If you want to invite a family member to visit you in Australia, you can act as their sponsor. Sponsoring family members to Australia means that you take responsibility for them during their visit, including covering their financial expenses.
To come to Australia, your family members would need to apply for a Family Sponsored Visa.
What Is a Family-Sponsored Visa?
The Family Sponsored Visa is a type of Visitor (Subclass 600) Visa. It allows the holder to visit Australia for a short period of time, during which they can engage in tourist activities, visit family members, and even take a short study or training course. It is similar to the tourist visa, but what makes it different is that the visitor has someone in Australia who can sort of “vouch” for them.
You can sponsor someone if you are a family member or relative. Just because you agree to sponsor them does not mean that they are guaranteed to receive the visa.
Who Needs a Family Visa?
If they can get the eVisitor or ETA, they can use that to come and visit you, without you having to sponsor them.
Who Can I Sponsor?
If you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident over the age of 18, you can sponsor the following members of your family:
- Your relatives, such as:
- Spouse or partner
- Nieces or nephews
- The “step” equivalent of any of the aforementioned categories.
- The family members of your relative, such as your brother or sister’s spouse.
Note: Members of the Australian parliament, representatives of the Commonwealth, or local government mayors may also sponsor someone to come to Australia.
Can I Sponsor My Parents to Visit Australia?
Yes, if you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident, you can sponsor your parents to come to visit you in Australia. If they are coming only for a short visit, your parents may apply for the Family-Sponsored Visitor Stream visa, which allows them to stay with you for only a few months. If your parents are aged and you want to bring them to Australia to support them, they can apply for the Aged Parent Visa (Subclass 804) or the Sponsored Parent Visa (Subclass 870). Both these visas allow the parents to live in Australia with you for years and can be extended.
Requirements for the Sponsored Family Stream
The documents required when applying for a Family-Sponsored Visa for Australia include:
- Copy of the biographical page of the applicant’s passport.
- A recent passport-size picture, following the Australian visa picture rules.
- Proof the applicant meets Australian character requirements.
- Sponsorship Form 1149 for Australian Visa. This is the application form the sponsor has to complete.
- Sponsored Family Stream Form 1418. This is the form that the family members who are visiting Australia have to complete before they apply for the Family-Sponsored Visa on paper. It is not required for online applications.
- Proof of travel health insurance.
- Proof the applicant is a genuine true entrant, such as:
- A letter from the applicant’s employer, stating the date they are expected to return to work. or
- A letter from the applicant’s school, stating the date they are expected to return.
- Letter of invitation from the sponsor.
How to Apply for a Family Sponsored Visa Stream?
You (the sponsor) and your family member (the visitor) must apply together for the Family-Sponsored Visa. Sponsors have to complete the Sponsorship Form 1149 and send it to the visitor, who attaches it to the other required documents for their Australian visa application. A brief, step-by-step guide is as follows:
- The sponsor fills in the Sponsorship Form 1149 for Australian Visa. You can download the form online, complete it, and forward it to the visitor.
- The visitor gathers the required documents for the sponsored family visa (see Requirements below).
- The visitor creates an ImmiAccount, attaches the electronic copies of the documents, and pays the visa fee.
- You wait to hear the decision.
Once the visa officers assess the application, they will send an email to the visitor, stating the details and conditions of the visa. All Australian visas are saved on an online database, so there is no need to get a visa label.
To check the conditions and duration of the Family Sponsored Visa, the visitor can log in to the Visa Entitlement Verification Online system (VEVO), using one of the following:
- Visa grant number (shown on the confirmation email).
How Much Does the Visa Cost?
A family visitor visa for Australia costs AUD 145. Australian visa fees can be paid online through a debit or credit card.
What If the Application Is Denied?
If a visa application is denied, the visa officers in charge of assessing the application will include the reason for denial into the notifying email. They also let the applicant know if they can make an appeal and how long they have to do so.
How Long Can My Family Stay in Australia With a Family Sponsored Visa?
When you sponsor a family member to Australia, they can only stay in Australia for the duration that the visa is granted, which is usually three months. In some cases, the Department of Home Affairs may issue a family-sponsored visa for six or twelve months maximum.
Australian family-sponsored visas are valid for a single entry.
Can the Australian Family-Sponsored Visa be Extended?
No, in most cases, family-sponsored visitor visas cannot be extended past their initial duration. This type of visa has a condition “8503 – No Further Stay”, which (as the name suggests) means that it is not possible to stay in the country past its expiry.
Can You Work With a Sponsored Family Stream Visa?
No, family-sponsored visas do not allow the holder to work in Australia. Volunteer work may be permitted provided that it is truly voluntary and the visa holder is not receiving any monetary gain.
What Can You Do With a Family-Sponsored Visitor Visa?
The holder of an Australian family-sponsored visitor visa is allowed to stay in the country only for the duration that the visa is granted. They can stay with their family members, visit Australia as a tourist, even take a short-term study course of up to three months (or whatever the duration of the visa is).
Are Sponsors Legally Responsible for Their Family Members?
Yes, as a sponsor, you are legally responsible for the family members you invite to Australia. By signing a sponsoring undertaking, you agree that you will cover all the financial costs of your family members during their stay, including paying back any costs incurred by them to the Commonwealth. You must also make sure that they comply with the visa conditions and Australian law.
If you do not wish to sponsor your family member, then they can apply for a regular tourist visa, and you can write them an invitation letter. You cannot withdraw your sponsorship after the visa is issued.
Do Sponsors Have to Lodge a Security Bond?
As a sponsor, you may have to pay a security bond before your family member can receive a visa. This bond serves as sort of a security that the visitor will depart Australia after their visa expires, and it can range from AUD 5,000 and AUD 15,000 per person. So, sponsors have to pay a bond for each person who is coming to visit.
A bond is not always necessary, however, and it is up to the appointed visa officer to decide on whether you need to pay a bond and how much.
Of course, once the visa holder leaves Australia, without having broken any of the visa conditions, the bond is returned in full.
What if I Want to Bring My Family Members to Australia Permanently?
If you are living in Australia and would like your family members to join you there permanently, then you must not apply for the Visitor Family visa; instead you must apply for the relevant family visa. For example, if you want to bring your spouse or partner to Australia, they will have to get the Partner Visa (Subclass 309) or Partner Visa (Subclass 100). If you want your dependent children to join you, they must apply for a Dependent Child Visa.