If you think you are a refugee because you are at risk of persecution in your home country you can apply for a Protection visa in Australia. You can do this by lodging an application for a for a Protection (Class XA) visa (form 866) to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship is also often called the DIAC. You can find more information about what a Protection visa is by clicking here. For more details on applying for a Protection visa to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, please click on the questions at the right of this page.
Should I apply?
In this section we have outlined some ideas about things you should think about when you are trying to decide whether you should apply for a Protection visa. This information is not legal advice. If you are trying to decide whether to apply for a Protection visa, you should get advice from a registered migration agent about whether it is a good idea.
Are you a refugee?
Think about other visa options and the consequences if you are rejected
If you understand these things and discuss them with your migration agent, it will help you to decide whether this is the best option for you.
It can be difficult to get a visa and the process can take a long time
How much does it cost?
There is a $30 fee which the DIAC charges you to apply for a Protection visa. You must pay the application fee at the same time that you give your application to the DIAC. You can pay this $30 application fee by bank cheque, cash, credit or debit card.
Is there a time limit to apply?
If you are in the community, you should always try to lodge an application for a Protection visa before your existing visa expires. Apply before your existing visa expires to stay lawful in Australia. There is no strict time limit to apply for a Protection visa – you can do this at any time, but if you apply before your original visa expires then this will make sure that you stay lawful in Australia. If you apply for your Protection visa before your substantive visa expires this means that when your existing visa expires you will get a bridging visa A to stay in Australia while your application is being decided. Usually if you are on a bridging visa A you will have the right to live in the community, work, study and access healthcare.
It is important to stay lawful in Australia, because if you become unlawful:
- You risk being put in detention.
- You will lose the chance to have work rights.
- You will lose the chance to have study rights.
- You will lose the chance to have healthcare through Medicare.
The DIAC might hold the delay in applying against you. It’s important to not delay applying for a Protection visa if you think you are a refugee. If you do not apply for protection within a reasonable time after arriving in Australia, the DIAC may say that you do not hold a genuine fear for persecution in your country because you waited to apply. This can impact badly on your application. It is important to contact a migration agent as soon as possible to discuss your options to avoid issues of delay arising at the DIAC later on. Even if you do not apply straight away, if you have made contact with a migration agent and you keep a record of that, you can show that you had plans to apply for protection early on.