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Overstaying Your Visa

Australian Visa regulations

The Australian laws regarding Overstaying Your visas are outlined in the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) and the Migration Regulations 1994 (Cth). When you apply for a visa to come to Australia, you agree to comply with all of the conditions of that visa, including the requirement that you leave Australia before your visa expires. If you remain in Australia after your visa has expired you will be considered an unlawful non-citizen. An unlawful non-citizen can be detained and then deported from Australia and the Australian government can recover the costs of doing so from them.

If you are in Australia and your visa will be expiring soon you should resolve your immigration status before your current visa expires. You may be able to extend your current visa, apply for a bridging visa or apply for a different class of visa, depending upon the reasons why you want to extend your stay in Australia.

When overstaying your visa, it is important that you contact the Immigration Department immediately and they can advise you of your options. Overstaying your visa can have significant consequences if you want to return to Australia in the future for any reason. If your visa has expired and you have purchased a ticket to another country you should not go to the airport and attempt to leave normally as you may be arrested and taken to a detention centre. You should take your ticket with you to the Department of Immigration and apply for a Bridging Visa E on form 1008. This will most likely be granted and you will usually be allowed to stay until your flight date.

Overstaying Your Visa less than 28 days

You may be able to apply to remain in Australia because of your relationship with an Australian citizen or permanent resident if your visa has been expired for less than 28 days and provided you can meet certain other criteria. It may be in your interests to seek legal advice on this. If you are willing to sort out your visa status you will be referred to the Community Status Resolution Service who can help you with your immigration matters. If you contact them within 28 days of your visa expiring, you may have the option of extending your visa or applying for a bridging visa while your application for a further visa is considered.

Overstaying Your Visa more than 28 days

If you remain in Australia illegally for more than 28 days after your visa has expired, any future application for an Australian visa will be subject to an exclusion period. That means that you will be unable to be granted a visa to travel to or to stay in Australia for a minimum of three years. This period will apply even if you left Australia voluntarily. Further, even after this three year periodhas finished, you will not be able to get another visa unless you repay any debts you owe to the Commonwealth Government. This will include the costs of detaining you and removing you from the country if you have not already paid them. However, even if you have overstayed your visa by more than 28 days you may still have other options available to you. You should seek legal advice as to your options.

Further Visa Options

You may be able to apply for a bridging visa whilst the Immigration Department finalises your immigration matter which will give you time to apply for a different visa. Your new visa options will depend on whether or not you have been refused a visa since you arrived in Australia (other than a bridging visa) and the amount of time you have overstayed your visa. If you have been refused a visa, or if your visa has been cancelled, you will only be able to apply for a protection visa, a temporary visa to holiday, work or study if you are a New Zealand citizen, or some Partner visas or Child visas. If you have previously been refused a protection visa you cannot apply for another protection visa unless you leave the country and make your application from outside. You can only apply for a partner visa if you can show that you became an unlawful citizen and were guilty of overstaying your visa because of factors that were beyond your control.

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