Immigration FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

  • General
  • General (Business/Entrepreneur/Investor)
  • 188a and 188b
  • 188c
  • 188e
  • 132b

Yes. Family members (i.e spouses and children) can be included as secondary applicants in your visa application. In most cases, they will need to meet certain criteria separate to the criteria associated with your visa application to be eligible to receive their visas. 

If possible, you should always combine you and your family members visa applications so that they are made at the same time and place. However, if it is not possible or practical for you to do this, there may be other ways in which a family member can obtain an Australian visa even if they were not part of your visa application.

You may still meet the health requirement even if you have a pre-existing medical condition.

There are a number of factors that the Department will consider when determining whether you meet the health requirement such as the nature of the condition, whether it is contagious, whether it will burden the public health system and whether it will take away resources that could be allocated to treating an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

It may still be possible to pass the character test even if you have a previous criminal conviction.

Factors that are considered by the Department when assessing whether someone meets the character test includes things such as the nature of the conviction, the time of the offence, the age of the applicant when the offence occurred and whether there are any relevant external circumstances (i.e whether the conviction was politically motivated).

If you do have a previous criminal conviction, it is important that you disclose this to the Department as a failure to do so may result in your visa application being rejected.

There are other matters outside previous criminal convictions that may impact on your ability to pass the character test such as whether you have previously been declared a security threat by ASIO or had previous involvements with organised crime.

You have functional English if:

  1. If you are a citizen of and hold a valid passport from the United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland; or
  2. It has been assessed as functional by an Australian Adult Migrant English Program service provider; or
  3. You completed a degree, a higher degree, a diploma or a trade certificate in an institution in or outside Australia that required at least two years of full-time study and all instructions were in English; or
  4. You undertook education at an institution either in or outside Australia where all instruction was in English; or
  5. In the 12 months prior to applying for your visa you attained an English language test from an approved provider.

For more information about items 4 and 5 above, click here.

If you do not have functional English, then you may not be eligible to receive certain visas. However, if having function English is not a requirement for your visa application, then not having functional English will generally mean that you will need to pay an additional visa application charge. This additional payment is usually payable before your visa can be granted.

For more information about visa application fees, visit the Departments Fees and Charges for Visas page.  

Except for extremely limited circumstances, there is no way to fast track a visa application.

Due to the lengthy processing times that can sometimes be associated with visa applications, and the fact that the vast majority of applications cannot be fast tracked, it is often prudent to be in Australia when you apply for your visa.

This is because in most circumstances if you apply for a visa whilst in Australia, you will automatically receive either a Bridging visa A, Bridging visa B, Bridging visa C or Bridging visa E which will allow you to lawfully remain in Australia while your visa application is being processed.

You must be in Australia, or in limited circumstances be in immigration clearance, to be eligible to receive a bridging visa.

In some instances you may able to appeal this decision via the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

If you do not wish to appeal a decision to refuse a visa, or you do not have a right of appeal, then you may be able to submit a fresh application to the Department. However, if your circumstances have not changed, then it may be difficult for you to have the new application approved.

If you have lived in a country, including Australia, for a cumulative period of at least 12 months in the last 10 years then you will usually have to provide a police certificate from this country.

Whilst it is always best to provide as much supporting documents as possible at the time of your visa application, it is sometimes possible to obtain a police certificate and provide this to the Department after you have lodged your application.

No. Health examinations can usually be undertaken after you have lodged your visa application.

You can undertake a health examination whilst outside Australia. However, the examination will need to be undertaken by an approved medical provider.

The Department has the power under the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) to request further information from you if they require this information to properly assess your application. There are usually time limits imposed on responding to a request for further information. If you have engaged a migration agent or immigration lawyer, they can respond to any requests for further information on your behalf.

The Department has the discretion to grant extensions to requests for further information. However, they will usually require genuine reasons as to why the extension is required (i.e suffering an injury).

If you need to request an extension, you should provide as much supporting evidence as possible to verify your reasoning behind the request.

The Department will usually require that any documents be translated by an accredited translator of the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI). You can search for a NAATI accredited translator here.

An exploratory visit is where you visit the Australian State or Territory that you are seeking to undertake your business, entrepreneurial or investment activity. It may include you meeting with an officer of the Australian State or Territory government agency that will be responsible for assessing your nomination application.

Some State or Territories will not consider nominating you for a business, entrepreneur or investment visa if you do not undertake an exploratory visit.

View our State and Territory nomination criteria pages (188 visa / 132 visa) to find out more about whether you will need to undertake an exploratory visit. 

If you are over 55 you may still be able to receive a business or entrepreneur visa, but to do so, the State or Territory that is nominating you for your visa must deem that your proposed business or entrepreneur activity is of exceptional economic benefit. This decision is often referred to as an age waiver.

Not all States and Territories use the age waiver. Visit our State and Territory nomination criteria pages (188 visa / 132 visa) to find out more

The net value of your assets is calculated by deducting your liabilities from the gross value of your assets. For example, if you hold cash in the bank, own property or shares and the value of these assets is $1,000,000AUD but you also have a mortgage of $500,000AUD, then the net value of your assets is $500,000AUD.

If you are claiming that you hold business assets, then the value of these assets is usually verified by an appropriately qualified accountant. For personal assets, this can also be verified by an accountant and by obtaining up-to-date valuations from qualified valuators.

In the event that the value of your assets cannot be verified from an appropriate source, then the value of these assets may not count towards your visa application. 

It is usually a requirement of your business or entrepreneur visa that you will maintain direct and continual control over the day to day operations of your business. If it is found that you are not maintaining this control after your visa has been granted, then your visa may be cancelled.

In most cases yes. However, it is possible in some instances to have your spouse or de facto partner live in the State or Territory that you are seeking a nomination from in your place.

To find out whether you will be required to live in the State or Territory that you are seeking a nomination from, visit our State and Territory nomination criteria pages (188 visa / 132 visa).

Yes. Your migration agent or immigration lawyer can lodge an EOI on your behalf. In some circumstances, another individual such as a parent or guardian may also be able to lodge an EOI on your behalf.

Yes, but only if this is done prior to you receiving an invitation to apply for a visa from the Minister.

Your EOI will be removed from Skillselect if:

  1. You have received 2 invitations but don’t lodge a visa application in response to these invitations; or
  2. Your invitation was for a permanent or provisional visa and you are subsequently granted this visa.

No, but it is always prudent to have your supporting documents ready when you submit your EOI because there are usually time limits attached to providing this information to the State or Territory that you are seeking a nomination from.

You should check the eligibility criteria for each State and Territory (188 visa / 132 visa) before selecting ‘Any’ when submitting your EOI. This is because some States and Territories do not nominate applicants who do not select them, or who select ‘Any’, when submitting an EOI. 

There is no standard time period for holding a nomination from a State or Territory government. It is up to that State or Territory to determine how long they will nominate you for.

In some instances, you can apply to have your nomination transferred to another State or Territory. Whether or not your nomination can be transferred will depend on the eligibility criteria for the State or Territory that nominated you, and the State or Territory that you are seeking to transfer your nomination to. View our State and Territory eligibility pages (188 visa / 132 visa) to find out more.

Possibly. If you are outside Australia when the visa is granted your first entry into Australia must be made before the date specified by the Minister and you are a family member of a person who is applying for a 188 visa, then you may not be able to marry or enter into a de facto relationship before you enter Australia.

Find out more about this condition here.

The visa will take effect on the date of the visa grant notice that will be issued by the Department upon the approval of your visa application.

You can also usually find out the date that your visa was granted by checking your Vevo account.

You can be either inside or outside Australia when your visa is granted, but not in immigration clearance.

Similar to a 188 visa, condition 8515 may be attached to your 132 visa.

This condition states that if you are outside Australia when your 132 visa is granted your first entry into Australia must be made before the date specified by the Minister and you are a family member of a person who is applying for a 132 visa, then you may not be able to marry or enter into a de facto relationship before you enter Australia.

If you applied for a 188a Business Innovation Stream, 188b Investor Stream, 188c Significant Investor Stream, 188d Premium Investor Stream or 188e Entrepreneur Stream you will be eligible to hold this visa for 4 years and 3 months from the date it was granted.

It is also possible to apply for a 188a Business Innovation Extension Stream and a 188c Significant Investor Extension Stream if you already hold a 188a or 188c visa.

The 188a Extension Stream visa allows you to stay in Australia for 6 years after the date of the grant of your original 188a visa, whereas the 188c Extension Stream visa allows you to extend your stay in Australia for up to 4 years.

A 132 visa is a permanent visa that allows you to travel to and enter Australia for 5 years from the date it was granted.

If you are living outside Australia when this 5 year period expires, then you may be able to return to Australia on a subclass 155 or 157 Resident Return visa.

Alternatively, you may also be eligible to obtain Australian citizenship by conferral.

You may not be able to receive the visa you applied for if you cannot verify the number of points you claimed in your EOI.

Generally speaking, if you have been declared bankrupt in the last 5 years you will not be able to receive a business visa. However, if it can be demonstrated that certain external factors outside your control such as global market trends or natural disasters led to you becoming bankrupt, then this may provide you with a way of overcoming this.

Not necessarily. When applying for a business visa you may have the option of selecting 2 fiscal years out of the previous 4. Also, if the losses occurred because of the external factors mentioned above, then you may still be able to obtain a business visa.

No. You do not need to prove that you have transferred your assets, rather, you must be able to demonstrate that you can transfer your assets within 2 years of receiving your visa.

There are a number of fund managers who provide funds that meet the requirements of making an investment for the purpose of receiving a 188c visa. It is at your discretion to determine which fund manager you will invest your funds with. However, you are not allowed to direct these fund managers as to how you want your funds to be invested (i.e advising which companies to invest in).

The relevant migration laws state that you can make your investment either at the time of, or after, your 188c visa application has been made. However, the standard procedure is to wait until after you have lodged your application before making your investment.

According to this standard procedure, the officer that is assessing your application will write to you to invite you to make your investment if you/your family members have met certain criteria and are likely to meet any other relevant criteria applicable to the grant of your 188c visa.

This invitation comes in the form of a letter issued by the Department. Please note that receiving this letter does not automatically mean that your application is going to be approved. It simply means that your application has reached the stage wherein you are required to make your investment to meet the requirements of a 188c visa.

The policy reasoning behind making 188c visa applicants verify the source of their funds that they plan on using for their significant investment is to ensure that funds from illegal or illicit sources are not being used to illegitimate purposes.

Some of the ways that you can verify the source of your funds is to provide:

  1. Taxation documents to prove your income;
  2. Business accounts to prove on profits made by businesses that you have an ownership interest in;
  3. Bank statements to show and deposits and interest that form part of your income; and
  4. Receipts from when you sold your assets

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list and that it is possible that the officer processing your 188c visa application will require more information from you, or even a suitably qualified third party (i.e chartered accountant), to verify the source of your funds.

You can still apply for an investment visa without first obtaining independent financial advice, however, it is strongly recommended that you do obtain financial advice from a qualified financial advisor as there is usually very little recourse available to you should you not receive a return on your investment.

They can so long as your can verify the source of these funds. This includes not only you proving that you have a legal right to these funds and that they have not been derived from illegal or illicit activities, but also demonstrating that the person that gifted or bequeathed you these funds also meets the source of funds requirement.

Technically speaking, you could commence legal proceedings in this scenario. However, the likelihood of this action being successful is extremely limited. This is due to the fact that you will be required to complete a Form 1412 as part of your application.

A Form 1412 is a Deed of Acknowledgment, Undertaking and Release that states that by signing this Deed you undertake not to bring any action against the Australian government and that you release it from any liability that may result from you making your investment.

Yes, but you must meet the ‘switching period’ requirement. The crux of this requirement is that you reinvest your funds in a 188c compliant fund within 30 days from withdrawing it from the original 188c compliant fund.

If you have a spouse or de facto partner they can live in Australia so that you meet the residency requirement associated with a 188c visa.

Yes. Condition 8557 will be imposed on your 188c visa. This condition requires that you continue to hold your complying significant investment for as long as your 188c visa remains valid.

If you are a citizen of and hold a valid passport from the United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland, then you will be presumed to have competent English.

If you are not a citizen of and hold a valid passport for the countries listed above, there are a number of English language tests you can undertake to prove that you have competent English. For example, if you receive at least 6 for all 4 components of the IELTS test you will be deemed to have competent English.

If you obtain an English language test from an approved provider, the test will be valid for 3 years. This means that if your English language test is more than 3 years old at the time that you apply for an Australian visa, you will not be able to use this test to evidence that you have competent English.

To find out the other English language tests you can undertake to prove that you have competent English, and the minimum results you must achieve for each of these tests, click here.

One of the key requirements for obtaining a 188e Entrepreneur Stream visa is that you have a legally enforceable funding agreement to receive at least $200,000AUD from an approved fund provider. This includes:

  1. All agencies of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory;
  2. Bodies that undertake publicly funded research or innovation initiatives and are established under a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory;
  3. Investors registered or conditionally registered as venture capital limited partnerships or early stage venture capital limited partnerships under Part 2 of the Venture Capital Act 2002 as in force from time to time; and
  4. Higher education providers listed from time to time under Part 2-1 of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 

If you have been presented with a funding agreement from one of the approved fund providers listed above, it is always prudent to obtain independent legal advice before signing the agreement.

If you are granted a 188e visa, condition 8571 should be imposed. This condition requires you to maintain an ongoing relationship with the State or Territory that nominated you for your visa.

You must have a legally enforceable agreement to receive at least $1,000,000AUD from a venture capitalist that is a member of the Australian Investment Council. In addition to this agreement, you should also have a plain English letter from the venture capitalist that explains how much funding you will receive and what these funds will be used for.  

If it is found that you are connected to these funds in any way, then you will likely have your application refused, and you may even be subject to enforcement activity from the Department (i.e having your visa cancelled).

The State or Territory that you are seeking a nomination from will have its own guidelines to determine whether you meet this requirement. Generally speaking, the Department will accept the advice of the nominating State or Territory if it determines that you do have sufficient funds to settle in Australia.

Not necessarily. Some States and Territories require you to live and work there either indefinitely or for a certain period of time as a condition of them nominating you. If this condition is attached to your nomination and you have been found to have breached it, then the nominating State or Territory may report this to the Department which could lead to you having your visa cancelled.