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Immigration Terms

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Frequently Asked Questions

You will find answers here to the most commonly asked questions about Australian migration and citizenship. Important terms and phrases are also explained here.

Click on a question or scroll down the page to view general answer:

  1. When do I need a visa for Australia?
  2. How do I become an Australian citizen?
  3. How do I apply for a visa to Australia?
  4. How long does it take to process an application?
  5. How can Beyderwellen & Company help?
  6. What are my chances of success?
  7. What will a visa application cost?
  8. What are Beyderwellen & Company's fees?
  9. What happens when my Australian permanent visa is granted?
  10. What will my Australian visa permit me to do?
  11. Will I receive evidence of my visa if my application is successful?
  12. Will my visa cease when I leave Australia?
  13. Am I required to provide information and documents to the Department when I arrive in Australia or leave Australia?
  14. What happens to my visa if my passport is lost or stolen?
  15. How do I know if I am a "lawful non-citizen"?
  16. What happens if my Australian visa expires?
  17. Do I need to advise the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) if I change my address?
  18. What do I do if my circumstances change?
  19. Can I remain in Australia permanently on a bridging visa?
  20. Can I apply for permission to work while in Australia?
  21. Can I have a Working Holiday in Australia?
  22. If I need a visa, can it be granted to me without applying for it?
  23. Can I apply for more than one visa at a time?
  24. Can I hold more than one visa at a time?
  25. I want to work in Australia. Can you help me?
  26. Can I appeal the decision to refuse to grant a visa or to cancel a visa?
  27. What is the Australian Migration Program?
  28. How does the migration regulatory scheme work?
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Australian Immigration Terms & Phrases

Important terms and phrases you ought to know in the Australian Immigration context.

Click links below or scroll down the page to view general meaning (or, go to Australian Immigration FAQs at top of this page):

Lawful Non-Citizen
Substantive Visa
Australian Permanent visa
Australian Temporary Visa
Transitional visa
Bridging Visa
Visa Class/Visa Subclass
Valid Application for a Visa

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Lawful Non-Citizen: a non-citizen in Australia who holds a visa which is in effect, and which allows the non-citizen to remain in Australia.

Substantive Visa: a visa (whether permanent or temporary) other than a bridging visa or criminal justice visa.

Australian Permanent Visa: a visa which gives the visa holder permission to remain in Australia indefinitely. This permission may also carry with it a permission to travel to and enter Australia. If it does, the permission to remain in Australia is subject to the requirement that the person be in Australia at the time of the grant of the visa or have entered Australia within the period allowed for travel and entry.

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Australian Temporary Visa: a visa which is granted subject to various conditions and gives permission to remain in Australia for a limited period of time. This visa may also give permission to travel to and enter Australia during a particular period and to remain for a specified period only if entry is made within the period allowed for travel and entry.

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Transitional Visa: the term transitional is used to identify applications, which were made before 1 September 1994. Applications, which were unresolved on that date, resulted in the grant of transitional visas if successful. The visa typically confers the same rights and is subject to the same conditions as the relevant visa or entry permit previously held or applied for. Visas and entry permits granted before that date were converted automatically to transitional visas.

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Bridging Visa: a temporary visa, which provides lawful status to a non-citizen who would otherwise be, or could become, unlawful.

Generally, a bridging visa ensures a non-citizen maintains lawful status in Australia before their application for a substantive visa is finalised or while he or she is making arrangements to leave Australia.

A bridging visa may also be granted to a non-citizen to cover periods when he or she does not have a visa and it is not necessary or appropriate for the non-citizen to be kept in immigration detention.

The bridging visa will be issued electronically and automatically when a valid application is received for a substantive visa. There will be no physical evidencing of the bridging visa, however, it can be requested and affixed to a valid passport.

If a lawful non-citizen makes a valid application for a substantive visa overseas with the Department of Immigration, he can generally remain in Australia while on the current valid visa. However, when the non-citizen's current visa expires, he will not be granted a bridging visa to remain in Australia while their substantive visa application is being processed overseas.

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Visa Class / Visa Subclass: an application must be made for a class of visa. The Migration Act and Regulations provide for classes of visa.

In the Migration Regulations classes are set out in Schedule 1 and comprise one or more subclasses. A subclass contains a set of criteria prescribed in Schedule 2 in the form of a "recipe card." An application for a visa of a particular class therefore entitles the applicant to be considered against the criteria for all the subclasses within that class.

A decision to grant a visa of a class indicates that the requirements for the grant of a visa of that class have been met. Where there is more than one subclass in the class this means that the requirements of at least one subclass have been met. A decision to refuse to grant a visa of a class means that the requirements for the grant of a visa of that class have not been met.

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Valid Application for a Visa: where an application is required to be made for the grant of a visa, the application must be a valid application. If it is not a valid application then the application cannot be considered.
For most cases essential requirements that need to be satisfied for an application to be valid include: the payment of the required fee and the making of the application on the approved form.

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