Any family members of New Zealand citizens who want to join them in Australia can apply for a visa 461. To get a visa 461, you must have a New Zealand family member in Australia, but you must not be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident.

To qualify for a visa 461, your family member in Australia must also meet many requirements. Read on to find out more about what requirements must be met, and how to apply for a visa 461.

Eligibility Criteria for a 461 Visa

To get this visa, you meet the following criteria:

  • You are not a New Zealand citizen.
  • Your New Zealand family member is in Australia under a special category visa 444.
  • Your family member is not an eligible New Zealand citizen (see below).
  • You are a close family member of a New Zealand citizen:
    • You are their partner, or
    • You are their or their partner’s child or step-child.
  • You are their close relative who:
    • Is widowed, divorced, separated or single and have never been married or in a relationship.
    • Is a resident in your family member’s household.
    • Is dependent on your family member.

Eligible New Zealand Citizen

Your family member is considered an eligible New Zealand citizen if they are a protected special category visa holder and they:

  • Arrived in Australia on February 26, 2001, or
  • Arrived in Australia for 12 months two years before this date, or
  • They are a protected individual under the Social Security Act 1991.

Remember, for you to get a visa 461 your family member cannot be an eligible New Zealand citizen.

Requirements for a Visa Subclass 461

Provide these documents for a visa 461:

  • You need to have a valid passport at the time of your application for visa 461. Make sure you submit copies of your passport pages with all of your information and copies of your ID card and name change documents (if applicable).
  • 461 Visa application form. You have to fill in this form with accurate information and submit it with the visa application.
  • Two recent visa photos. You and any other person who is included in your application must provide two recent passport photographs. The photos must be clear, with a plain background, and with the individual’s name in the back of the picture.
  • Application fee receipt. You must provide proof that you have paid the application fee.
  • Proof of relationship. You must provide evidence that you are a close family member of a New Zealand citizen or their partner. You can include birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, adoption papers, an official family book or a family tree. You must also provide evidence that your family member holds a visa 444.
  • Evidence of good character. You must submit form 80, and form 1229 along with police certificates showing that you are not convicted, or under investigation for a crime.
  • Assistance documents. If you want a family member or a migration agent to help you, then fill in and submit either form 956 or form 956a.
  • Documents for dependents under 18. In case you are applying with children under 18, you have to provide their identification documents, proof of relationship with them, character documents (if applicable), a parental consent form 1229, and form 1257 if the child won’t be staying with family members.
  • Documents for dependents over 18. For family members over 18, submit copies of their identity documents, photos, and character documents.
  • Dependency documents. When you apply with children over 18, you must provide evidence that they are dependent on you either financially or socially. Provide form 47a and other documents proving your relationship and their dependency.
  • Documents for your partner. You must provide evidence of your relationship with your partner, such as a marriage certificate, official documents showing you were in a relationship for at least 12 months before applying, or any other documents that support your relationship.

Application Process for a 461 Visa

You have to apply for a 461 visa by following these instructions:

  1. Pay the application fee. The first thing you must do is pay the application fee for visa 461. You must pay online via ImmiAccount, so if you don’t have an active account, open one and just submit your payment for the selected visa.
  2. Assemble your documents. Once you pay for the visa, attach the fee receipt to the rest of the documents and prepare your documents. Any civil status documents such as birth certificates or marriage certificates must be certified- see details about certification. Don’t send original documents unless specifically asked for, and you should keep a copy of your application documents.
  3. Submit your application. After you assemble your documents, you can submit your visa application via post or courier at the specified address in the visa form. You cannot apply for this visa in person or online, you must send the application to the visa office. In case you are applying from outside the country, send the application to the nearest official visa office of the Australian government.

How Much Does a Visa 461 Cost?

You have to pay AUD 370 for a 461 visa application. This is only the base application fee, you have to pay additional fees for every family member who applies with you- see here.

You may also be required to pay extra charges for police certificates, for biometrics or for visa pictures.

461 Visa Processing Time

It takes between 37 up to 32 months to process a 461 visa application. The processing times may be delayed depending on whether you filled in the visa form correctly, whether you provided all the required documents, or if it takes time to verify the information you provided.

Who Can I Bring With Me on a 461 Visa?

You can bring your family members who belong to your close family unit. Usually, close family members for visa purposes include your partner, children, or stepchildren. However, for a visa 461, you should contact the Department of Home Affairs, before you apply, to verify whether you can bring your family members to Australia.

How Long Does a 461 Visa Last?

Visa 461 is temporary and only valid for 5 years from the date it’s issued.

461 Visa Renewal

Visa 461 can be renewed after five years are over. You can even renew visa 461 if you are no longer in relationship with your family member when you initially applied for the visa-provided that you are not in a new relationship or a part of a new family unit.

Eligible Cases for Renewal

There are a few specific cases that are considered for renewal of visa 461:

  • You are still a family member of the New Zealand citizen you named as your sponsor in Australia in your initial application and:
    • Your family member still holds a special category visa 444
    • Your family member is out of the country, but will travel to Australia with you and will be the recipient of a visa 444.
  • You are in Australia and:
    • You possess a visa 461 or it was the last Australian visa you held.
  • You are outside of Australia and:
    • You have been living in Australia for at least two years in the past 5 years under a 461 visa.
    • You have important ties with Australia (business, cultural, employment or personal) and you haven’t been away for more than 5 years- unless you have a compelling reason.
    • You had a visa 461 when you left Australia.

461 Visa to Permanent Residency

There is no direct connection between permanent residency and visa 461. If you want to stay in Australia permanently, you may want to explore skilled visa options or employer sponsored visas.

New Zealand Family Relationship Visa Office

Depending on how you send your application there are two main offices available for visa 461 applications:

  • For postal applications: New Zealand Family Relationship visa office, GPO Box 9984, SYDNEY NSW 2001.
  • For applications by courier: New Zealand Family Relationship visa office, 26 Lee St, SYDNEY NSW 2000.

Please keep in mind that, for offshore applications, you have to find the closest Australian representative office in your country (or region) for visa applications.

New Zealand Family Relationship Benefits

With a New Zealand family visa, you can stay in Australia for 5 years, work, study, and travel without limitation. Unfortunately, you don’t have access to Medicare with a 461 visa, and because of this, you are required to have valid health insurance during your stay in Australia.

Some countries have a reciprocal healthcare agreement with Australia, check here to see if your country belongs to the agreements.