A family and relative visa is a type of permit that allows Australian citizens, permanent residents, or New Zealand eligible citizens to bring their family members to Australia. Usually, with a family and relative visa, you can bring your children, siblings or a close family member who meets the eligibility requirements.

If you want to bring your parents or partner, you might want to explore a partner visa or a parent visa.

Australia Family and Relative Visa Types

Within the family migration program, there are several visas you can choose from depending on which visa you meet the qualifying criteria for:

  • Australia Adoption Visa- subclass 102. An adoption visa is suitable for you if you want to adopt a child under 18 and bring them to Australia. For this visa, you must be in Australia at the time of adoption and you have to apply on behalf of the child you want to adopt.
  • Australia Aged Dependent Relative Visa- subclass 114, 838. This visa is for aged relatives of Australian citizens, permanent residents, or New Zealand eligible citizens. To get this visa, you must be of pension age and you must be dependent on your relative. Unfortunately, the waiting period for this visa may take up to 50 years.
  • Australia Carer Visa- subclass 836, 116. You can apply for a carer visa if you have a relative in Australia that requires your support or to provide medical assistance for them. For this visa, your sponsor must provide you with a medical certificate proving that they have a genuine medical condition that requires you to care for them.
  • Australia Child Visa- subclass 101, 802. This visa is for children who have a parent or legal guardian in Australia and want to join them. In some cases, you may apply on behalf of your child, but if you have more than one child everyone must have a separate application.
  • Australia Dependent Child Visa- subclass 445. A visa 445 allows the children of partner visa applicants to join them in Australia. This visa will be valid only until a final decision is made on the partner visa.
  • Australia Family Visa for New Zealand Citizens- subclass 461. You can apply for this visa if you are not a New Zealand or Australian citizen, but you have a New Zealand family member in Australia under a special visa 444. You can get this visa only if you are their partner or child.
  • Australia Orphan Relative Visa- subclass 117, 837. This visa is issued to children whose parents passed away, are unable to care for them, or are missing. An orphan visa allows the children to join their family members who are in Australia and will provide care for the child.
  • Australia Remaining Relative Visas- subclass  115, 835. This visa is usually only for siblings and step-siblings. However, if you have an eligible parent or step-parent in Australia they can sponsor you for the visa as well.

How Much Does a Family and Relative Visa Cost?

The cost of a family and relative visa changes depending on which visa you apply for. You may have to pay between AUD370 up to AUD6,490. However, for most family visas you are required to pay the visa fee in two instalments which means you don’t have to pay the full price when you initially apply for the visa.

Keep in mind that for every visa you have to pay additional fees if you are bringing your family members to Australia. You can find the detailed fees here.

What Is an Offshore and Onshore Family and Relative Visa?

The term offshore and onshore describes whether that particular visa is issued to applicants who are out of Australia or in Australia; onshore is for applicants within the country. Most family and relative visas are issued in two subclasses depending on your location, but you cannot apply for an onshore subclass if you are out of the country and vice versa.

Moreover, to be eligible for an onshore family and relative visa, you must be staying in Australia under a valid visa.

Do I Need a Sponsor for a Family and Relative Visa?

Yes, to qualify for a family visa, you must have a family member in Australia with who you want to live. This family member is considered your sponsor, and both you and your sponsor must meet several eligibility criteria to get the family visa you applied for.

Can My Step-siblings Sponsor Me for a Family Visa?

Yes, for the majority of family and relative visas your step-siblings can sponsor you to apply for the visa. However, some visas are only for partners and children and your siblings cannot sponsor you, for example, for an NZ relationship visa 461 you cannot be sponsored by your brother or sister.

Can I Bring My Children to Australia With a Family Visa?

Yes, if you want to bring your children to Australia they can apply (or you can apply on their behalf, if applicable) for a family visa that suits them. For example, your children can come to Australia under a:

  • Child visa, or a
  • Child dependant visa, or a,
  • An adoption visa.

Your children can also come to Australia under a carer visa if they are eligible to care for you and provide support if you need it.

Is a Family and Relative Visa Permanent?

Not every family and relative visa is permanent. For example, a child dependant visa is issued temporarily until the partner visa finishes processing and visa 461 is valid only for 5 years.

The validity of your family and relative visa depends on which visa you applied for and what is your sponsor’s situation in Australia.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Family and Relative Visa in Australia?

Family and relative visas are processed within several years. Currently, remaining relative visas and aged dependant visas may take up to 50 years to finish processing, while carer visas may be processed in four years. Other family and relative visas will take less to process.

The processing times for family visas take this long due to high demand and a limited number of visas issued each year. Once the yearly cap is filled, the remaining applications are processed in the following year, and as a result, the waiting time will be prolonged as long as new applications are made each year.