With the removal in June 2014 of the non-contributory parent visa, now the only parent visas available are the contributory parent visas.

While these can be expensive, when one takes into account the ability to access health care benefits vs private health insurance, the cost is similar to previous non contributory strategies.

There are two types of parent visa depending on whether the applicant is onshore or offshore:


Contributory Parent VisaContributory Parent Visa
 (173) (143)


Contributory Aged Parent VisaContributory Aged Parent Visa
 (884) (864)

You do not need to apply for the temporary visa first, you may directly apply for the permanent visa. Some people prefer to apply for the temporary visa first since this allows them to spread the high cost of the visa application charge over a longer period rather than payment in one lump sum.

Balance of Family Test

In order to qualify for a parent visa, each parent must meet the balance of family test.

The balance of family test requires that:

  • at least half of your children are Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens usually resident in Australia
  • you have more children living in Australia as Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens than in any other country

Health Criteria

The Parent visas all carry the same health criterion – PIC 4005. This requirement does not carry a waiver possibility like other visas do. It is important to remember that for parent visas, a failure to meet the health criterion will mean a refusal of the visa application with no possibility for a waiver.

The health criterion requires that each applicant is free from a medical condition that would likely require health care or community services and the provision of that care or service would likely result in a significant cost to the Australian community or prejudice access to that care by Australian citizens.

It is important to remember that the test does not allow for mitigates such as claiming that family members will care for the parents, or that the parents have sufficient financial resources to arrange their own care. The test only asks whether they have a condition that would meet the medical criteria for the provision of a community service.


All parent visas require an Australian citizen or permanent resident to sponsor the parent. This person must have lived in Australia for 2 years and must satisfy the Department of Immigration as to the ability to provide accommodation, financial assistance and general support to the parents in the first 2 years of residency in Australia.

Assurance of Support

All parent visas require the lodging of an Assurance of Support. This is a bond paid usually by the sponsor but it can be paid by anyone on behalf of the applicants. To qualify to be an assurer of support, you must have sufficient income. See http://guides.dss.gov.au/guide-social-security-law/9/4/3/30 for the income requirements for assurers.

At the time of writing, the current bond amounts are $10,000 for the primary visa applicant and $4,000 for each secondary adult applicant. The amounts will be held in a term deposit for 10 years. After the 10 years is over, whatever hasn’t been used will be returned to the assurer. The bond is only drawn down on if the parent or dependant applicant makes a claim for social security benefits.

Social Security

While the applicants of a Parent visa will be permanent residents, they will not be eligible to receive social security benefits for a period of 2 years. The age pension will not be available for 10 years.

Public Interest Criteria

Like almost all visas, partner visas carry these general requirements for HealthCharacter, Debts to the Commonwealth, and Australian Values Statement.

If you are unsure of meeting any of these criteria you should contact a professional to assess your ability to overcome any potential refusal on these grounds. Migration agents can prepare submissions on your behalf to give your application every opportunity for approval.

English Language Requirement

There is no English language requirement for a parent visa.

Period of Visa

The temporary version of the parent visa is generally valid for 2 years. The permanent visa grants permanent residency to the applicants which means the visa allows travel to and from Australia for 5 years. After that period, a Return Resident visa is issued or Australian citizenship can be attained.

Work Rights

A partner visa carries full work rights.

Key Conditions for holders of partner visas

Must notify the Department of any change of details

Until you receive your permanent visa, you must notify the Department of Immigration if:

  • you change address
  • your circumstances change
  • your relationship with your partner ends

Sponsor Obligations

The sponsoring child has certain responsibilities for the first 2 years since the date of entry into Australia:

  • provide information and advice to help the applicants settle in Australia
  • ensure adequate accommodation is available for the applicants in Australia
  • provide financial assistance as required to meet the applicants’ living needs and health care
  • provide support as required to enable them to attend appropriate English language courses
  • inform the department in writing if support is withdrawn before the application is finalised