Individuals and Travellers

Orphan Relative visa (subclass 117)

Features

​​​This visa allows a child to travel to and live permanently in Australia with their sponsoring relative.​

Requirements

This visa is for a child who is:

  • applying outside Australia
  • an orphan, or their parents are unable to care for them
  • younger than 18 years of age
  • sponsored by their relative who is an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen
  • single.

About this visa

An Orphan Relative visa (subclass 117) is for a child whose parents are dead, permanently incapacitated or of unknown whereabouts. It allows a child in this situation to travel to and stay permanently with their sponsoring relative in Australia.

The sponsoring relative usually applies on behalf of the child. The child must be outside Australia when the application is lodged and when the application is decided.

More information

More information is available from the Child Migration booklet.

What this visa lets you do

This is a permanent residence visa. It allows you and any family members who have also been granted this visa to:

  • travel to and stay in Australia indefinitely
  • work and study in Australia
  • enrol in Medicare, Australia's scheme for health-related care and expenses
  • apply for Australian citizenship (if you are eligible)
  • sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence
  • travel to and from Australia for five years from the date the visa is granted (after that time, you will need a resident return visa or another visa to return to Australia).

Cost

The visa application charges are listed in Fees and charges.

Other costs

You might have to pay other costs, such as the costs of health assessments, police certificates, or any other certificates or tests. You are responsible for making the necessary arrangements.

Visa applicants

This information tells you what you need to do to apply for an Orphan Relative visa (subclass 117).

Who could get this visa

To apply for this visa, a child must:

  • lodge their application outside Australia
  • be younger than 18 years old
  • be sponsored by their relative who is:
    • the brother, sister, grandparent, aunt, uncle or step-equivalent of the child
    • older than 18 years of age
    • an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen
  • not be married or in a de facto relationship
  • be in the situation where their parents are unable to care for them
  • meet health and character requirements.

The child’s parents

A child can apply for this visa if their parents are not able to care for them. This could be because the parents:

  • are dead
  • are incapable of caring for the child
  • cannot be found.

A child cannot apply for this visa if their parents could care for them but do not want to.

If the parents cannot be found, the application will need to show how long they have been missing and what has been done to try to find them.

Parental responsibility

This visa can be granted only if you can show one of the following for a child younger than 18 years of age:

  • you have the written consent of each person who can legally decide where the child lives
  • the laws of the child’s home country permit the removal of the child
  • it is consistent with any Australian child order.

The documents checklist lists you the documents you must provide with your application to support this claim.

Best interests of the child

This visa will not usually be granted if it is against the best interests of a child younger than 18 years of age.

Measures for the Protection of Children has more information.

Assurance of support

We might ask for an assurance of support for the child so that welfare costs for some migrants are not borne by the Australian community.

Do not provide an assurance of support unless we ask for one and tell you what you need to do.

Health requirements

The child must meet certain health requirements. Do not arrange a health examination until we ask you to.

This applies to the child and any dependent family members listed in the application, whether they are migrating or not.

Character requirements

A child older than 16 years of age must meet certain character requirements. They must be prepared to provide a police certificate from each country they have lived in for 12 months or more during the past 10 years after they turned 16 years of age. Do not arrange for police certificates until we ask you to. This applies to the child and any dependent family members listed in the application, whether they are migrating or not.

Debts to the Australian Government

The child must have no outstanding debts to the Australian Government or have arranged to repay any outstanding debts to the Australian Government.

Provide biometrics

The child might be asked to provide biometrics (a scientific form of identification) as part of the application. Countries and visa subclasses included in the biometrics program has more information.

​Including family in the application

You can include a child’s dependents in the visa application if they are the child’s:

  • dependent children
  • other dependent relatives.

These family members must meet the requirements for including family members in your application. The application must include documentary evidence of their relationship to the child.​​

The child’s siblings must lodge their own applications.

How to apply

This information explains what you need to do to apply for an Orphan Relative visa (subclass 117).

It is usually the sponsoring relative who prepares the relevant documents and lodges the application.

The child must be outside Australia when the application is lodged and when the application is decided.

Prepare your documents

You need to provide documents to prove the claims you make in the application. The documents are listed in the Document checklist.

Some documents could take some time to obtain. You should have them ready when you lodge the application to reduce any delays in processing.

Lodge the application

Complete and lodge two forms.

The child or their sponsor should complete:

  • Form 47CHApplication for migration to Australia by a child (333 kB PDF).

Sponsors should complete:

  • Form 40CHSponsorship for a child to migrate to Australia (297 kB PDF).

The forms must be completed in English.

Provide all relevant documents and pay the visa application charge when you apply.

Lodge your application at one of the immigration offices outside Australia, which will tell you how you can pay. There is also further information available on the methods of payment accepted by our offices.

More information

Please refer to preparing your application, for information on certifying and translating documents into English, communicating with us, using a migration agent, authorising another person to receive information from us, and receiving assistance with your application.​​​​

After you have applied

After you have lodged your application and documents, we will let you know that we have received your information.

Wait for a decision

We have visa processing time service standards for each visa.

Your application could take longer if the child needs character or health checks (including x-rays), you need to provide more information, or the application is incomplete.

Do not arrange for the child to travel to Australia until you are advised in writing that the visa has been granted.

Provide more information

You can provide more information to us, at any time until a decision is made on the application. If you want to correct information you provided, use:

We could also ask you for more information. You will have to respond by a set date. After that date, we can make a decision about your application using the information that we have.

If another person gives us information that could result in you being refused a visa, we will usually give you the opportunity to comment on the information.

You might also be interviewed. If you are asked to attend an interview in person, bring your passport or other identification and any requested documents to the interview.

Withdrawing your application

​You can withdraw the application at any time before we make a decision about it. To do this, send us a letter or email to ask for the withdrawal. Your request must include your full name and date of birth. You should also include your file reference number, client ID, or a Transaction Reference Number.

​​​All applicants 18 years of age or older, wishing to withdraw, must sign the request for withdrawal.​​​​​​

We will not usually refund your visa application charge if you withdraw your application.

Report changes in circumstances

You must tell us if your circumstances change.  This includes a new residential address, a new passport, or a pregnancy, birth, divorce, separation, marriage, de facto relationship or death in your family.

Please report changes in your circumstances via ImmiAccount.  If you are not able to use ImmiAccount, you can use the following forms:

If you do not provide us with the details of any new passport issued to you, you could experience significant delays at the airport and may be denied permission to board your plane.
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Visa decision

If the visa is granted, we will let you know:

  • when you can use the visa
  • the visa grant number
  • any conditions attached to the visa.

You will not have a visa label placed in your passport.

If the visa is not granted, we will let you know:

  • why the visa was refused
  • your review rights (if any). Where applicable, your sponsor can apply for the decision to be reviewed
  • the time limit for lodging an appeal.

Document checklist

You need to provide documents to support your application for this visa. We can make a decision using the information you provide when you lodge your application. It is in your interest to provide as much information as possible with your application.

Provide certified copies of original documents. Do not include original documents unless we specifically ask for them. Police certificates should be original documents. Documents not in English must be accompanied by accredited English translations.

Use this checklist to make sure your application is complete.

Forms

  • Complete the application forms and lodge them together:
    • Form 40CHSponsorship for a child to migrate to Australia (297 kB PDF)
    • Form 47CHApplication for migration to Australia by a child(333 kB PDF).

Receiving assistance

You must tell us if your circumstances change.  This includes a new residential address, a new passport, or a pregnancy, birth, divorce, separation, marriage, de facto relationship or death in your family.

Please report changes in your circumstances via ImmiAccount.  If you are not able to use ImmiAccount, you can use the following forms:

If you do not provide us with the details of any new passport issued to you, you could experience significant delays at the airport and may be denied permission to board your plane.
​​​​​

Charges

The character requirement

  • Police checks for everyone included in the visa application who is 16 years of age or older:
    • an Australian National Police Check for anyone who has spent a cumulative total of 12 months or more in Australia since turning 16 years of age
    • police certificates from each country in which anyone in your application has spent a cumulative total of 12 months or more in the past 10 years since turning 16 years of age.

Provide the original certificates and keep a copy for yourself.

Documents for the child

  • Two recent passport-sized photographs (45 mm x 35 mm) of the child (four photos if health examinations have not been completed).
    • These photographs should be of the head and shoulders only against a plain background.
    • Print the name of the child on the back of each photograph.
  • Certified copy of the child’s birth registration showing both parents’ names. If you cannot get this document, provide a certified copy of the identification pages of at least one of the following documents:
    • passport
    • family book showing both parents’ names
    • identification document issued by the government
    • document issued by a court that verifies the child’s identity.
  • If the child’s name has changed or the name of anyone included in the child’s application has changed: a certified copy of evidence of the name change.
  • Documents to show the child’s relationship to the sponsor, such as a birth certificate of the child’s natural or adoptive parents and the sponsor’s birth certificate that indicates sibling relationship.
  • If one or both parents are dead, a death certificate, other official document, or another document to verify this.
  • If one or both parents’ whereabouts are unknown, evidence of how long they have been missing and what efforts have been made to contact or find them.
  • If one or both parents are permanently incapacitated, evidence showing why they are unable to care for the child. For example, if a parent has a physical or mental illness that stops them from being able to care for the child, provide a medical report to verify this.
  • If anyone included in the application has served in the armed forces of any country: certified copies of their military service record or discharge papers.

Documents for the sponsor

  • Evidence that the sponsor has the legal right to decide where the child is to live, such as:
    • certified copies of official legal documents, such as a court-issued custody, access or guardianship order
    • astatutory declaration from each person with a legal responsibility to the child stating that they have no objection to the child’s migration
    • Form 1229 Consent form to grant an Australian visa to a child under the age of 18 years (125 kB PDF).
      If you use Form 1229 or a statutory declaration, you will have to attach a certified copy of the other parent’s government-issued identification document (such as a passport or drivers licence) with their photograph and signature.
  • Evidence that the sponsor is a settled Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen. Evidence can include a certified copy of:
    • a birth certificate
    • an Australian passport or foreign passport containing evidence of permanent residence
    • an Australian citizenship certificate
    • for New Zealand citizens, evidence of length of residence in Australia and of continuing links with Australia.
  • If the sponsor has paid child support or given an assurance of support for anyone else, the sponsor must provide a statement that shows:
    • the sponsor’s relationship with that other person or those people
    • the dates of lodgement of any sponsorship or nominations (including any current sponsorship) or assurances of support
    • the amount and frequency of child support payments.

Visa holders

This information is for those who have been granted an Orphan Relative visa (subclass 117). It explains your rights and obligations.

You can use Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) for free to check your visa details and entitlements.

What this visa lets you do

This is a permanent residence visa. It allows you and any family members who have also been granted this visa to:

  • travel to and stay in Australia indefinitely
  • work and study in Australia
  • enrol in Medicare, Australia's scheme for health-related care and expenses
  • apply for Australian citizenship (if you are eligible)
  • sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence
  • travel to and from Australia for five years from the date the visa is granted (after that time, you will need a resident return visa or another visa to return to Australia).

The child’s obligations

The child must comply with all Australian laws and all visa conditions. This includes:

  • entering Australia by a set date
  • not getting married or entering into a de facto relationship before arriving in Australia.

You must tell us in writing if circumstances change in a way that could affect the child’s eligibility for a visa, or your eligibility to sponsor the child.

Report changes in circumstances

You must tell us if your circumstances change.  This includes a new residential address, a new passport, or a pregnancy, birth, divorce, separation, marriage, de facto relationship or death in your family.

Please report changes in your circumstances via ImmiAccount.  If you are not able to use ImmiAccount, you can use the following forms:

If you do not provide us with the details of any new passport issued to you, you could experience significant delays at the airport and may be denied permission to board your plane.
​​​​​

Sponsors

This information is for a relative who wants to sponsor a child for an Orphan Relative visa (subclass 117).

Who can sponsor a child

You can sponsor a child for this visa if you are the child’s relative and the parents are dead, permanently incapacitated or cannot be located.

You can complete the visa application forms. You can include more than one child on the same application form.

To be a sponsor, you must:

  • be the brother, sister, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or step-equivalent of the child
  • have turned 18 years of age
  • usually live in Australia and have done so for a reasonable period
  • be an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen

A sponsor who is an eligible New Zealand citizen must also meet health requirements.

Parental responsibility

This visa can be granted only if you can show one of the following for a child younger than 18 years of age:

  • you have the written consent of each person who can legally decide where the child lives
  • the laws of the child’s home country permit the removal of the child
  • it is consistent with any Australian child order.

The documents checklist lists you the documents you must provide with your application to support this claim.

Best interests of the child

This visa will not usually be granted if it is against the best interests of a child younger than 18 years of age.

Measures for the Protection of Children has more information.

Character requirements

You must meet certain character requirements. You must be prepared to provide a police certificate from each country you have lived in for 12 months or more during the past 10 years after you turned 16 years of age. Do not arrange for police certificates until we ask you to.

Sponsor obligations

As the sponsoring relative you must:

  • be responsible for the cost to the Australian Government of the child living in Australia
  • provide adequate accommodation and enough financial support to meet the child's reasonable living needs for the child's first two years in Australia
  • help the child settle in Australia
  • support the child to attend any required English language classes.

You must tell us in writing if the child’s circumstances change in a way that could affect their eligibility for a visa, or your eligibility to sponsor the child.

Other obligations apply if you have agreed to provide an assurance of support for the child.

Assurance of support

We might ask for an assurance of support for the child so that welfare costs for some migrants are not borne by the Australian community.

Do not provide an assurance of support unless we ask for one and tell you what you need to do.

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Estimate the cost of your visa

* Price will be displayed in Australian dollars unless changed.
The following Visa Pricing Estimator requires you to answer the questions as accurately as possible to provide you with an estimate for lodging a visa application. The estimator does not include the second instalment of the visa application charge which is payable for some visas. Please note this is an estimate for a visa application, if you have already lodged your application and you want to change/add applicants please refer to the Visa Pricing Table. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection Visa Pricing Estimator will give you an estimate of the charges you may need to pay to lodge a visa application. This is paid after you have made your application but before the visa can be granted. Read the department's full disclaimer. The Commonwealth of Australia does not guarantee the accuracy, currency or completeness of any material in the Visa Pricing Estimator.