Temporary visas are limited official permits for visa holders in Australia. In cases where a person has to remain longer in Australia than what their visa originally allows, the Department of Foreign Affairs has strict rules that visa holders have to follow regarding visa extension in Australia.
Can I Extend an Australia Visa?
In order to extend an Australia visa, you have to apply for a new visa. However, not every visa will allow you to apply for a new one if you want to stay longer in Australia. You must check the visa conditions as they were set when your visa was issued.
How Do I Extend My Australia Visa?
Follow these steps for an Australia visa extension:
- Check visa conditions.
- Check if a waiver request is applicable.
- Apply for a visa condition waiver.
- Check the waiver decision.
- Apply for a new visa.
Check Visa Conditions
When you receive an Australia visa, there will be a number of conditions attached to your visa type. These conditions will dictate what you can and cannot do while you are the holder of that specific visa.
For example, holders of tourist visas (subclass 600), cannot work and can usually stay for about three months. In addition to this, there is a “no further stay condition” (8503) imposed on this type of visa.
The “no further stay” condition means that visa holders who are subjected to this criteria can’t apply for another visa while they are in Australia other than a protection visa. That’s why it’s important that you check your visa conditions before you leave for Australia. You can re-check the visa conditions in VEVO (Visa Entitlement Verification Online), in your visa grant letter, or here.
Keep in mind that not all visas will be limited by condition 8503.
Check if a Waiver Request Is Applicable
If your visa is subjected to condition 8503, you have to apply for a request to waive the condition that limits your continuous stay in Australia.
Condition 8503 can only be waived if:
- You can’t travel back home due to medical reasons.
- A close friend or family is seriously ill or has passed away.
- There is a natural disaster in your country.
- There is a political situation in your country (civil war or political unrest).
- Your approved study course is not provided by your chosen school (student visa).
The “no further stay” rule won’t be waived in these cases:
- A new relationship with an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
- Failing your course (study visa).
Also, not being aware that this condition is applicable to your visa is not enough grounds to waive the condition.
Apply For a Visa Condition Waiver
If you have strong reasons to ask for a waiver for your 8503 visa condition, then you have to submit a waiver request to the Department of Foreign Affairs. Apply for the waiver request by completing a waiver form online.
If you can’t complete an online form, then download the pdf version, print it, and fill it in. You can find the form here.
For both forms, you must attach these documents (in English or translated to English):
- A copy of your passport bio page.
- Evidence that you require a waiver (medical report, death certificate, university record, etc.)
You have to apply for the waiver request at least four weeks before your current visa expires. You can check your visa expiration date on the VEVO platform, and you should be able to see all the conditions attached to your visa. The date of the visa expiration will also be in the written decision of your visa granting.
Check the Waiver Decision
After you submit a request to waive the “no further stay” condition then you have to wait while the Department processes your request. If the waiver is granted, then you can apply for another visa. If the waiver request isn’t approved, then you can’t apply for another visa, and if your visa expires after your waiver request was denied, you cannot stay in Australia anymore.
In addition to this, you can’t ask for a review of the decision since the Department’s verdict is final. However, if your situation changes, i.e., new circumstances that require you to stay in Australia have come up, you may apply for another waiver request.
It’s important to remember that even if condition 8503 is waived it’s not guaranteed that you will be receiving another visa.
Apply for a New Visa
Once the “no further stay” condition has been waived then you can apply for a new visa so you can continue staying in Australia. An extension of the previous visa is not legally allowed in Australia, that is why you must apply from the beginning for a new visa.
You can apply for the same visa you had previously or another visa that suits you.
Australia Visa Extension Fee
Since you’re applying for a new visa then you have to pay the application fees. The payment will differ accordingly to the visa type.
What if My Visa Doesn’t Have a “No Further Stay Condition”?
If your visa is not limited by the “no further stay” rule, then you go ahead and apply for a new visa. You don’t have to request a condition waiver since the condition is non-existent for your visa type.
However, you have to apply for a new visa before your current visa expires. In this case, the Australian authorities will most likely grant you a bridging visa A (BVA) while your new visa application is being processed. It’s important to remember that while you wait with a BVA you can’t leave Australia. If you do leave, then your BVA is no longer valid and you won’t be allowed to re-enter.
If you want to travel back and forth, then you can apply for a bridging visa B (BVB) after you’ve received your BVA. A BVB lets you leave and re-enter Australia while your new visa application is being processed.
Can I Extend My Australia Visa if My Visa Is Already Expired?
You can’t extend your Australia visa if your current visa is no longer valid. When your visa expires you have to apply for a Bridging Visa E immediately. This visa will allow you to stay legally in Australia while you arrange your travel back home.
In the case of an expired visa, you are required to leave the country since you’re no longer legally allowed to remain in Australia. If you continue to stay without a valid visa, you may face serious consequences including arrest, deportation, punishment fees, and a ban from obtaining another visa for Australia.
Protection Visa Holders in Australia
Persons who already have a temporary protection visa (TPV) or safe haven enterprise visa (SHEV), have to apply for a visa extension before their current visa expires. If you don’t apply on time, then you will be considered an illegal person in Australia. Furthermore, you won’t be allowed to work, study, or have access to Medicare or Centrelink benefits.
In case of illegal maritime arrivals who did not apply for a protection visa before October 2017, they are not allowed to apply for a visa, a visa extension, or stay in Australia.
Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) Extension
Persons who are in Australia under ETA, still have to apply for a new authorisation if they want to continue staying in Australia.