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Expertise

Visa
Appeals

If your visa is refused it may be refused for one or more reasons. 

These reasons will be included in the visa refusal decision and we recommend that you read this carefully.

TYPES OF VISA APPEALS

What are some of the reasons for a visa refusal

The reasons for your visa refusal can include:

  • You did not meet the visa requirements when you lodged the visa application or by the time a decision was made
  • You did not provide complete information when you lodged your visa application
  • You did not respond to a request for further information about your visa application
  • You did not complete required steps such as completing a health examination
  • You provided false or misleading information
  • You did not provide enough evidence to support your application
  • You do not meet the character grounds for the visa
  • You do not meet the health requirements for the visa

What are my options if I receive a visa refusal?  

It can be very distressing to receive a visa refusal decision. When this happens it is important to read the letter and decision carefully. This way you will understand:

  • The reasons for the visa refusal
  • If you have the right to appeal your decision (some visa refusals cannot be appealed)
  • The timeframe available to lodge the appeal
  • The relevant appeal body your appeal should be directed to

If you receive a visa refusal you generally have 2 options:

Appeal the visa refusal decision to a tribunal or relevant court

Visa appeals are most commonly lodged with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). You can read more about this process on our Administrative Appeals Tribunal page.

Some visa refusal decisions are appealed to the courts instead. For example, when the Minister for Immigration personally decides to refuse a visa based on character grounds. You can read more about this process on our Court appeals page.

It is important to receive immigration advice from a lawyer before lodging your visa appeal so that you can learn if you have a chance of being successful. In some cases a visa appeal cannot win because certain visa criteria have not been met.

Apply for a new visa

In some circumstances the best action to take is to apply for a new visa. This may be the case if your visa appeal will not win or if it will be quicker or cheaper to lodge a new visa application. To apply for a new visa you need to meet the requirements of that visa and not be subject to any visa bars.

Our migration lawyers are able to advise you on the best migration strategy based on your circumstances if you have received a visa refusal. It is also important to act quickly, as there are strict deadlines for appealing a visa refusal.

Can I appeal a visa refusal decision in Australia? 

Most Australian visa refusals decisions have the right to be appealed. If you have had a visa refused in Australia, you may be eligible to appeal the visa refusal to a tribunal or a court. Some visas do not have a right of appeal if they were lodged offshore and there is no sponsor in Australia.

You should read your visa refusal notice carefully because each decision is different. This letter should advise:

  • If you have the right to appeal your decision
  • The timeframe available to lodge the appeal
  • The relevant appeal body your appeal should be directed to

If your letter does not outline this information we suggest that you obtain legal advice.

The most common place to appeal a visa refusal decision to is the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). There are strict time limits when appealing to the AAT so it is very important to read the appeal deadline in your visa refusal letter carefully. Unfortunately, AAT appeal deadlines cannot be extended.

Some visa refusal decisions are appealed to the courts instead. For example, when the Minister for Immigration personally decides to refuse a visa based on character grounds.

We recommend you receive immigration advice from a lawyer before lodging your visa appeal so that you can learn if your visa appeal is likely to win. In some cases a visa appeal cannot win because certain visa criteria have not been met. In other situations there may be a quicker or cheaper solution to appealing the visa refusal, such as applying for another visa. Our migration lawyers are experts at advising you on the best option for your circumstances.

What are the requirements for a visa refusal appeal?

To appeal a visa refusal decision you must:

  • Have received a visa refusal decision (this should be attached to your appeal application)
  • Lodge the appeal paperwork with the relevant appeal body (generally online or in person, however, the IAA does not require an application)
  • Lodge the appeal paperwork within the relevant deadline
  • Pay the relevant appeals fee (some appeals are free or have the option of having the fee reduced or waived)

Most commonly you will lodge a visa refusal appeal with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). You can find more information about the AAT appeals process on our AAT page. In some cases you may instead appeal to the Immigration Assessment Authority (IAA), the Federal Circuit Court, the Federal Court and in some cases with the High Court of Australia.

Where is an Australian visa refusal appeal heard? 

Australian visa refusal appeals are most commonly lodged with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), however, in some cases you may need to appeal to the Immigration Assessment Authority, the Federal Circuit Court, the Federal Court of Australia and in some cases with the High Court of Australia. You should read your visa refusal notice carefully to understand which appeal body is relevant in your case.

AAT appeals generally include a hearing. The hearing will typically be held at the AAT in a hearing room with an AAT Tribunal Member. Each Australian state and territory has their own AAT location. The AAT will write to you and inform you of the date, time and location of your hearing. They will also advise you if an interpreter has been booked for your hearing.

In many AAT appeals, the hearing will take place in person however, under certain circumstances, you may be requested to attend your hearing via telephone or video conference.

An AAT hearing is an important opportunity to tell your story in detail and address any issues that you may have found in the Departmental visa refusal decision. It is important to be well prepared for the hearing, to have supportive evidence and to ensure all the legal criteria are met in order to have a successful appeal. For information regarding AAT hearings you can visit our Administrative Appeals Tribunals page.

If your visa refusal decision is not able to be appealed to the AAT, or if you have received a negative decision at the AAT, you may be able to appeal your decision to a court. Court hearings are very different to Tribunal hearings as they generally involve more technical legal arguments. You can learn more about court appeals here.

Can I apply for another visa after receiving a visa refusal?

In some circumstances you can apply again for another visa after you have received a visa refusal. To apply for a new visa you need to meet the requirements of that visa and not be subject to any visa bars. In some cases you may need to leave Australia to lodge the new visa application.

We recommend that you obtain migration advice before lodging any further visa applications to ensure you are eligible.

Do I get a refund if I receive a visa refusal decision?

Unfortunately, if you receive a visa refusal decision you do not receive a refund of the visa application charge.

Book a free 15 minute consultation online with one of our immigrations lawyers to discuss appealing a visa decision and how we can help. 

An experienced migration lawyer can make all the difference when you need.