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Complete guide to the extension process of the Australian Subclass 188 visa

Business innovation and investment visa 188, is a temporary visa that usually expires after 4 years. Within that visa there are several streams available and holders of specific streams may apply for an extension stream for their business visa 188.

Because Australia has updated the eligibility criteria for some of the streams of the business visa, there are a few specific requirements that previous visa holders must be aware of in order to be eligible for an extension of the 188 visas.

What Is a Business 188 Visa Extension?

A business visa 188 extension is a type of visa that allows you to extend your previous visa 188 (innovation stream or significant investor stream). This visa will allow you to prolong your business visa for a few years if you’re not ready to apply for permanent residency, but, you need to continue staying in Australia after your initial visa 188 has expired.

Business and Innovation Visa Extension Types

There are only two types of extension visas for a business visa 188:

  1. Business Innovation Extension Stream.
  2. Significant Investor Extension stream.

Who Is Eligible for a Business and Innovation Extension Visa?

For a business and innovation visa extension, you are eligible if:

  • You hold or have held previously a business and innovation visa 188, innovation stream.
  • You held the business and innovation stream for at least three years.
  • You didn’t have more than one business visa 188, innovation stream.
  • You are nominated by a State or Territory government body.
  • You hold a business visa 188 in the significant investor stream.
  • You hold or held a significant stream business visa 188 for at least 3 years.

What Documents Do I Need for a Business 188 Extension Visa?

For your extension visa 188 you need:

  • Your valid passport, national identity card, and any other identity documents.
  • Proof that you owned a business for at least 2 years before your immediate visa extension application.
  • Evidence that you were involved in the management of your business.
  • A one-page organisational chart detailing your staff members, responsibilities, duties, and your position in the organisation.
  • Six photographs of your premises.
  • Proof that you, your partner, or both own at least 10% of the shares within your business that is operated under a public traded company.
  • Proof that you have functional English language skills.
  • Form 80, for the assessment of your personal particular, should be attached to the rest of the documents proving your upstanding character.
  • Help forms, in case someone is helping you, can be found here or here.
  • You have to demonstrate that your business requires you to remain in Australia so you can successfully run your business.
  • Health requirements.
  • For your significant stream extension, you will also need (if you applied for your significant stream business visa 188 after 30 June 2015):
    • Current statements for each investment detailing the investor name, investment rate, and commencement date
    • Form 1413D, for every investment within a management fund signed by the manager of the fund
  • If you applied for your significant stream business visa 188 before 1 July 2015:
    • A statement of bond holding from the Australian government or an Australian State or Territory.
    • Holding statements for every investment fund.
    • Form 1413D.
  • For your dependents who apply with you:
    • Their passports and identity documents.
    • Marriage certificate, divorce certificates (if applicable).
    • If you are in a de facto relationship with someone then you must submit proof of that relationship (joint custody of a child, rental agreements, joint bank statements, ownership of an estate, and so on).
    • Adoption papers, if applicable.
    • If you are bringing children under 18 with you, you need a parental consent form or a statutory declaration.
    • In case you are taking children over 18, you must submit proof they are dependent on you including this form.

The Immigration Department holds the right to ask for any additional documentation.

How Do I Apply for a Business Extension Stream Visa 188?

You must submit an online application for your business visa 188 extension stream. However, online you can only submit the visa form and the payment, you must send physical copies of your documents to the same processing centre you sent your provisional visa 188. Don’t forget to include translated versions of your with your original documents.

How Long Is Business 188 Extension Visa Valid for?

A business visa extension 188 is valid for 2 years but, depending on the circumstances of your application, or if covid concessions apply your extension business visa may be valid for 4 years.

Business 188 Extension Visa Fees

The cost for an extension business visa 188 is AUD645. If you are bringing family members with you, additional fees are required:

  • For additional members under 18 years old: AUD 325.
  • For additional members over 18 years old: AUD 165.

Remember: you have to a second installment fee of AUD9,795 for you and AUD4,890 for your family members.

What Can I Do With a Business 188 Extension Visa?

With an extension business visa 188, you can continue to stay for two or four more years after your original business visa 188 is over, and you can continue with your business activities which include:

  • Open a new business in Australia.
  • Operate an already existing business.
  • Continue with your investment activities.
  • Travel freely in and out of the country.
  • Bring your family members to Australia.

How Many Times Can I Apply for a Business 188 Visa Extension?

You can apply only once for this extension stream. Afterward, you must apply for a new business 188 visas or you may be eligible for permanent residence. If you become a permanent resident, then you may qualify to become an Australian citizen.

Can I Get Permanent Residence With a Business Visa 188 Extension Stream?

Yes, you can apply for permanent residence via a business visa 188 extension stream. You are eligible for a business innovation and investment permanent visa 888. Remember, that you must apply for the same stream in the permanent visa application that you had with your previous provisional visa 188.

Business Visa Extension and Covid-19

When you apply for an extension stream for your business visa 188, you must provide evidence that during the covid-19 concession period you held or hold a:

  • Business innovation and investment visa 188 (innovation stream), before or on June 30 of 2019.
  • Business innovation and investment visa extension for innovation stream.

You are required to provide evidence that you were working for a cumulative period of two years while you held those visas:

  • Company certificate of incorporation.
  • Shareholder certificate within the company registrar.
  • Articles of association and memorandum.
  • Business registration certificate, license, or business names extract.
  • Company registrar, share transfer certificates, or franchise agreements.
  • Partnership agreements between all involved parties.

What Can I Do if My Application for a Business Visa Extension Stream Is Denied?

When the Immigration office makes a final decision on your application for an extension of your business visa, you will receive a letter with their decision and they will let you know if you can appeal against a denial decision (if your visa was denied).

If you are allowed to appeal against the immigration decision, then you must make a request for appeal at the administrative appeal tribunal (AAT). You can find more information about the appeal procedure here.

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