Applying for a protection visa

This page contains information about the visa options available to you if you are an illegal maritime arrival (IMA), how claims for protection are processed and current laws and regulations about protection visa applications.

For detailed information about the protection visa application process, read the Protection Application Information and Guides (PAIG). These are also available in a range of languages.

A very small number of illegal arrivals are eligible for the Primary Application Information Service (PAIS). PAIS is a Government-funded service to help certain illegal arrivals apply for a protection visa. For more information, read PAIG: Support in applying for a protection visa.

Visa options for illegal maritime arrivals

There are two types of protection visas available to you if you arrived in Australia illegally:

You could be granted a TPV or SHEV if:

  • you arrived in Australia illegally
  • you lodge a valid application
  • you are assessed as engaging Australia’s protection obligations
  • you meet other requirements, such as health, security, and character checks.

There are certain other criteria that applies for a SHEV.

To find out more, read: PAIG: Visa options for illegal arrivals seeking protection.

Unaccompanied minors

If you are an IMA under the age of 18 years and arrived in Australia without a parent or legal guardian, specific information is available about applying for a protection visa.

The Fast Track Assessment process

Your protection visa application will be assessed under the Fast Track Assessment process if you:

  • arrived on or after 13 August 2012 and before 1 January 2014
  • have never been taken to a Regional Processing Centre
  • were allowed to make a valid protection visa application by the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection
  • lodged a valid protection visa application on or after 18 April 2015.

Applications requiring further assessment

Reassessment of cases affected by the SZQRB Full Federal Court judgment

The SZQRB Full Federal Court judgment found that the wrong legal test was applied and procedural fairness was denied in the International Treaties Obligations Assessment (ITOA) for a person known as SZQRB. Other people who had cases similar to SZQRB were also affected by this judgment. These cases will be reassessed using the correct legal test and with proper procedural fairness.

Website privacy breach

In February 2014, a routine report was released on our website that unintentionally allowed access to personal information about people who were in immigration detention on 31 January 2014. This information was accessible online for a short period of time before it was removed from our website. If this included your details, information is available about how to give us any protection claims related to the website privacy breach.