A carer visa is a permanent family visa you can apply for if you want to take care of a relative that requires medical, or physical assistance. There are two subclasses for a carer visa:
- Subclass 116 and
- Subclass 836
To get a carer visa you must have an eligible sponsor in Australia who genuinely needs your assistance.
Eligibility Criteria for a Carer Visa
You meet the eligibility requirements for a carer visa if:
- You are sponsored by a relative or your relative’s family member who requires care.
- You are capable of providing adequate care for your relative.
- You hold a substantive visa except for a transit visa 771 (required for a subclass 836).
- You had a valid visa and made an application for subclass 836 within a permissible timeframe (only for 836 visa applications).
Sponsor Eligibility for a Carer Visa
To qualify for a carer visa you must have a suitable sponsor who is either an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or New Zealand citizen. You must also be the sponsor’s near relative or a relative:
- A parent or step-parent.
- A grandparent (or step-equivalent).
- A grandchild (or step-equivalent).
- An aunt or uncle (or step-equivalent).
- A niece or nephew (or step-equivalent).
- A sibling or step-sibling.
- A child.
Your sponsor must be able to financially support you (and any other family members you apply with) and house you for at least the first two years you are in Australia. If you are being sponsored by your relative’s partner then your relative must be living with that partner.
Bupa Medical Exam for a Carer Visa
To get a carer visa you must provide evidence that your sponsor genuinely needs medical care and assistance. To do this, Bupa Medical services will conduct an exam on your relative and determine whether your sponsor:
- Is a long term patient, or
- Has difficulty in completing daily tasks due to a medical condition (bathing, cooking, cleaning, shopping, and so on), or
- Has a chronic disease.
To get this medical examination, your sponsor has to apply at Bupa’s official website so they can obtain a certificate from the medical service.
Checklist for a Carer Visa
You need the following documents to apply for a carer visa:
- Carer visa application form. When you apply for a carer visa, you have to fill in the visa form and add it to the rest of your documents.
- Visa photographs. You and any other family member who applies with you must submit four photographs following the Department’s guidelines.
- You must have a valid passport when you apply for a carer visa. Additionally, you may be asked to provide a copy of your ID card and other documents that prove your identity and name change (if applicable).
- Sponsor Documents. You may also be asked to provide documents proving your familial relationship with your sponsor, your sponsor identification, or their financial documents.
- Sponsorship Form. Your sponsor is required to fill in this form and give it to you so you can attach it to your visa application.
- Bupa medical certificate. Your sponsor must provide you with a medical certificate showing that they need you as a carer. In case the exam hasn’t been conducted yet, you have to submit proof that the assessment process has been arranged.
- Evidence you are of good character. Along with police certificates and other documents, you have to submit form 80 and form 1221 to prove that you are of good character.
- Documents for your partner. For your partner, make sure that you provide a copy of their passport and identity documents, character documents and marriage certificate or proof of registered relationship.
- Documents for dependents over 18. If you are applying with dependents over 18, provide documents showing they are dependent on you, and unable to earn an income due to mental and physical limitations. You also have to submit their identity documents and character documents.
- Documents for dependents under 18. For dependents under 18, provide their identity documents, proof of your relationship with them, and character documents (if applicable).
- Help forms. If someone helps you with your application, provide either form 956a or
Application Process for a Carer Visa
Follow these steps when applying for a carer visa:
- Prepare your documents.
- Apply for the visa.
- Wait during the first assessment period.
- Pay the second instalment fee.
Prepare Your Documents
Before you apply for a carer visa, you have to assemble all the required documents and prepare them for a paper application. This means that your certificates and photographs have to be certified by an eligible person.
Keep in mind that police certificates do not have to be certified or copies; you can submit the original versions, and you are encouraged to keep a copy of your application documents. You can find the full details of the certification process here.
Apply for the Visa
For a carer visa, you cannot submit online applications and you cannot apply in person- you have to send the application via courier or post. You have to send the application to the Child and Other Family Processing Centre in Perth- the full address of which you can find in your visa application form.
At this point in the application process, you have to submit the first instalment of the application fee to get your visa processed. Despite the fact you are applying on paper for this visa, you have to submit the payment via ImmiAccount- open a new account if you don’t have one, and search for the payment option to submit your fee.
Wait During the First Assessment Period
After you apply for the visa, the Department of Home Affairs will process your application. This process is stretched out into two assessment periods; after the first assessment has been completed your application will be put in a queue and you have to wait until there is a place available for you.
Pay the Second Instalment Fee
Once the waiting process is over, the Department will assess your application once more after which you have to pay the second instalment. Keep in mind that your visa is not considered complete until the full fee has been paid.
Carer Visa Cost
A carer visa costs AUD3,890. However, when you submit your application you only have to pay AUD 1,825, the rest of the fee needs to be paid when the Department assesses your application for the second time.
In some cases, you don’t have to pay the second instalment fee, this may happen if the Minister for Home Affairs has determined that paying the second instalment will cause you or your sponsor financial hardship.
Carer Visa Processing Time
A carer visa may take up to four and a half years to reach the final assessment stage. As of now, the Department of Home Affairs is reviewing carer visas with a queue date up to October 11, 2017.
Should I Apply for a Carer Visa 836 or a Visa 116?
It depends on your situation. If you are in Australia and you held a previous eligible visa, you have to apply for a carer visa subclass 836. If you are out of the country, you aren’t eligible to apply for subclass 836 and you must apply for subclass 116.
Can I Apply Online for a Carer Visa?
No, only paper applications are accepted for a carer visa. However, the visa payment must be submitted online.
How Long Can I Stay with a Carer Visa?
A carer visa, subclass 883 and 116, is a permanent resident visa. This means that you can stay in Australia indefinitely, work, and study there. However, you have to apply for a resident return visa after five years, so you can travel freely.