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What are your visa options if you're planning to bring your parents to Australia?

It has been four years since Nenya Arabes hugged her mum who lives in the Philippines Source: Nenya Arabes

Now that parents are exempt from Australia’s border closures, families are eyeing for options to help them migrate temporarily or even permanently.

Last week’s announcement of the Prime Minister including parents as 'immediate family'  when applying for a travel exemption,  brought relief to millions of  Australians and permanent residents like Neña  Krista Arabes, who wished to be reunited with her mum from the Philippines.

Neña has faced many struggles when her marriage broke down and two of her children were diagnosed with autism. All she wanted is to bring her mum to Australia, but the international border closure has kept them apart.



  • Parents will now be considered immediate family when applying for a travel exemption to visit their children in Australia.
  • The Department of Home Affairs website states the definition of parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents includes biological parents, legal (including adoptive) parents, step-parents, and parents-in-law.
  •  Applying for a visitor visa is the fastest way to bring parents over to Australia

“I was so disappointed.  It was two years ago when my marriage broke down, and I said, ‘Mama I need you here, I have no one with me.’ and suddenly, the pandemic happened. The emotional impact has been huge. “

“I applied for my mum’s visa and she already had her medical test. But before the flight, the Philippines has gone under lockdown then they shut the borders here”

The new rules will come into effect on November 1.  However, migrant workers living in Australia who don't have PR won't be able to get their parents over and has to wait until the borders fully reopen.

Visa options for parents

According to Registered Migration Agent, Em Tanag, there are several types of visas that you can apply for your parents, with various time frames and requirements.

“The fastest way would be applying for a visitor visa which is subclass visa 600,  it can only take 1 month to process or could be less than that for travellers who meet the criteria for an exemption.

There’s also the subclass 870 or sponsored temporary parent visa but that can take 6 months to 9 months to process.

“If you intend to bring your parents over for Christmas, it’s better to apply for a visitor visa”

Em added that when applying for a visitor visa the applicant must prepare their identity documents like passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate.

"Evidence showing strong ties to your home country like stable jobs, assets and properties, and family must be provided.  Because if they cannot prove that they have strong ties with the home country, immigration can refuse the visa.”

The duration for this visa is from 3 months up to 12 months stay. 

Contributory vs Non-Contributory Visa

There are six classes of Parent visas that fall into a non-contributory and contributory category. They may also be classified on the basis of an applicant’s age; and temporary and permanent residence.

The non-contributory Visa has a much longer waiting time (30 years or more) while a contributory parent visa can be processed a lot sooner but the application charge can cost up to $125,000.

These visa categories allow parents to be temporary residents in Australia for up to 10 years or even lead to permanent residency. But first, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Your child or sponsor must be an Australian permanent resident, Australian citizen or an eligible New Zealand citizen
  • Your child has been living lawfully in Australia for the last 2 years before your visa allocation was lodged
  • Meet the criteria for the balance of family test where at minimum half of the children live permanently in Australia.  
  • Meet the health and character requirements

Applying for Travel Exemption

Applications through the Department of Home Affairs' Travel Exemption Portal opened on Friday for travel to Australia from 1 November.

Parents must also be fully vaccinated with a jab recognized by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

All international travellers remain subject to state and territory quarantine arrangements. New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT are scrapping all quarantine requirements for fully-vaccinated international arrivals from November 1. Home quarantine is being trialled as an alternative to hotel quarantine.

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