If you think you are a refugee then you can seek asylum in Australia. You can do this by applying for a Protection visa to stay in Australia. A Protection visa is a permanent visa which is granted to person if they need protection in Australia, because their situation meets the definition of who a refugee is. To find out more about the definition of who a refugee is please click here.
A Protection visa can be granted by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship who are also known as the ‘DIAC’. To be granted a Protection visa you must meet the definition of who a refugee is and you must also complete health, character and security checks.
There are Four Key Stages when Applying for Protection
There are 4 main stages in the process of applying for a Protection visa to stay in Australia. You may not have to go through all of these stages to get a visa. The first stage of applying is to apply to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (the DIAC) for a Protection visa. The following stages are the different stages which might apply to your case if you are not successful when you first apply for a Protection visa.
To learn more about applying for a protection visa and each of the stages you may encounter, go here.
More about the Protection Visa
Please click on the questions below to find out more information about Protection visas:
What does a Protection visa let me do in Australia?
- Have access to health care under Australia’s Medicare scheme.
- Be able to get income support from Centrelink if you are eligible.
- Be able to access other services, like English language classes.
For more information about the conditions of a Protection visa and what a Protection visa allows you to do you can click on this link to see the Department of Immigration and Citizenship website pages about Protection visas.
Can I travel on a Protection visa?
Apply for a visa to come back to Australia before you leave
If you are planning to travel overseas and your Protection visa is about to expire you will need to apply for a 5 year resident return visa (subclass 155). You need this visa to make sure you can get back into Australia if your permanent Protection visa has expired. For more information about a 5 year resident return visa please click here.
Make sure that you are not going to be out of Australia for too long
If you are planning to apply for citizenship you should be aware of the citizenship requirements. To apply for citizenship you have to have been in Australia for a certain amount of time before you can become and Australian citizen. You should check these requirements before you travel.
If you do decide to travel overseas once you have a Protection visa – you should be careful about going back to your home country.
Can I go back to my country if I get a Protection visa?
Even if you eventually become an Australian citizen you should still not return to your home country unless the situation there has significantly changed. One example of this is that the government that harmed you is no longer in power in your country.
Can I become an Australian citizen if I get a Protection visa?
What are the requirements to apply for citizenship?
To apply for Australian citizenship you must have lived in Australia for at least 4 years. You must be a permanent resident for at least 12 months immediately before you apply for citizenship. You also have to have been in Australia lawfully for at least 4 years before you apply. When you are granted a Protection visa – you become a permanent resident, so you need to have your Protection visa for at least 12 months before you apply for citizenship, even if you have already been in Australia for 4 years.
If you have been overseas in the 4 years before you apply for citizenship
If you travel overseas before you apply for citizenship, you also have to make sure that:
- You have been in Australia for at least 3 full years out of the 4 years before you apply to become a citizen. If you have been out of Australia for more than one year you will not meet the requirements.
- You have been in Australia for at least 9 whole months in the 12 months before you apply. If you have been out of Australia for more than 90 days in the 12 months before you apply to be a citizen you will not meet the requirements.
You can find more information about applying to become an Australian citizen after you have been granted a Protection visa (or another permanent visa to stay in Australia) on the citizenship part of the DIAC website if you click here.
If I get a Protection visa can it be cancelled?
- If you break the law in Australia and are sentenced to at least one year imprisonment you can be deported from Australia no matter how long you have been a permanent resident.
- If the Australian government believes you are engaging in activity that is a threat to the security of Australia such as acts of treason, sedition or terrorism.
- If the DIAC find out that something you put in your Protection visa application wasn’t true.
If you are an Australian citizen you cannot be deported unless you have obtained your citizenship through illegal/fraudulent means. This is why it can be a good idea to apply to become an Australian citizen, as it gives you better protection in Australia.