Diplomatic visa (Temporary) – Subclass 995

Please note that the subclass 995 is closed to new applications and replaced by the Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403)


This visa is for people who have been accepted by DFAT for accreditation to Australia as a representative of their country or organisation. Such people include:

  • diplomats
  • consular officials
  • certain representatives of international organisations (including, but not limited to, the Asian Development Bank, International Organisation for Migration, Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Commission)
  • consular employees or administrative/technical staff
  • service staff (for example, drivers, cooks, cleaners, security guards) employed by the sending government Foreign Ministry
  • executive heads of the specialised agencies of the United Nations; and
  • diplomatic couriers.

Possession of a diplomatic or official passport in itself does not confer eligibility for this visa. Only people who are accredited by DFAT are eligible for this visa.


People seeking a temporary stay in Australia to conduct business in an official capacity for their home government but are not accredited by DFAT for a Diplomatic visa, may be eligible to apply for one of the following visas:

  • 403 Temporary Work (International Relations) (Foreign Government Agency stream)
  • 482 Temporary Skill Shortage
  • 400 Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist)
  • 600 Visitor (Business Visitor stream)

Holders (or former holders) of a Diplomatic visa may be granted a different type of visa while they are in Australia, however, there are some limitations on the type of visa for which they are eligible. For example, only Diplomatic visa holders who are the spouse or de facto partner or a dependent relative of a diplomat or consular representative are eligible to apply for a Student (subclass 500) visa while in Australia.

Please note that DFAT no longer requires Diplomatic visa holders who wish to move to another category of visa onshore, to obtain a “Letter of No Objection”. Diplomatic visa holders are still required to inform Protocol Branch in DFAT, or DFAT state or territory office of their intention to apply for another category of visa.

The Process

the process approved by the Minister is for DFAT to make the application by providing the Department’s relevant overseas office with:

  • a copy of the Note Verbale from the relevant Foreign Ministry or Mission (and provided to DFAT at the relevant overseas office);
  • a copy of the outward cable from the relevant overseas office to Protocol Branch, DFAT Canberra; and
  • a copy of the inward cable from Protocol Branch, DFAT Canberra advising that diplomatic accreditation for that person has been recommended.

Visa Duration

under policy, unless DFAT specifies a visa period:

  • the main visa holder should be granted a visa to have effect for the duration (specified as a date) of their status as a diplomatic/consular or international representative; and
  • the accompanying person should be granted a visa to have effect for the same period as the visa granted to the primary visa holder, unless otherwise specified by DFAT.

Diplomats visiting Australia

A Diplomatic passport holder who is intending to visit Australia on business will not normally be accredited by DFAT for a Diplomatic visa. The diplomatic passport holder should be encouraged to apply for the Business stream of either a Visitor (subclass 600) or eVisitor (subclass 651) visa.