Subclass 790 requirements, eligibility, application process and FAQs

Safe Haven Enterprise visa 790, is suitable for applicants seeking protection that entered Australia illegally and want to continue living in Australia with another visa.

What Is an Australia Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (Shev) 790?

A safe haven enterprise visa, also known as SHEV, is a temporary protection visa for refugees who entered Australia illegally and need protection from their home country/country of residence. In order to apply for this visa, you must be in Australia and you must have entered Australia without a valid visa (illegally).

Who Is Eligible for a Safe Haven Enterprise Visa 790?

The following criteria are essential in order to qualify for a safe haven enterprise visa:

  • You must have arrived illegally in Australia.
  • You do not possess or didn’t possess in the past one of these visas:
  • You are not banned from applying for a safe haven enterprise visa.
  • You did not have a protection visa canceled since you last arrived in Australia.
  • You were not refused a protection visa since you entered Australia.
  • You have only one citizenship.
  • You aren’t being protected by another third party.
  • You don’t have or had previously a humanitarian stay visa.
  • You aren’t a transitory person.
  • You signed a declaration that you plan on studying and working in Australia (regional zones).

Requirements for a Safe Haven Visa

For your safe haven enterprise visa you will need to provide these documents:

  • Safe Haven Enterprise Visa Form. In the visa form, there are several questions regarding your protection claims. It’s important that you answer these questions honestly and with as much detail as you can.
  • Identification Documents. You must provide a copy of your passport biodata page if you can. You may also be asked to provide copies of your driver’s license, identification cards, birth certificate, marriage license or divorce license, any similar documents that prove your identity.
  • Passport Photo and Biometrics Requirements. Sometimes the Immigration Office may ask you to visit their office to submit your passport photos and fingerprints.
  • Proof of relationship. If you are not married but you are in a de facto relationship with another person, you must present evidence of your relationship.
  • Proof of good moral character. You must fulfill the character requirements in order to get this visa.
  • Agree With Australia’s Values Statement. You have to read the Australian booklet about life in Australia and sign their values statement where you agree to uphold all laws and regulations.
  • Health Requirements. After you submit your visa application you will receive a health identifier-HAP ID with information on how to complete your health examinations. Typically, the health exams are completed by Bupa medical services for visas.
  • Previous Visas Copies.
  • If you apply with other family members you must include these records too:
    • Their passports (current or expired).
    • Birth certificates.
    • National ID.
    • Driver’s license.
    • Financial documents.
    • Any other supporting documents you think are relevant.
  • If you need help with your application:

How Do I Apply For a Safe Haven Enterprise Visa 790?

The application process for SHEV 790 is as follows:

  1. Apply online in ImmiAccount.
  2. Submit Payment.
  3. After You Apply.

Apply Online in ImmiAccount

It’s best to apply through the ImmiAccount so that your application is processed faster. In the online service, you can fill in the visa application form and attach the required documents. Your documents have to be in English or translated into English.

Submit Payment

After you fill in the visa form and attach your documents, you have to submit your visa application fee. Even if you apply on paper you must submit your fee via the ImmiAccount.

After You Apply

Once you submit your visa application, the Department will send you a letter of acknowledgment. You will be notified of their decision via a written letter. Your visa grant letter contains all the information you need to know in case your application was rejected.

Apply on Paper

You may fill in a paper form and send it by post at the address stated in your application form. The documents you attach to the application have to certified by an official.

You can find more information on how to prepare your documents for your online or paper application here.

Safe Haven Enterprise Visa Processing Times

There is no definite time for how long it may take to process your visa application. However, a safe haven protection visa is processed as soon as possible by the Immigration Office. Keep in mind that the processing time is prolonged if you don’t provide all the information on your initial application.

If you are one of the following your SHEV application could be processed under fast-tracking assessment:

  • Unauthorised maritime arrival.
  • You entered Australia:
    • On or after August 13, 2012.
    • Before January 1, 2014.
    • On or after April 2, 2019.
  • You were never in a regional processing country.

How Long Is a Safe Haven Visa 790 Valid for?

A safe haven visa 790 is valid for 5 years. This visa is only temporary and after 5 years your visa will expire. You can apply for a subsequent 790 visa or you may apply for another visa if you fulfill the SHEV pathway requirements (see below).

Can I Stay Longer With a Safe Haven Enterprise Visa?

You can stay longer by applying for a subsequent safe haven enterprise visa. You must apply for a subsequent visa before your current visa expires, after you submit a subsequent application, your current visa will be extended until you receive a new visa.

Safe Haven Enterprise Visa Pathway

Holders of a safe haven enterprise visa may apply for other visas (including permanent visas) if they meet the criteria for the SHEV pathway. Visa holders have to complete a specified number of work/study years in order to qualify for this pathway.

Requirements for Safe Haven Enterprise Visa Pathway

You meet the requirements for the SHEV pathway if for a total of 42 months you were:

  • Employed in a SHEV regional area and not receiving social benefits.
  • Enrolled and attending regularly university or school in a SHEV regional area.
  • A combination of both.

If you held more than one safe haven visa, then the amount of time you spent working/studying under the two visas will be counted towards the 42 month period.

Which Are the Safe Haven Enterprise Regional Areas in Australia?

All states in Australia are a part of the safe haven enterprise visa immigration programme and you can live anywhere in Australia with a safe haven protection visa.

However, in each state and territory, there are some areas included in the regional zone that holders of a SHEV visa can work and study for their visa pathway. These specific zones are marked by their postcodes.

According to the Australian Immigration Department, these are the regional areas for SHEV visa holders:

Australian Regional Areas Postcodes
New South Wales 2311–2312, 2328–2411, 2420–2490, 2536–2551, 2575–2594, 2618–2739, 2787–2898 (excluding Syndey Newcastle, the Central Coast, and Wollongong.

2320–2323, 2415 (including Dungog Shire, Maitland City, and Mid-Coast Council Region).

Northern Territory Includes all postcodes
Queensland 4019–4022, 4037, 4114, 4118, 4119, 4124–4125, 4127–4133, 4157–4161, 4163–4165, 4183–4184, 4205, 4211, 4270–4272, 4275, 4280, 4285, 4287, 4300–4301, 4303–4305, 4307–4499, 4500–4511, 4512, 4514, 4515, 4519, 4521–4899.


South Australia Includes all postcodes
Tasmania Includes all postcodes
Victoria 3211–3227, 3233–3234, 3236–3239, 3241–3243, 3249–3251, 3254, 3256, 3260, 3264–3287, 3289, 3293, 3301, 3303–3304, 3311,3314,3317–3319, 3321–3325,3328, 3334, 3340, 3342, 3345, 3350–3352, 3355–3357, 3360, 3361, 3363, 3373–3374, 3377, 3380–3381, 3384–3385, 3387–3388, 3390–3393, 3395–3396, 3400–3402, 3412–3414, 3418–3419, 3423–3424, 3460, 3463, 3465, 3467–3468, 3472, 3475, 3477–3478, 3480, 3485, 3487–3491, 3494, 3496, 3498, 3500–3501, 3505, 3507, 3509, 3512, 3516–3518, 3520, 3525, 3537, 3540, 3542, 3544, 3546, 3549–3551, 3555, 3557, 3559, 3561–3568, 3570–3571, 3572, 3573, 3575–3576, 3579–3581, 3583–3586, 3588–3591, 3594–3597, 3599, 3608, 3610, 3612, 3614, 3616, 3618, 3620, 3624, 3629–3631, 3633–3634, 3646, 3658, 3660, 3666, 3670–3673, 3677, 3683, 3685, 3687–3691, 3694–3695, 3711–3715, 3717–3719, 3726, 3747, 3749, 3778–3779, 3781, 3783, 3810, 3812–3816, 3818, 3820–3825, 3831–3833, 3835, 3840, 3842,3844, 3847, 3850–3852, 3854,3856–3860, 3862, 3864–3865, 3869–3871, 3873–3875 3878, 3880, 3882, 3885–3893, 3895–3896, 3898–3900, 3902–3904, 3909, 3922–3923, 3925, 3945, 3950–3951, 3953, 3962, 3966–3967, 3971, 3979, 3981, 3984, 3987–3992,3995–3996.

(Excluding Melbourne Metropolitan and some regional local government areas).

Western Australia 6041–6044, 6055–6056, 6069, 6076, 6083–6084 6111, 6121–6126, 6200–6799 (Excluding Perth and some areas of the Pilbara and Goldfields-Esperance regions).

You can live in another territory and work in an approved area for your pathway unless it’s specified by the department that your physical location must be in the same area.

How Do I Meet the Work Requirements for the SHEV Pathway?

You have to work a job that is lawful and paid. Your job doesn’t have to be continuous, you can work part-time, full time or seasonal work, as long as you don’t receive special benefits payments. Moreover, your work must be enough to financially support you so that you won’t need social benefits.

If you are self-employed, you meet the work requirements if:

  • You are the owner of a retail business that sells goods or services.
  • You are a self-employed person who provides a service.

Any work that you receive special benefits payments from won’t be counted as a part of your 42 month period unless the benefits are:

  • Family Tax Benefit A and B.
  • Dad and Partner Pay (work test requirements).
  • Health Care Card (Family Tax Benefit).
  • Child Care Benefit/Child Care Rebate
  • School Kids Bonus.
  • Single Income Family Supplement.
  • Double Orphan Pension.
  • Parental Leave Pay (work test requirements).
  • Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance.
  • Stillborn Baby Payment.
  • Low Income Health Care Card.
  • Child Dental Benefits Schedule.

How Do I Meet the Study Requirements for the SHEV Pathway?

You must attend physical classes at a campus or a provider accredited by the Australian Qualifications Framework, within a regional area for SHEV. One or more courses you take have to lead to Certificate I or II. Online classes are permissible (due to Covid) but, the entire study period cannot be online.

The study requirement can be fulfilled if you attend primary school, high school, or college in a SHEV approved area for 37 months. In this case, online study is allowed you are living in SHEV regional zone.

Which Other Visas Can I Apply if I Get the SHEV Pathway?

A safe haven enterprise will allow you to apply for these other visas if you meet the requirements for the SHEV pathway:

Safe Haven Enterprise Visa Pathway During Covid-19

Because of Covid-19, the Australian government has created a “concession period” for those that are trying to meet the requirements for safe haven visa pathway. The work period during this concession timeline will be added to the 42 months of work even if the visa holder:

  • Access special benefit payments.
  • Is unemployed.
  • Is working outside a SHEV approved zone in essential service.

Can I Include My Family Members With a 790 Visa?

Family members can be included if they are the family’s head:

  • Spouse.
  • Registered Partner.
  • Dependent child or step-child.
  • A partner’s dependent child or step-child.
  • Siblings.
  • Parents.
  • Grandparents.
  • Aunts/uncles.
  • Cousins.
  • Other family members.

A child over 18 is dependent if they cannot financially, socially, or physically support themselves and are wholly dependent on the family head. The family head doesn’t have to be the visa applicant.

New Addition to the Family

You have to fill in this form and send it with a birth certificate in cases where a child is born after you receive your SHEV visa 790. You can add the documents via your ImmiAccount or send them by post.

Can I Work With an Australia Safe Haven Protection Visa 790?

You can work with a visa 790 as you wish. However, if you want to meet the pathway criteria, then you have to work jobs in a specific area (see above).

Can I Study With an Australia Safe Haven Protection Visa?

You are allowed to study with a safe haven protection visa. Make sure you check whether your education provider is accredited if you want your study period to count towards the pathway stipulation.

Can I Travel With a Safe Haven Enterprise Visa 790?

You are not allowed to travel with a visa 790 unless you have very strong reasons and explicit permission from the Australian authorities. Moreover, you are not allowed to enter the country you are seeking protection from.

Can I Bring Other Family Members to Australia With a 790 Visa?

You can’t bring family members who are overseas to Australia with a 790 visa. However, after you meet the pathway requirements you can apply for another visa and then sponsor family members outside of Australia.

What Should I Do if My Safe Haven Visa Application Is Denied?

In case your visa application for safe haven enterprise is denied, you have the right to apply for an appeal of the decision. The department will let you know if you are eligible for a review request at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) or whether they’ve sent your application directly to the Immigration Assessment Authority (IAA).

However, if your application was processed under the fast-tracking assessment you aren’t eligible for an appeal to the AAT unless your application was rejected because you failed the character requirements.

Safe Haven Visa Cancellation

If you violate your travel restrictions, your visa will be canceled by the Immigration Department. Your visa will also be canceled if, in case your address changes, you don’t notify the Immigration Office.

If you want to withdraw your application, then your visa request must  include your full name, date of birth, and details of the application you are canceling. However, if you have a valid bridging visa when you withdraw your SHEV application, your bridging visa will expire after 35 days and you may not be eligible for another protection visa.

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