Child Visas For Australia
If your child was not included in your original visa application, they will need their own child visa for Australia. You can apply onshore or offshore. The current fee is A$ 2,370 and processing times are typically quite quick.
A Child Visa allows a parent to sponsor their child/children to join them in Australia, and makes it possible for them to travel to and live indefinitely there.
When applying for a permanent or temporary visa to Australia, children of applicants are almost always included in the application. However, there are exceptions where children may be added after a visa application or grant. These include unborn children (where the visa applicant becomes pregnant during or after the application process or visa grant), children of permanent or temporary residents who are born outside of Australia and were not previously included on a visa application.
A child, who was not on the original visa application, and who is born outside of Australia to parents who are permanent residents does not automatically acquire Australian citizenship and will need to apply for permanent residence to be able to enter Australia with their parents. The child/children will also be required to meet the health requirements as well as character requirements if the child is over 16 years of age.
However, children born in Australia to a parent who is an Australian citizen or permanent resident at the time of the child’s birth, will automatically acquire Australian citizenship. Similarly, children who are born outside of Australia to Australian citizens or citizens by descent can also apply for Australian citizenship.
Who can sponsor a child?
A child can be sponsored by an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen. In order for the sponsorship to be legal, the child must be a natural/biological child, or an adopted or step child, or a child conceived through artificial conception or under surrogacy arrangements (where there has been official court order approval). Adopted children can apply for either a Child visa or an Adoption Visa – depending on when the parent/s became permanent residents or Australian citizens.
Who is eligible under the Child Visa?
All children up to 18 years of age of an Australian citizen, permanent resident, eligible New Zealand resident, and who were not previously included on the original visa application, may be sponsored on a Child Visa. Children who are between 18 and 25 years may also be sponsored but are subject to the following conditions:
– That they have not yet turned 25 years of age
– That they are fully financially dependent on the sponsoring parent/s
– That they prove they are in full-time education
– That they are not married, engaged or in a de facto relationship nor do they have dependent children themselves.
– That they meet health and character requirements
There are some exceptions to these rules, including where a child over the age of 18 has a disability and is unable to work.
Having a baby during or after a visa application – some common questions.
What happens if I become pregnant during my visa application?
If you becomes pregnant before the lodgement of a permanent or temporary visa, evidence needs to be provided, such as a letter from a doctor or midwife showing expected birth date. Applicants may request for the visa application to be put on hold until the baby is born. This also avoids the issue of the mother having an x ray whilst pregnant. Once the baby is born, the passport and birth certificate will be submitted with the other family members as well as completing medical requirements.
What if my visa has been granted and I become pregnant, but have not left the UK yet?
If you become pregnant and you have already completed the medical requirements for the visa application and a visa has been granted, you must ensure that you activate your visa before expiry of the activation date as the initial entry date to Australia cannot be changed. Check with your doctor or midwife that you are allowed to fly! Generally speaking it is not advised to fly after 36 weeks of pregnancy and some airlines have restrictions for women in their third trimester.
What if I have already activated my visa for permanent residency and returned to the UK. Should I stay in the UK to have my baby?
Alternatively, if you have already activated your visa, but you returned to the UK to have your baby, or become pregnant on your return to the UK, you have the choice to return to Australia to have your baby, or remain in the UK for the birth.
If your baby is born in Australia, they will automatically become an Australian citizen (they can also get British citizenship too). If your baby is born in the UK, you will need to apply for a Child Visa. You can do this from the UK – and current processing times can be quite quick.
Whichever decision you make, you will need to weigh up the issues of health, cost and where you wish your child to be born.
It’s worth bearing in mind that all applications for sponsored children born outside of Australia to non-Australian citizens will incur costs and be subject to medical and character (if over the age of 16) requirements.
If your child is over 18 and wants to join you
You can sponsor your child to Australia, as long as you can provide proof that they are financially dependent on you and are not working. If they are students, you will need to show that you pay maintenance and/or university fees. Your child cannot be married, engaged or in a de facto relationship for this purpose. Your child must be sponsored before they reach their 25th birthday. They will need to make a valid application for residence and meet health and character requirements.
Parental permission for under 18s
You must have consent from the other parent before your child can join you in Australia, if they are under 18 years of age. They will need to make a valid application and meet health and character requirements. Australia takes the care and custody of children under the age of 18 very seriously and all children do require the permission of both parents to apply for a Child Visa. If consent is forthcoming this can easily be done by using Form 1229, otherwise a Court Order may well be required.
Applying for a Child Visa can be fairly simple, depending on your personal circumstances. It’s always advisable to get professional advice and guidance if your situation is not so straightforward.
This article originally appeared in Australia & New Zealand Magazine