Protection visa 866 belongs to the Immigration program for refugees and persecuted persons. However, Australia issues this type of visa only to individuals who meet the requirements for refugee immigration.

What Is a Protection Visa Subclass 866?

A protection visa 866 is a permanent kind of visa Australia issues to individuals who may be at risk in their home countries. In order to be eligible for this protection visa, applicants must already be in Australia legally (under another visa) at the time of application. If you have an 866 visa, you may be eligible to become an Australian citizen.

Who Is Eligible For a Protection Visa 866?

You can apply for this visa if you are either a:

  • A refugee.
  • Someone who meets the complementary protection criteria.

What Are the Requirements for a Protection Visa 866?

These are the requirements for Australian protection visa 866:

  • Protection Visa Application Form. If you apply online for the visa, you can find the form in your ImmiAccount but, you will need a paper form 866 for a paper application. Make sure you answer all questions about your claims of protection in your form with as much detail as you can since that will help the Department determine whether you need Australia’s protection.
  • Identification Documents. You need to provide the pages of your current passport and personal details. You may also be required to submit:
    • A birth certificate.
    • National identification.
    • A driver’s license.
    • Certificate of having changed your name (if applicable).
    • Relationship documents.
  • Fingerprints and a Recent Passport Photograph.
  • Evidence of Relationship. You should provide any type of document proving that you are in a relationship with your partner.
  • Proof of Good Moral Character.
  • Health Requirements. You have to present health examinations when you apply for this visa. The health exams are conducted by Bupa medical services, and you will receive a health identifier HAP-ID from the Department of Foreign Affairs after you’ve submitted your application.
  • Sign Australia’s Values Statement.
  • Certified Copies of Your Previous Visas.
  • Any family member who applies with you for a protection visa must include the following:
  • Copy of their passport biographical information.
  • Birth certificate.
  • Identification cards.
  • Driver’s license.
  • Evidence of having changed their name.
  • Family certificates.
  • Financial documents.
  • Proof of relationship documents.
  • Any other supporting documents.
  • Form 956a. If you are authorising someone to receive notices from the Immigration Department on your behalf.
  • Form 956. In case you need help with your application from a migration agent.

Eligibility Requirements

You must also meet the following for a protection visa:

  • You are a refugee or an individual who meets the conditions for complementary protection.
  • You do not hold any of the following:
  • You are not banned from applying for a protection visa 866. You cannot lodge a protection visa application if:
    • You were refused a protection visa since you last arrived in Australia.
    • You had a protection visa canceled.
    • You have dual citizenship or more.
    • You have the protection of another safe third country.

Australia Protection Visa 866 Application Process

You can apply for an Australia protection visa in two different ways:

  1. Via the online visa service.
  2. Via a paper application form. 

Apply Via the Online Visa Service

For an online application, you have to open an ImmiAccount where you can submit the required documents and fill in the visa application form. You can follow the instructions from the online service as you go along.

After you submit your documents and the visa form, you have to pay the visa fee in order to have your application processed. If someone is helping you with your application, you have the option to upload a written statement via your ImmiAccount detailing who is helping you and why.

Apply Via a Paper Application Form

In this case, you have to fill in the application form and attach it to the rest of your supporting documents. You have to send the application by post to the address specified in your application form.

In-person submissions are not allowed, and if you send your application to another address, it won’t be accepted. Regarding your visa fee, you still have to submit your payment through an ImmiAccount.

Preparing Your Documents

No matter how you apply, your documents have to be ready according to the Department’s guidelines. If your documents aren’t in English, you must have them translated by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters.

For your paper application, most of your records may be required to be certified. See how to certify your documents. You are advised to keep a copy of your application documents.

After You Apply for a Protection Visa

Once your application has been approved, you will be notified in writing regarding the visa decision. Afterward, you can apply for an Immicard so you can use it as a travel document. In case your visa is refused, you will be sent a letter stating the details of your refusal and how to apply for a review of the decision.

Sometimes the Immigration Department will ask you to attend a visa interview. During the interview, they will ask you questions about your situation and why you are applying for a visa, about the information you provided in your application. It’s important that the details you provide in your application match the answers you give in your interview.

How Much Does a Protection Visa 866 Cost?

The application fee for a protection visa is AUD40. You aren’t required to pay an additional fee for a subsequent application or any additional fees for additional applicants with you. Similarly, you don’t have to pay the non-internet charge for your paper application.

Protection Visa 866 Processing Time

There is no definite processing time for a protection visa application. However, the Australian Immigration Department tries to process your application as soon as possible.

How Long Is a Protection Visa 866 Valid For?

A protection visa 866 is a permanent visa and is valid indefinitely. However, an 866 visa, just like any other Australian permanent visa, has a travel expiry after 5 years.

Can I Include My Family Members With Me on a Protection Visa?

You can include family members if they are the family’s head:

  • Spouse.
  • A de facto partner.
  • A dependent child or step-child.
  • A dependent child or step-child of the spouse/partner.
  • Other family members that include:
    • A parent.
    • A sister or brother.
    • A grandparent or grandchild.
    • Aunt or uncle.
    • Cousin.
    • Niece/Nephew.
    • Or a step equivalent to those above.

The family head doesn’t necessarily have to be the visa applicant- it can be any other person in the family unit. When it comes to including dependent children, only minors under 18 are considered dependents. Any child over 18 has to apply for their own visa unless they are:

  • Unable to work due to physical or mental incapacitation.
  • Completely reliant on their parent for financial, social, and physical support.

If the child is married, in a relationship, or engaged, they are not considered dependent.

Other family members are dependent on the family head if they are:

  • Unmarried and not in a relationship.
  • Living with the family head.
  • Dependent on the family head for financial, social, and physical needs.

New Addition to the Family

If a child is born after you’ve applied for this visa and your application hasn’t been approved yet, you must let the Immigration Department know as soon as you can by:

  • Submitting a completed Form 1022.
  • Providing a copy of the child’s birth certificate.

You can either attach the documents to your ImmiAccount or send them by post, depending on your original application method.

Can I Travel With a Protection Visa 866?

Holders of a protection visa 866 have a travel facility attached to their visa that allows them to travel nationally for 5 years from the date of the visa grant. A travel expiry means that after 5 years you won’t be able to travel freely unless you apply for a resident return visa.

When you want to travel for the first time after your visa has been granted you have to visit an Australian Passport Office or the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to get a travel document.

It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t use the travel document issued to you by your home country for travel purposes otherwise, the Australian government may judge that you don’t need protection anymore and rescind your visa.

Protection Visa 866 Travel Restrictions

If you hold a protection visa 866, you cannot travel to the country you are seeking protection from. In case you have a very compelling reason, you must get the permission of the Australian government in order to travel there.

This condition applies to all the family members from your application, and if you visit your home country without approval your visa and your family member’s visa may be canceled. You can use your Immicard to travel instead of your passport.

Can I Work With a Protection Visa 866?

You can work with a protection visa as necessary. Since this is a permanent visa you aren’t restricted in your work hours as long as you will be doing legal work according to Australia’s working rights.

Can I Study With an Australian Protection Visa 866?

You are free to study with a protection visa in Australia. Additionally, you can attend 510 hours of English Language Classes for free if you meet some requirements.

Can I Bring Family Members to Australia With a Protection Visa 866?

You can sponsor family members, who are overseas, to come to Australia via the Offshore Immigration Program. Your family members may be eligible for a permanent residence visa.

What if My Application for an Australia Protection Visa Is Denied?

In case your visa application is denied, you have the right to ask for a waiver of the rejection notice. You can find all the information regarding your denial notice in the written answer the Department sends you.

Permanent Protection Visa 866 Cancellation

The Immigration Department can cancel your visa only if you violate the travel condition imposed on your visa.