If you’re an Australian citizen and you’d like to bring your elderly parents to Australia to live with you, there are several options you can choose from to get this process going.

One option is the Aged Parent Visa, which allows you to bring your parents to Australia permanently, giving them the chance to apply for citizenship and become eligible for Medicare and other benefits.

Parents living on an Aged Parent Visa can themselves sponsor other family members to move to Australia and live with you. It’s a good option if you have the time to wait for approval, although the waitlist can sometimes reach up to 30 years.

Choices for visa application

The benefits of receiving approval are quite nice when you don’t want to have to worry about arranging care for your parents in another country. However, there are alternative paths to citizenship you might want to learn about if you don’t have time to wait or would rather your family be together sooner.

The Contributory Aged Parent Visa is essentially the same document as the Aged Parent Visa, but it has a very short waiting list. The catch is that this visa comes at a cost. The amount you pay depends on your parents’ age and the assurance of support you offer in the application; it usually adds up to several thousand dollars.

The Contributory Aged Parent Visa takes about two years to be approved, and according to the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection, its costs go towards paying the additional healthcare expenses asked of the community.

The costs aren’t unreasonable, considering that the alternative could be to wait several decades before reuniting with your family.

Ensure the fastest approval time

Whether you choose the Aged Parent Visa or the Contributory version, you must be an Australian resident who has lived in the country for the two years prior to submitting an application.

The government makes this rule to prevent people from sponsoring their parents for a visa when they haven’t been contributing to the Australian economy or paying taxes.

When it comes to choosing a version of the visa, you should consider that the non-contributory version is highly sought-after, and a great number people sponsor their parents to receive it. Its popularity is the reason the waiting list is so long and perhaps the reason the government offers a paid option to get the process moving more quickly.

There are costs associated with the non-contributory visa, but they’re minor in comparison to the contributory version. They mostly amount to some small processing fees, but you may also have to pay for a health exam, a police certificate and other tests and forms as deemed necessary by the immigration authorities.

You will also have to make an assurance of support by placing a bond on your parents to show that you intend to provide financial support for them.

Additional points to consider

There are a few slightly unpleasant formalities that the Australian government insists on upholding.

For example, your parents will have to pass health tests, have no outstanding debt to the Australian government and be in general good standing with the governments of any other countries in which they’ve lived.

In other words, they will have to provide police certificates from their past countries of residence to show that they’re law-abiding people.

Another requirement of the visa is that the majority of your parents’ children live in Australia. The official wording is that at least half of their children must live in Australia, or more of their children must live in Australia than in any other country. It’s called the Balance of Family Test, and it is a strict requirement that can’t be waived.

The Australian government is strict when it comes to approving the Aged Parent Visa, and the process happens in two stages. The first stage determines whether your application meets the basic requirements to go to the queue.

If it does, you’ll be notified of how long you can expect to wait. There is no possibility of moving ahead in the queue, no matter how urgent the circumstances may be. In this case, you may want to look for a way to pay for the contributory visa.

Have you been through this process before, can you offer any of your experiences and tips? Please leave in the comments below.

Main image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
  • It must be hard having parents overseas. Glad there is some options for those who would love their parents closer,


  • looks great


  • wow all these comments really paint a different story of this process!


  • A very informative article – thanks


  • I know lots of people who have brought other family members over to Australia.. It can be a long tedious process so be prepared!


  • My ex partner was German and wanted to stay in Australia. Unfortunately he had the option of going away into the dessert region of remote Australia or doing hard labour, because his qualification of landscaper wasn’t on the list of current required occupations. In his country he has to work in below zero conditions in the outdoors just to scrap by and afford what they call a flat. My ex partner who is a French dr of science also took me to court and tried to take full custody of my son. I wasn’t eligible for legal aide and paid $30,000 to get my son and was bankrupted by the kind dr and his foreign wife who are in comparison quite wealthy. I seen on the news at the time that refugees were being given free lawyers as apparently their human rights were denied. Where were my basic human rights? My own country has failed me twice now, so please excuse me if my heart doesn’t exactly bleed for the denial of new arrivals.


  • Oh this is such a very useful article!


  • I think this is joke saying bring your family parent into Australia. Even you have most family member. If you apply legal way you could have to wait 30 years buy the time your parent get PR. We might have to take approval letter to their grave yard. Even, we have more family member here parent visitor visa also get rejected. Regardless they have been in a Country number of time and left the country on time. I thinks this parent visa not for us who can offered over $100000 to bring them.


  • this is a good business of relationship made up of love and affection. Immigration is playing with the emotion. for non contributory option you need to spend around 3 t0 5 thousand dollars where as for contributory parent visa, it’s around 50 thousand dollars per person. So i had to think twice to see my parents permanently, to look after them and to share happiness living in Australia. This is 100000 thousand dollars mate. after everyday living expanse, it will take only 6 YEARS for me to save that 100000 dollars.
    And i’m sure father is not last that long. you know what, if my father dies in the application process, the whole money will be forfeited. NICE emotoinal Gamble played by Australian Immigration authority.


  • De ar Sir, The foreigner who is first entering Australia and getting a job is by chance and not by choice.After fullfilling all formalities, my son secured a job on his own withinthe stipulated time and after two years he became PR and after 5 years he now citizen of Australia. Nodoubt with the help of Govt. liberal policies, he and his wife are employed. Now he wants to take care of his elderly parents who are staying alone leaving the only son at India, a member of common wealth country. Shelling out huge amount for bringing us to Australia is not worth, as we do not know who long we will alive in the world. Therefore the Govt. should lenient and do not put any financial burden for australian citizens who migrated fromcommonwealth countries to this country and give liberty to live with their children peacefullyin the tail end of their life. The govt should consider this request so that many aged parents will be happy.


  • Thanks for this article. I have been wanting my parents to migrate and stay with us for many years but, unfortunately we don’t meet the ‘balance of family’ test. Which in fact is so annoying and unfair because we pay family support money to my family overseas every month and additionally incur substantial cost to pay for our young kids in Australia ( childcare, after school care, vacation care, nanny etc…). Entire deal/cost is like a double edge sword – we are drowning ourselves in cost and eventually one of us ( me or my wife) will have to give up working, which means the government gets no tax!!. Instead if we were allowed to bring our parents here ( as contributory parents – we dont mind paying the $80K or $100K upfront) but it would make our lives easy, our parents will be able to live with us and help us look after our kids AND, Australian govt gets assurance that both me and my wife will be working full time and paying TAX…


  • Hello, just a quick question, if you bring your parents from say the Middle East, how long before they can receive the aged pension?.


  • just one question, if you’re parents are from the middle east, how long does it take before they can receive the aged pension?.


  • From my understanding the Aged Parent Visa is not anymore available.
    So this article seems outdated!


  • Interesting read, thanks for sharing.


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