Visitor Visas for Parents

For many people, a permanent parent visa may be out of reach. The contributory parent visa, which currently takes about 2 years to be approved, costs approximately $45,000 per parent. The non-contributory option is much less expensive but current waiting time is 30 years or more.

A visitor visa may be a fast and inexpensive alternative to bring parents to spend time with family in Australia. Longer validity visitor visas are available for parents of Australian permanent residents and citizens.

This article explains the visitor visa options for parents.

Electronic Travel Authority/eVisitor

These are short-stay visitor visas which can be applied for online. They are relatively inexpensive and approval is quite fast - usually within 24 hours.

They are only available if you hold a passport from certain countries - generally Europe, North America or East Asia.

They would allow multiple entry, but a maximum of 3 months for each stay in general.

Longer Stay Visitor Visas for Parents

If you have Australian permanent resident or citizen children, you may be eligible for a longer stay visitor visa.

These longer stay periods are only possible when applying whilst you are outside Australia.

Parent Visa Applicants

If you have applied for a parent visa and are currently in the queue awaiting grant, you may be eligible for a longer stay visitor visa.

This could be valid for up to 5 years, and would be multiple entry allowing up to 12 months' stay for each visit.

Parents of Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident Children

If you are not in the parent queue, you can still be considered for a longer stay visitor visa. This would allow you to stay in Australia for up to 12 months on each visit. The duration of the visa will depend on whether you have had a history of travelling to Australia previous and returning within your visa period (compliant travel):
  • 3 Years: history of compliant travel
  • 18 Months: no history of compliant travel

De Facto Residence

Even if you have a long-stay visitor visa, you will need to show that you are spending at most 12 months in each 18 month period in Australia. For instance, if you have just spent 12 months in Australia, you would need to spend at least the next 6 months outside Australia. Otherwise, Immigration may consider you to be taking up "de facto residence" and you may be denied entry to Australia or have your visitor visa cancelled.

Advantages of Visitor Visas

The main advantages over a permanent parent visa are as follows:
  • Lower cost: generally fees for a visitor visa would be $135 versus $45,000 or more per parent for a permanent visa
  • Faster processing time: visitor visas are generally granted within several weeks. Even for the fast-track contributory parent visa, waiting time can be over 2 years

Disadvantages of Visitor Visas

Main disadvantages of a visitor visa versus a parent visa would be:
  • Shorter stay period: a permanent partner visa allows you to stay in Australia indefinitely. The maximum stay period a visitor visa can be granted for is 12 months
  • No work: on a permanent parent visa, you can work full time. Visitor visas have no work rights
  • No Access to Medicate: on a permanent parent visa, you have full access to the Australian health care system. On a visitor visa, you have no access and may need to obtain private health coverage.

Conclusion

Visitor visas can be a good alternative to parent visas, as they are relatively inexpensive and give a fast outcome.

If you obtain a long-stay visitor visa, it can allow your parents to spend a significant amount of time in Australia.

On the other hand, if your parents do wish to live in Australia long time, you can minimise cost and risk by applying for a parent visa sooner rather than later.

If you would like detailed advice on your options, please book a consultation with one of our advisors.

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