A child visa allows a child to move to Australia to live with their parents. Perhaps you have been in Australia for so long, and you want your child overseas to move to the country with you. Obtaining a child visa is the answer.
To get this visa, a parent must sponsor the child so that they can apply; and to have a valid sponsorship, the parent must have an Australian citizenship, or be a permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen. This article discusses matters relevant to obtaining a child visa.
Child Visa Options Under Australian Immigration Laws
There are two subclasses of child visas:
- Subclass 101 – for children who are residing outside of Australia, and
- Subclass 802 – for children who are residing inside Australia, but are under another visa such as a substantive visa or bridging visa.
Benefits of the Child Visa
With this visa, dependent children can:
- Stay in Australia indefinitely as this is a permanent visa,
- Access Australian Government benefits,
- Travel to and from Australia for 5 years from the date of visa grant,
- Work and study. If your child chooses to work, the Australian workplace law protects them,
- Become an Australian citizen. For citizenship purposes, your child's permanent residence starts on the day they enter Australia.
Specific Requirements and Eligibility Criteria for a Child Visa
Dependency on the Parent
The child must be dependent on a parent who is either an Australian citizen, eligible New Zealand citizen, or Australian permanent visa holder.
The dependent child must be your biological child, adopted child, or stepchild (only from a former partner). A child does not meet the dependency requirement if the step-parent is the current spouse or de facto partner of the child's biological or adopted parent.
To be eligible for this visa, the adopted child must have been adopted before they turned 18 by a parent who was not an Australian citizen, permanent visa holder, or eligible New Zealand citizen at the time of adoption.
A child adopted before they turned 18 by a parent who was already an Australian citizen, permanent visa holder or eligible New Zealand citizen at the time of adoption might be eligible for an Adoption Visa (Subclass 102), instead of the child visa.
To be eligible for this visa, a stepchild must be the child of their step-parent's former partner and be under 18 years. The step-parent must also have either: an Australian parenting order in force that says the child is to live with them, or guardianship or custody of the child under Australian law or the law of another country.
Have a Sponsoring Parent
The child must be sponsored by an eligible parent or their parent's spouse or de facto partner, to be approved by the Department of Home Affairs. Sponsorship might not be approved if the parent or their partner has been charged or convicted of offences involving children, such as domestic violence.
Your child must be either:
- under 18 years old, or
- over 18 and under 25 years and studying full time, or
- over 18 years with a disability
If your child is over 18 and under 25 years old, they:
- must be a full-time student when they apply and when the visa application is decided,
- can't work full time, and
- must be financially dependent on you more than any other person.
Your child is a full-time student if they are enrolled in a full-time course and attending classes. In addition, your child should have started studying since turning 18 years of age or within 6 months (or a reasonable time) of finishing school. Any gaps of more than 6 months between their final year of school and the start of their further studies must be explained.
If your child is 18 years or older with a disability, they:
- must have totally or partially lost their bodily or mental functions,
- can't work full time, and
- must be financially dependent on you.
Have No Partner
Your child can't be married or be in a de facto relationship; they also can't be engaged to be married. If your child is over 18, they must never have been married or had a de facto partner.
Have Consent To Migrate to Australia
The visa will only be granted to a child younger than 18 years of age if either:
- the child has the written consent of everyone who can legally decide where they live, or
- the laws of the child's home country allow them to leave their home country, or
- it is consistent with any Australian child order about the child.
The following are a list of general requirements needed for the child visa (these requirements are often seen in other types of Australian visas too):
- Character requirements. If the child is aged 16 years or older, the child must meet this requirement, which means the child must not have a criminal record or history.
- Health requirements.
- Not have any debt to the Australian government. You and your child must pay back any debt to the Australian government or make formal arrangements to pay it back.
- Sign the Australian values statement. A child 18 years of age or older must confirm they will respect the Australian way of life and obey Australian laws through signing an Australian values statement.
- Not have had a visa cancelled or a previous application refused. This applies for those applying under Subclass 802. Your child might not be eligible for this visa if they had an Australian visa cancelled or previous application refused in the past.
Applying for the Child Visa
When they apply for this visa, your child has to prepare the following documents:
- Travel documents, such as passports.
- Identification, such as their ID card.
- Sponsorship documents. As your child's sponsor, you have to provide them with copies of your identity documents and fill up Form 40CH.
- Financial documents. The child has to submit evidence that they are dependent on you for financial support, which includes dependency on necessities such as food, shelter, and clothing.
- Evidence of study. If your child is a full-time student, they must submit proof that they are enrolled in a full-time course and provide explanations of any possible gaps for more than 6 months.
- fProof of relationship. People must provide evidence that they are the child's parent or legal guardian, such as a birth certificate.
You can apply on behalf of your child. Generally, to do so, your child has to be under 16 years of age and unable to apply on their own. However, they may authorise you to help them with the application. They can do this by submitting Form 956A along with their application, informing the Department that you will be assisting them with the visa application.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.