Who can be included in a visa application?
Spouses, de facto partners, and dependent children can be included in the same visa application. Children under the age of 23 are automatically deemed to be dependent children. Evidence will need to be provided to demonstrate why a child over the age of 23 is still a dependent.
What is a visa application charge?
This is the fee that must be paid to immigration at the time of submitting a visa application. Every person included in the visa application attracts a visa application charge. This fee must be paid as a lump sum. If it is not paid, then the visa application will not be processed.
How can the visa application charge be paid?
There are four ways to pay the visa application charge:
- Credit/Debit Card (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Diners Club, JCB only)
- BPay (must have an Australian bank account)
A surcharge may apply to the payment. The current surcharges* are:
- MasterCard (including Debit MasterCard) – 1.40%
- VISA (including VISA DebitCard) – 1.40%
- American Express (AMEX) – 1.40%
- Diners Club – 1.99%
- JCB – 1.40%
- PayPal – 1.01%
- UnionPay – 1.90%
*Please note that these surcharges are subject to change.
What is the secondary visa application charge?
The secondary visa application charge is an additional fee that must be paid to immigration as part of a visa application. The fee is not payable at the time of lodging a visa application. Rather, it is payable before a decision is made to either approve or reject the application.
Who needs to pay a secondary visa application charge?
Most visa applications require someone to pay a secondary visa application charge if they are over the age of 18 and cannot demonstrate that they have ‘Functional’ English language abilities.
How do you demonstrate ‘Functional’ English language abilities?
Those that hold a UK, USA, Canadian, New Zealand, or Republic of Ireland passport are automatically deemed to have Functional English.
The other ways to demonstrate Functional English include:
- Obtaining a degree, a higher degree, a diploma, or a trade certificate in an institution in or outside Australia that required at least two years of full-time study and all instructions were in English.
- 1 year of full-time study, or two years of part-time study, at an institution in Australia where all instruction was in English.
- Completing primary school and at least 3 years at a secondary school where all instructions were in English.
- Completing at least 5 years at a secondary school where all instructions were in English.
- In the last 12 months scoring an average band score of 4.5 for all 4 components of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic or General Training).
- In the last 12 months scoring a total band score of at least 32 based on the 4 test components of speaking, reading, writing, and listening for a Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT).
- In the last 12 months scoring a total band score of at least 30 based on the 4 test components of the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic).
- In the last 12 months scoring a total band score of at least 147 based on the 4 test components of a Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test.
What is the character requirement?
When applying for an Australian visa you must demonstrate that you are of good character. You also need to remain of good character to maintain your residency status. Examples of some of the circumstances that may lead to failing the character requirement include:
- you have a substantial criminal record
- you have been convicted of escaping from immigration detention, or convicted for an offence that you committed:
- while you were in immigration detention
- during an escape from immigration detention
- after an escape, but before you were taken into immigration detention again
- you are or have been a member of a group or organisation, or had or have an association with a person, group, or organisation that the Immigration Minister reasonably suspects of being involved in criminal conduct
- the Immigration Minister reasonably suspects that you have been involved in people smuggling, people trafficking, genocide, a war crime, a crime against humanity, a crime involving torture or slavery, or a crime that is of serious international concern, whether or not you have been convicted of such an offence
- your past and present criminal or general conduct shows that you are not of good character
- there is a risk that while you are in Australia you would:
- engage in criminal conduct
- harass, molest, intimidate, or stalk another person
- vilify a segment of the Australian community
- incite discord in the Australian community or in a part of it
- be a danger to the Australian community or a part of it
- you have been convicted, found guilty or had a charge proven for, one or more sexually based offences involving a child
- you are subject to an adverse security assessment by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation
- you are subject to an Interpol notice, from which it is reasonable to infer that you are a direct or indirect risk to the Australian community, or a segment of the Australian community
- you are or have been convicted of a domestic violence offence or have ever been subject to a domestic violence order
What documents are needed for the character requirement?
You will be asked to provide a police certificate/clearance for every country that you have lived in for a culminative period of at least 12 months in the last 10 years (since turning 16 years of age). Here is an example of how to determine what police certificates/clearances are needed when submitting am Australian visa application.
Bob is 45 years old and maintains a residence in the United States. 5 years ago, he spent 6 months living in London. 3 years ago, he spent another 6 months living in London.
This means that Bob needs to provide both a US and UK police certificate/clearance when applying for his Australian visa.
Australian visa applicants over the age of 16 also need to provide a completed Form 80 when submitting their visa application.
Other documentation that immigration may request to assess whether an Australian visa applicant meets the character requirement includes:
- A statutory declaration
- A military certificate
- A letter from an employer
What costs are involved with the character requirement?
There is generally a fee involved with obtaining a police certificate/clearance. The amount of this fee varies from country to country.
What is the health requirement?
The health requirement is used to ensure that an Australian visa applicant will not:
- Threaten public health;
- Result in significant healthcare and community service costs; or
- Place a demand on healthcare or community services that are in short supply.
Please note that family members not included in the same visa application may also need to meet the health requirement for the visa application to be approved.
What documents are needed for the health requirement?
To meet the health requirement, Australian visa applicants must undertake a health examination at an approved medical clinic. When attending a health examination, the following documents must be provided:
- A health examination referral letter. This will become available after the visa application has been submitted.
- A valid passport.
- Your prescription spectacles or contact lenses (if applicable)
- Any existing specialist or other medical reports for known medical conditions (if applicable)
- Any previous chest x-rays (if applicable)
What are the costs involved with the health requirement?
The following costs may apply:
- The examining physician or radiologists;
- Any special tests, investigations, or treatment needed;
- Any specialists fees; or
- Courier fees.
What are the translation requirements for documents that are not in English or bilingual?
Documents that are not in English or bilingual will need to be translated. If the visa applicant is in Australia whilst the visa application is being processed, then a translator accredited by the National Accreditation Authority of Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) must be used.
If the visa applicant is outside Australia whilst the visa application is being processed, the English translation must be completed by a qualified translator and must be endorsed by the translator with their full name, address, telephone number, and details of their qualifications and experience in the language being translated.
The Australian diplomatic mission in the country that issued the documents can be contacted for advice regarding acceptable translators and who can certify the original documents.
What are the taxation requirements for Australian residents?
Both temporary and permanent Australian residents need to lodge income tax returns for every financial year that they are an Australian resident. A financial year is between 1st of July and 30th of June. Tax returns must be lodged by 31st of October. Individuals can lodge their own income tax returns or engage a qualified professional to do it on their behalf. For more information about taxation requirements for Australian residents, contact an accountant or taxation agent.
What are the different types of health care available for Australian residents?
All Australian residents are eligible for public health care. Public health care in Australia is often referred to as ‘Medicare’. Medicare can subsidise some, or all of, the costs associated with doctor’s appointments, medication, and mental health care.
It is also possible to purchase private health insurance. There are numerous private health insurers that operate in Australia.
What are the different types of schools and tertiary education institutions for Australian residents?
Australia has both a public and private school system. Public schools generally do not charge tuition fees. However, a fee may apply if the student’s visa status is uncertain (i.e the student is on a bridging visa).
Private schools will charge a tuition fee. Each school can determine what their tuition fees are and when they are payable.
There are two main types of tertiary education institutions in Australia. These are universities and registered training organisations (RTO’s). These institutions charge tuition fees. However, if the student is an Australian citizen, then they may be eligible for the Australian governments fee HELP program.
This program allows the student to receive an interest fee loan to pay for their studies. The loan is repaid once the student begins earning at least $46,620AUD* per annum. The repayment is automatically deducted from the students pay. The higher the pay, the higher the amount of the repayment.
*Please note that this figure is subject to change.
When can an Australian permanent resident apply to become an Australian citizen?
An application to become an Australian citizen can be made when the applicant:
- Has been living in Australia on a valid visa for the past 4 years;
- Has been an Australian permanent resident for the past 12 months; and
- Has not been away from Australia for more than 12 months in total in the past 4 years, including no more than 90 days in total in the past 12 months
How can a permanent resident who does not have a valid Australian visa or Australian passport leave and re-enter Australia?
Permanent residents who do not hold a valid Australian visa or Australian passport must hold a valid Resident Return visa to be able to leave and re-enter the country.
Who can vote in Australia? Email ross
Only Australian citizens are eligible to vote.
What are the voting requirements in Australia?
If you are an Australian citizen and you have registered to vote, then it is compulsory to vote at every election. The Australian Electoral Commission is responsible for voter registrations. There are three types of elections in Australia. These are local, State/Territory, and federal elections. Registered voters who fail to vote at an election may be fined.
What is a Bridging visa?
A bridging visa is a temporary visa that allows a non-citizen/permanent resident to remain in Australia while a decision is being made in relation to their residency status. For example,
Cheryl has been living in Australia since 2019 as the holder of a student visa. Her student visa is set to expire on 30 June 2021. On 15 June 2021, Cheryl applied for a business visa. She was in Australia when this application was lodged. On 1 July 2021, Cheryl is provided with a Bridging A visa which will remain valid until her business visa application is processed.
There are four different types of Bridging visas. These are a Bridging A, Bridging B, Bridging C and Bridging E visa. Each visa is related to a specific purpose. For example, a Bridging E visa is for someone who has overstayed their previous visa and is in the process of making arrangements to leave Australia.
Can you travel outside Australia on a Bridging Visa?
Only a Bridging B visa can be used to depart and re-enter Australia. It is prudent to wait until the Bridging B visa is approved before departing Australia.
Please note that Bridging B visa holders may not be able to re-enter Australia due to border restrictions imposed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
What happens if my visa application is refused?
If the visa application was lodged whilst the applicants were in Australia, then there may be an avenue to appeal the decision via the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Those that do not have a right to appeal the decision will need to determine whether they should resubmit a new application or apply for a different visa.
What happens if I overstay my visa?
Temporary residents that overstay their visa period (i.e after the date that the visa expires) become what is known as ‘unlawful citizens’. This can prevent someone from being able to apply for another Australian visa for at least 3 years. It can also lead to being deported and/or detained in immigration detention.