Ultimate Guide to Navigating an Expired Visa
Have you become unlawful in Australia because your visa expired? Do you feel unsettled? Are you looking for answers for what can be done? Also, what you should not do?
If you are unlawful, it is important that you know your options to resolve your situation and also what should not be done (without specific advice from a Registered Migration Agent).
Part 1 – Assessing your situation
If you are in country unlawfully because your visa has expired, there are a few factors to consider to choose the pathway that is available to become lawful:
- Did your most recent visa have a “no further stay” condition?
Was your visa granted with a Condition 8503 – No further stay? If the visa was granted with this condition, it will need to be waived by the Department of Home Affairs before another visa can be granted while you are onshore. Waivers are granted only in very limited circumstances.
- How long ago did your visa expire?
If it was been less than 28 days since your visa expired, you have different options than if it was been longer than 28 days. The department gives a ‘grace period’ of 28 days, during this period you can generally apply for another type of visa without being subject to the 3 year exclusion period. Meaning you cannot apply for any Australian visa for 3 years once you have left the country.
- Whether or not you have applied for and been refused another visa
If you are currently unlawful and have already applied for, and been refused another visa since arriving in Australia or had your visa cancelled, you may be subject to what is known as the Section 48 bar. Section 48 of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) bars applicants who have been refused or had their visa cancelled from applying for a new visa whilst in the Australia unless the visa is listed as an exception in Regulation 2.12(1). There are curtain Visa types which are excepted from Section 48, these include partner visas, child visas and protection visas. In addition to those, there are a few other very specific and temporary visa types.
Part 2 – Getting a Bridging Visa E (BVE)
When you apply for a new visa or you present yourself to the Department of Home Affairs you will be granted a Bridging Visa E for the remainder of your stay in Australia. There are times when the Department may detain you, this does happen in limited circumstances.
A Bridging Visa E is only a temporary, short term visa. This visa is granted so you have time to resolve your immigration matter or alternatively make arrangements to leave Australia. This type of bridging visa generally comes with a short-term fixed expiry date or remains valid until 35 days after a decision is made on a visa application. This visa is not granted for you to stay long-term in country, however it here to give you time to sort out what to do next.
You do have some rights on a Bridging Visa E. The ability to work depends on your circumstance. If you have compelling reasons and can prove those reason, you may be able to gain work rights. You cannot travel on this visa and cannot apply to travel. If you leave the country on a BVE, the exclusion ban preventing you from applying for a substantive visa for 3 years will come into effect.
Part 3 – What are your options?
If your preference is to stay in Australia, then you will have to apply for a new visa. If this is the pathway you want to pursue, then hiring a registered migration agent is advised. Immigration officers working for the Department of Home Affairs are not qualified to provide you with visa advice and once you are unlawful, it is recommended to not negotiate the visa application system on your own. When you are unlawful, your matter has become more complex and ensuring you take the proper pathway is important.
Summit Migration can assist you in your pathway towards becoming lawful in Australia. Summit Migration provides free 15-minute general information assistance to all callers. Claim your free telephone consultation today! Call us on: (07) 3177 7609
If your visa has expired and you have made travel arrangements to leave the country, you will not be detained at the airport but immigration officers may speak with you prior to your departure. If you want to leave the country but do not have the money to purchase a ticket, the Department of Home Affairs expects you to make arrangements to pay for a ticket home which may involve asking for help from family or friends. If you are not able to raise the funds for a ticket on your own, you may be eligible to receive assistance from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
If you are thinking of unlawfully staying in Australia, this is illegal and we do not recommend hiding in country and living illegally. Deciding to stay in country with an expired visa and not reporting your status to the Department of Home Affairs, will make you an unlawful non-citizen. Police or Border Protection Officers may arrest you and detain you if they suspect you are an unlawful non-citizen. If they do, you will be held in immigration detention until it is practical for you to be deported. You or your sponsor will most likely be made to pay the costs associated with locating and removing you (up to a maximum of AUD$10,000) and you will be barred from applying for a visa and re-entering Australia for at least 3 years. Whilst you are in immigration detention, you do still have the right to request legal and migration advice but unless your circumstances are extraordinary, you are unlikely to be granted another visa at this stage. It is always better to apply for a visa before you are caught by immigration so exploring your options before you get to this point is always preferable. The only way you may be released from immigration detention is if you make a valid application for another visa or agree to depart Australia voluntarily.
Part 4 – The bottom line
If you are currently living in Australia with an expired visa and you wish to remain here in country, please choose to do so legally. There are different legal pathways for you to take to stay in country. Summit Migration will help you explore your options and hopefully find a visa pathway that enables you to stay in the country. Do not let more time pass by as this could make your visa process more difficult. Summit Migration provides free 15-minute general information assistance to all callers. Claim your free telephone consultation today! Call us on: (07) 3177 7609 and allow us to assist you.
Additional Information to help
If you are not sure of your current visa status or when it expires, you can check this information yourself. Checking your visa status is easy and can be done online or even via an app. Go to the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) or download the myVEVO app to gain access to all your visa details and conditions.
If your visa is close to expiring and you want to stay in Australia, do not wait until you are unlawful, let us at Summit Migration help you today. Extending your current Australian visa is not an option. All visas have a date of expiration and they cannot be extended. To stay in country, you will need to apply for a new visa. We can help by discussing your visa options. If you are on a valid substantive visa in Australia there are far more visa pathways available to you. Get in touch with us to find out which visa pathway would best suit your circumstances.
If you are at all unsure about your visa options or an application, we recommend talking things over with a registered migration agent. Summit Migration can assist you in your pathway towards becoming lawful in Australia. Summit Migration provides free 15-minute general information assistance to all callers. Claim your free telephone consultation today! Call us on: (07) 3177 7609