Family Visas

Australian citizens, permanent residents and certain New Zealand citizens have the option to sponsor their family members, including their parents, children, partners and other family members, for permanent residency.

Eligible New Zealand citizen means those who arrived in Australia on a New Zealand passport and were:

  • In Australia on 26 February 2001;
  • In Australia for at least 12 months in the 2 years immediately before 26 February 2001; or
  • Assessed as a protected Special Category Visa holder before 26 February 2004.

Relevant Family Members

Not everyone with family relations can be sponsored for Australian family visas. The relations must be either:

Children and Step-children

  • If your child is currently in Australia: Subclass 802
  • If your child is currently outside Australia: Subclass 101

Adoptive children

  • If you adopt your child after you become a permanent resident: Subclass 101
  • If you adopt an orphaned relative who is currently inside Australia: Subclass 837
  • If you adopt an orphaned relative who is currently outside Australia: Subclass 117


  • If your parents are above the Australian retirement age of 67: Subclasses 804, 884, 864 or 870.
  • If your parents are below the Australian retirement age of 67: Subclasses 114, 103, 143, 173 or 870.

Fiancé or Fiancée

  • If you intend to marry in the immediate future: Subclass 300

Spouse or De facto partner

  • If your partner is in Australia: Subclass 820
  • If your partner is outside Australia: Subclass 309

In rare instances, you may be able to sponsor other more distant relatives for permanent residency than above-mentioned relatives. These applications are based not only on a degree of relations but a range of other criteria. Such include:

  • Aged Dependent Relative Visas: Subclasses 838 and 114
  • Remaining Relative Visas: Subclasses 835 and 115
  • Skilled Work Regional Visas: Subclass 491 Family sponsored stream
  • Temporary options for more distant relatives include:
    • Carer Visa: Subclass 116
    • Visitor Visa (Family Sponsored Stream): Subclass 600

Definition of my Family Unit

A person is a member of your “family unit” if:

  • He or she is your spouse or de facto partner;
  • He or she is your child or step-child;
  • He or she is your spouse’ child or step-child; or
  • He or she is your dependent child of yours, your spouse or de facto partner. The child is dependent if he or she has:
  • Not turned 18 years of age; or
  • Turned 18 but have not turned 23, but is still dependent on you; or
  • Turned 23 but is still dependent on you due to his or her mental or physical incapacitation.

Family Units of a Temporary Visa Holder

If you are a temporary visa holder, you cannot sponsor a relative for permanent residency. Nevertheless, you may add members of your family unit to your current temporary visa on certain conditions. For example, some visas only allow you to include members of your family unit at the time of applying for your visa. Others, such as Temporary Graduate or Student visas, may allow you to subsequently add members of your family unit even after your visa has been granted.

Family Units of an Applicant for Permanent Residency

Members of your family unit can usually be added to your application for permanent residency. It is important that members of your family unit satisfy the secondary criteria. However, having an ineligible applicant in the visa application may be a ground for visa refusal. If you are concerned about having a family member to your permanent residency application, we strongly advise that you seek professional advice.

Family Units of a Subclass 820 or 309 Visa Holder

Holders of Subclass 820 or 309 partner visas may not have included their children in their application for various reasons. Regardless of the reasons, once you are granted a 820 or 309 partner visa, you may still have your partner to sponsor your child on the Subclass 445 Dependent Child visa, which must be applied prior to the permanent Subclass 801 or 100 visa being granted.