There are essentially two main types of Australian Parent Visas leading to permanent residency: Contributory and Non-Contributory. The main difference between these two types is the duration it takes to process and how much they cost.

There is also a type of visa which is easier to receive but does not lead to permanent residency: the Temporary Sponsored Family Visa (870).

Australia Parent Visa Types

The Australian visas for parents are grouped into the following categories:

  • Contributory Parent Visas
  • Non-Contributory Parent Visas
  • Sponsored Parent Visa

Contributory Parent Visas

Contributory Parent Visas allow you to join your child in Australia as a permanent resident and open the possibility to apply for citizenship a few years down the line. They are called “Contributory” Visas because of the large sum of money that is contributed upon application – approximately AUD 40,000 for the main applicant.

The appeal of the Contributory Parent Visas is that they are processed a lot quicker than their counterparts. You can expect to have the visa within about four to five years.

The Contributory Parent Visas are issued to non-pensioner parents of Australian residents, and are divided into:

  • Temporary Contributory Parent Visa (Subclass 173). This visa is valid for a maximum of two years, during which time you have to apply for the permanent visa. It allows you to work and study, but you cannot extend it – you must apply for the 143 to extend your stay.
  • Permanent Contributory Parent Visa (Subclass 143). This is a permanent visa type. You can either apply for this visa directly or you can apply for the 173 Visa first and then switch it into the 143.
  • The Contributory Aged Parent Visas are issued to pensioner parents of Australian residents. To be eligible for this visa type, you have to be of pension age as defined by Australian law. They are divided into:
    • Subclass 884 Visa. This is a temporary visa, which you can use to stay in Australia for two years and apply for the permanent visa.
    • Subclass 864. This is the permanent version of the Contributory Aged Parent Visa. You may apply for it directly or switch to the 864 from the 884.

When you submit the application for either of these visas, you must be in Australia, and you can remain there until the visa is processed using a bridging visa.

Temporary vs. Permanent Contributory Visas

The Temporary and Permanent Contributory Visas are two parts of the same package. You can apply for the Temporary Visa (which is valid for two years) and then you apply for the Permanent Visa during that two-year period.

The temporary visa type is usually slightly cheaper than the permanent one, but it is still very costly, upwards of AUD 30,000.

So why would someone pay so much for a two-year visa?

Well, that’s because once you pay for the Temporary Visa, when you submit the application for the Permanent Visa, you only pay the difference. So let’s say that the Temporary Visa is AUD 30,000 and the Permanent Visa is AUD 40,000, the payment process is:

  1. Apply for Temporary Visa.
  2. Pay the AUD 30,000 fee.
  3. Apply for Permanent Visa.
  4. Pay the remaining amount of AUD 10,000.

The allure of the two-step process is that you can pay the visa fee in smaller chunks throughout a longer timeframe.

NOTE: The visa costs in the example above are approximations, not the actual fees for the Contributory Parent Visas. Australian visa fees are subject to change on an annual basis as well as a case-by-case basis.

Non-Contributory Parent Visas

Non-Contributory Parent Visas include the 103 and 804 Visa types. While they both also lead to permanent residency (even citizenship after a few years) and the fee is much lower, they take a very long time to process – about 20 to 30 years!

  • The Subclass 103 Parent Visa leads to permanent residency. The requirements for this type of visa are similar to the contributory kind, but the fee is much lower and you will have to wait much longer to receive it (up to 30 years). Additionally, in most cases, you cannot be in Australia when your application is being processed.
  • The Aged Parent Visa (Subclass 804) is a non-contributory visa, which means it also takes up to 30 years to receive permanent residence in Australia. However, you have to travel to Australia to submit the visa application and you will receive a bridging visa to allow you to live there legally until it the visa processed.

Just as with its Contributory Visa counterpart, you also have to be of pension age to be eligible for the 804 Visa.

Why is the Subclass 870 Visa Different?

The Subclass 870 Sponsored Parent Visa is temporary, issued only to parents who wish to visit their children in Australia and do not intend to settle there. It is only issued for periods of three or five years and can be extended to a maximum of ten years.

Because it is simply a temporary visa, Subclass 870 Visa has more lenient requirements than other parent visas and is processed within just a few months. In contrast, other Australian parent visa types can take from four to thirty years to process.

But what makes it stand out the most, is that you can not switch the 870 Visa into a permanent visa type. In fact, if you have the 870 Visa, it will make you ineligible for any other long-term parent visa (contributory or non-contributory).

To apply for permanent residency once you have received an 870 Visa, you must wait for it to expire, leave the country, and then start an application.

Pension Age for the Aged Parent Visas

The pension age in Australia is gradually increasing, so depending on when you submit your application, you have to be:

  • 66 years of age, if you apply until 1 July 2021.
  • 66 years and 6 months, if you apply from 1 July 2021 – 1 July 2023.
  • 67 years, if you apply after 1 July 2023.

Requirements for a Parent Visa in Australia

To receive any of the Australian Parent Visa types, you must fulfill the following conditions:

  • You must have a child living in Australia. They can be your biological, adopted, or step-child.
  • Your child must be able to sponsor you and meet the income requirements.
  • You must have more children living in Australia than any other country (except for the 870 Visa).
  • Your child must offer you assurance of support (except for the 870 Visa).

What Is the Balance of Family Test?

The Balance of Family Test measures your ties to Australia. To pass the test, and become eligible for an Australian Parent Visa, at least half your children must be living in Australia. It is a requirement for all Australian Parent Visas, except the 870 Visa and it is not waived under any circumstances.

Are the Australian Parent Visas Capped?

Yes, Australian Parent Visas are subject to an annual cap and queue. This means that only a specified number of visas are issued per year, and once that number is reached, your application will be queued for the next migration year.

The number of visas issued per migration year changes annually. For the 2020-21 Migration year, only 4,500 places were announced.