is made.

Note: All VACs are subject to annual adjustment.

For more differences between the two parent visas categories please see below-  courtesy of DIAC:

Differences between onshore and offshore Contributory Parent visas



The primary applicant must meet the aged requirement at time of application, Do not have to be “aged parent”
Must meet health and character requirements prior to queuing Do not have to meet health and character prior to queuing

If the applicant(s) is in Australia and they are not “aged” and there is no bar on their applying, they may still be able to make a valid visa application for an offshore Parent (subclass 103) visa or an offshore Contributory Parent category visa whilst they remain in Australia. The application must however be sent to the Parent Visa Centre (PVC). In these circumstances, the applicant(s) is not eligible for a Bridging visa and will need to obtain another type of visa to remain in Australia while their application is being processed.

The new Temporary Parent (& Grandparent) visa – UP-DATE

The Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs’ website contains the following:

“Wednesday, 28 November 2018

 The Government will introduce a new Temporary Sponsored Parent visa that will provide parents and grandparents a new pathway to reunite with their families.

The Senate today passed the Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016 which includes provisions to introduce the new visa that will allow parents to visit their families in Australia for a continuous period of up to five years.

Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman said the new visa demonstrates the Government’s commitment to migrant communities.

“This new visa will help families reunite and spend time together,” Mr Coleman said. “It will provide a new pathway for parents and grandparents to visit their families in Australia, which will deliver great social benefits to the Australian community.

“It is astounding that the Labor Party voted against this important legislation. Bill Shorten needs to explain to communities why he instructed his Senators to stand in the way of this reform.”

The new Temporary Sponsored Parent visa will assist families to reunite while ensuring that taxpayers are not required to cover additional costs.

Measures have been put in place to strengthen the visa framework requiring Australian sponsors to act as a financial guarantor for any outstanding public health costs incurred by the visa holder whilst in Australia.

“This new visa will ensure family reunions are possible for many migrant families across Australia, while protecting taxpayers with strict guidelines to ensure all public health debts including hospital and aged care fees are recovered by the Australian Government,” Mr Coleman said.
To be eligible for this visa: 
  • Parents must be sponsored by a biological, adoptive or step-child who is an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen. The sponsoring child must be 18 years old or older, must have lived in Australia for at least 4 years, must meet a household income requirement, must meet character requirements, and must accept legal liability for any debt owing for care in the public health system that the parent may incur during their stay in Australia;
  • Temporary residents of Australia (holders of student visas, temporary skilled work visas, etc.) will not be able to sponsor their parents.
  • The visa application process will involve two stages, with sponsors and parent applicants being assessed separately, and with approval of the child-sponsor required before a visa application can be made by the sponsor’s parents.
  • Parents will be eligible for this new visa if their child is approved as a sponsor; they meet identity, health and character requirements, and do not owe outstanding debts for public health services they have received in Australia.
  • However, applicants will be required to obtain and maintain health insurance for the entire period of their stay in Australia.
  • There will be a limit that only 1 set of parents will be able to be sponsored at any given time.
  • Step-parents will be eligible only if they continue to be in a married or de factor relationship with a biological parent of the sponsoring child.
  • The “Balance of Family Test”, which has previously applied to other kinds of parent visas, will not be a criterion of the new temporary parent visa.
  • There will be no English language requirement for the grant of the visa.
  • The visas will be valid for a period of either 3 or 5 years, with the Visa Application Charge for the 3 year visa being $5,000 and the charge for the 5 year visa being $10,000.
  • It will be possible to “renew” this visa. However, the maximum period of stay that will be allowed under this program will be a total of 10 years.
  • Holders of the visa will not be able to engage in paid work. They will be allowed to assist with childcare and to undertake unpaid volunteer activities. They will also be allowed to undertake informal, short-term study.