What if my visa application is refused or my visa is cancelled?

If your visa is refused or cancelled, you might be able to have the decision reviewed by a merits review tribunal, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

Not all decisions are reviewable by the AAT. For example, if the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection personally decides to refuse or cancel your visa under section 501 of the Migration Act 1958, you cannot apply to have a decision reviewed by the AAT.

Administrative Appeals Tribunal

If your visa is refused or cancelled, you might be able to have the decision reviewed by a merits review tribunal.

From 1 July 2015, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) will be the only merits review tribunal that can make a decision after which you can then ask the Minister to consider your case.

The AAT is an independent organisation that reviews government decisions. Within the AAT, specialist offices review specific types government decisions.

Departmental decisions are usually reviewed within the AAT’s:

  • General Division, which reviews decisions relating to:
    • character matters (including under Articles 1F, 32 or 33 of the Refugees Convention and section 501 of the Migration Act 1958)
    • citizenship matters; or
    • Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA) matters.
  • Migration and Refugee Division (MRD), which reviews decisions relating to most migration and refugee visa refusals (including refusal of sponsorship or nomination) and visa cancellations.
  • Immigration Assessment Authority, an independent office within the AAT’s MRD that reviews fast track reviewable decisions relating to certain Protection visa decisions.

If you are affected by a decision that is AAT-reviewable in the General Division or in the Migration and Refugee Division, and you intend to seek review of the decision, you must lodge your application within the legislatively prescribed time period outlined in your decision notification letter. The AAT does not have discretion to extend the time for making a valid review application.

Not all decisions are reviewable by the AAT. For example,

you cannot apply to have a decision reviewed by the AAT if the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection personally decides to refuse or cancel your visa under section 501 of the Migration Act 1958.

Note: Before 1 July 2015, a decision from a merits review tribunal included decisions from the AAT, the Migration Review Tribunal (MRT) or the Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT). For more information on why these changes took place, see “Merits Review Tribunals – 1 July 2015 changes – Client Fact Sheet”.

Frequently Asked Questions