Visitor Visa options for Parents after COVID-19

Parent visa applications can be lengthy and expensive. Whilst on the other hand, visitor visa may be a good alternative to bring your parents to Australia cheaper and faster. Whilst due to the COVID-19 situation most offshore Visitor and Parent visas are put on hold you can still prepare and submit a SC600 or a parent visa (SC870, SC143, SC173, SC103) from offshore (Outside Australia) and SC884, SC804 onshore (in Australia).


Subclass 601 Electronic Travel Authority (ETA)- Currently closed due to COVID-19

An ETA visa is a relative cheap and efficient way to bring your parents to Australia. Currently, the DHA website does not allow you to submit an application for this visa and shows this notice:

Strict travel restrictions are in place for all countries due to COVID-19. You should not apply for any visa until checking the latest information.

Duration: Multiple entry but each stay must not exceed 3 months

Cost: $20

Processing Time: Usually almost instant reply from the Department

However, this visa is only available to citizens on certain countries. These countries include:

  • Andorra
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brunei
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong (SAR of China)
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Liechtenstein
  • Luxembourg
  • Malaysia
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Republic of San Marino
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan (excluding official or diplomatic passports)
  • The Netherlands
  • United Kingdom—British Citizen
  • United Kingdom—British National (Overseas)
  • United States of America
  • Vatican City
Subclass 600 Visitor Visa Sponsored Family Stream

If your parents do not hold a passport from the list of countries above, they can still apply for a visitor visa under Subclass 600 Visa. Similarly, those with a passport from the above countries can apply for this visa if they want to stay longer than 3 months in Australia.

Duration: Usually up to 12 months stay

Cost: $145

Processing Time: 3 – 4 months

To be eligible for this visa, there must be a sponsor. The sponsor must be a settled Australian citizen or permanent resident relative of the applicant. ‘Settled’ is defined as having lived lawfully in Australia for at least 2 years (in most cases) and the sponsor is an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

In addition, if your parents have applied for a parent visa and are currently waiting in the queue, they may be eligible for a longer visa stay.

Subclass 870 Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa

Another alternative to a visitor visa, is the subclass 870 Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa. With this visa your parents can stay in Australia for up to 3 or 5 years. There is also an option to re-apply for another subclass 870 Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa. Your parents would be able to stay for a maximum period of 10 years.

Duration:  Up to 3 or 5 years

Cost: 3 years – $5,000     5 years – $10,000

Visitor visa vs Parent visa

Parent visas allow parents of Australian citizens, permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens to relocate permanently to Australia. However, parent visas usually have a long waiting period and/or very costly. For example, a Subclass 143 Contributory Parent Visa may cost from $47,755 per parent. To be eligible for a parent visa, the applicant must be able to meet the balance-of-family test, that is, at least half of the children or there are more eligible children living in Australia than in any other country.

Below we will list some advantages and disadvantages of a visitor visa for parents:

Pros of visitor visa
  • Cheap – This visa is significantly cheaper than a standard parent visa. With this affordable visa, your parents will be able to come to Australia for a maximum of 10 years.
  • Shorter processing time – Parent visa wait is infamously long. It may take up to 10 -30 years to wait for a parent visa approval.
  • Do not have a balance- of -family testIf your parents have more children in one country than Australia, they would not be able to apply for a parent visa in Australia.
Cons of visitor visa
  • No work rights – On a temporary visa, your parents would not have work rights.
  • No access to Medicare – On a temporary visa, you parents would not be able to access the full Australian health care system.

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