Australia is opening up! With Christmas just around the corner, now is the time to start seriously thinking about how you can bring your parents to Australia – with the right visa! 

The recent announcement that parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents are now considered ‘immediate family members’, and therefore eligible to enter Australia without the need for a travel exemption, has been welcomed by many migrant families. 

But the next question, of course, is which visa is the best for them to apply for? For which you need to understand the options.

Let’s take a look!

Tourist visa

Tourist visas provide the opportunity for parents to visit their children and grandchildren on a genuine tourist basis for up to 12 months. 

These visas are usually processed quickly and costing only $145, this is a great way to get your parents into the country quickly while you consider your next step.

With many parents considering applying for Tourist visas in the lead up to Christmas, don’t leave your application until the last minute!

Long Term Parent options

For permanent stay in Australia, the Parent/Aged Parent and Contributory Parent /   Contributory Aged Parent visas are available.

Each share these two criteria:

  • Applicants are sponsored by a child who is a settled Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen 
  • Applicants must pass the Balance of Family Test – meaning at least half of the applicant’s children are settled in Australia as Australian citizens or permanent residents. If you would like to know more, please visit the Parent Visa  page of our website or request a copy of our Parent Visa Guide 


Then, depending on the age and financial capacity of the parent, they may opt for either a ‘Standard’ or Contributory Visa. Let us explain.

‘Standard’ Parent/ Aged Parent visa

There are both onshore and offshore versions of the Parent visa.

Those wishing to apply onshore, however, must be ‘aged’. Which means are of an age matching Australia’s pensionable age. Refer to the table in our Parent Visa Guide.

While this is a cheaper option than the Contributory category discussed below, the Parent visa is subject to ‘cap and queue’ processing. This means that there are a limited number of visas available each Migration Programme year. Once the quota is reached, no more visas can be granted for the year and applicants then need to ‘queue’ up for the next financial year. With limited visas available, standard Parent Visas can take anywhere between 20-30 years to be processed. 

Contributory Parent Visa

Known as a ‘fast track’ category, the Contributory Parent also has onshore and offshore applications available. 

The downside? The application requires ‘contributions of about $50 000 per applicant. 

For cashflow purposes, parents can opt for a two-step process, gaining initially a temporary visa by paying just over half of the contribution, obtaining the visa to come to Australia, and then paying the balance within the two year visa period before applying for permanent stay. 

With processing times of five to six years, the Contributory pathway is still faster, but is it fast enough for your needs?

Sponsored (Temporary) Parent Visa

Introduced in April 2019, the sub-class 870 visa provides a pathway for parents who cannot meet the balance of family requirements.  

To be eligible, the applicant must be the legal parent, step-parent, or parent-in-law of the sponsor who must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen.  The sponsor must meet a household income threshold, not have outstanding debts to the Commonwealth and be able to provide for their parents’ needs in terms of food, clothing and shelter.  Processed within several months, parents can obtain a visa for 3 or 5 years and may extend for up to 10 years (assuming criteria continues to be met).

Whilst this visa is a great long-term option for parents without the balance of family in Australia, it is also a valuable strategy for those applying for the Contributory Parent visa. 

As we know, the Contributory category provides a ‘fast track’ alternative to the Parent / Aged Parent visas. But, with a wait time of five years or more, many parents are keen to start their life in Australia now, and want more than the 12 months offered by the Tourist visa.

For Contributory Parent applicants who applied offshore, after applying for that visa, they may also apply for the Sponsored Temporary Visa. This would allow them to travel to Australia to live for three or five years whilst their Contributory application is under process, and then depart for the visa grant at the appropriate time. 

We can choose the right option for you


Finding the most strategic option to suit your family’s needs can be confusing. That’s where we come in. 

With over 30 years of experience, your parents’ future in Australia is safe in our hands. We understand that everyone’s story is different. 

If you’re not sure where to start, download our handbook ‘Reunite with your Parents’ and receive a step-by-step guide to get you started.

Or,  book an appointment with us today to discuss your needs and we will create your own MAP: Migration Action Plan, ensuring your move to Australia is seamless and stress-free.

Let us take the pain out of the paperwork and guide you through the process from start to finish.