The Aged Dependent Relative visa (subclass 838) is a permanent visa that allows some older people who meet age requirements to stay in Australia if they rely on an eligible relative in Australia to provide financial support.
You must be in Australia when you lodge your application; and you must be in Australia when the visa is granted.
What this visa lets you do
This is a permanent visa. It allows you and your family to:
- stay in Australia indefinitely as an Australian permanent resident
- apply for Australian citizenship (if you are eligible)
- travel to and from Australia as a permanent resident for five years from the date the visa is granted - after that time you will need to apply for another visa if you want to return to Australia.
More information on
Australian permanent residence, including eligibility for government services and benefits, is available.
Before you apply
The Australian Government limits the number of Aged Dependent Relative (subclass 838) visas it grants each year.
Aged Dependent Relative visa applications are given a lower priority than other family visas, such as partner and child visas. You can find information on processing times at
Family Members, Capping and Queuing.
Usually, you and your family need to have valid passports to be granted this visa. If you plan to get a new passport, you should do so before applying for your visa. If you get a new passport after you have lodged your application, give the details of your new passport to one of
The visa application charges are listed in
Fees and charges.
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.
Do not arrange for any checks until we tell you to.
This information tells you whether you might be eligible for an Aged Dependent Relative visa (subclass 838).
You must be in Australia when you lodge your application; and you must be in Australia when the visa is granted. This applies to all applicants for the visa.
Who is eligible for this visa
You might be able to get this visa if you:
- are sponsored by a relative or their partner who lives in Australia
- do not have a spouse or de facto partner
- meet the
- meet the
- have someone who will provide an assurance of support
- meet health and character requirements.
You should not apply for this visa unless you believe you are likely to be successful, as the visa application charge you pay will not usually be refunded if you withdraw your application or it is refused.
Your sponsor in Australia
You must be sponsored by the relative on whom you are financially dependent, and who has provided this support for a reasonable period (usually three years) before you lodge your application. Their partner can also be your sponsor.
Your sponsoring relative or their partner must be:
To be considered an aged dependent relative you must not be married or in a de facto relationship.
You must be able to demonstrate that you have been wholly or substantially dependent on your relative in Australia for financial support for your basic needs of food, shelter and clothing, or because you have a disability which prevents you from working. This support must have been continuing for at least three (3) years before your application is lodged.
You must be old enough to be granted an
aged pension under the
Social Security Act 1991. See
Department of Human Services website for more information.
You must meet certain
health requirements. The results are usually valid for 12 months. Do not arrange a health examination until we ask you to.
This also applies to all dependent family members included in your application, whether they are migrating or not.
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, since you turned 16 years of age. Do not arrange for police certificates until we ask you to.
This also applies to all family members listed in the application, who are 16 years of age or older, whether they are migrating or not.
Sign the Australian Values Statement
You must sign an
Australian Values Statement to confirm that you will respect the Australian way of life and obey Australian laws. The statement is included in the visa application form. You must have read, or had explained to you, the
Life in Australia book before you sign the statement.
This applies to all migrating family members listed in the application who are 18 years of age or older.
Debts to the Australian Government
You must have no outstanding debts to the Australian Government or have arranged to repay any outstanding debts to the Australian Government before this visa can be granted.
This also applies to all dependent family members listed in the application, when they are migrating or not.
You 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 your application
You can include your dependent children and other dependent relatives as applicants in your visa application.
These family members must meet the requirements for
including family members in your application. The application must include documentary evidence of their relationship to you.
After you applied for this visa but before a decision is made, your dependent family members can be added to your application.
How to apply
This information explains what you need to do to apply for an Aged Dependent Relative visa (subclass 838). You must be in Australia when you lodge your application.
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.
Complete the application forms
Complete the following forms in English to apply for this visa:
If you have any dependent family members who are 18 years of age or older, you must complete:
If you have any dependent family members who are 18 years of age or older, complete:
Your sponsor must complete:
Lodge all the forms together. Pay the first instalment of the visa application charge when you apply.
Lodge your application in person, via courier or by post at an
office of Immigration and Border Protection in Australia - attention Child and Other Family Processing centre.
Email enquiry form:
Child and Other Family Processing Centre Enquiry Form
You can pay by credit card, bank cheque or money order made payable to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
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 acknowledge that we have received your information.
Wait for a decision
We assess applications for this visa in the order in which they are lodged, see
Other Family Visa Queue and in accordance with any relevant Ministerial Directions.
There is high demand for family migration visas and only a limited number of places are available. Applications for this visa are subject to capping and queuing arrangements. This means your application is considered in two stages:
- Your application is assessed against the core requirements for this visa. It is then either placed in a queue to wait for a visa place to become available, or it is refused. If it is placed in a queue, we will tell you your 'queue date'. In the interest of fairness and equity, we are not able to move your application ahead of others in the queue even if there are compelling and compassionate circumstances.
- When a visa place becomes available:
- we assess your application to check whether you still qualify for this visa (including health and character requirements and an assurance of support)
- if you qualify for the visa, we ask for the second instalment of the visa application charge
- we make a final decision about your visa application.
When you apply for this visa in Australia, you could be eligible for a Bridging visa that allows you to stay in the country lawfully while your application is processed. If you are given a Bridging visa A, you can apply for
Bridging visa B to travel outside Australia while you wait for a decision.
If your visa is granted, you must be in Australia when it is 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.
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.
Assurance of support
A person or organisation must give you an assurance of support. They can be your sponsor or another person. Up to three people can provide an assurance of support for you.
An assurance of support is a legal commitment to provide you with financial support so you do not have to rely on social security payments.
The assurance covers you and the family members included in your application.
An assurer must:
- lodge a bond for each applicant 18 years of age or older, which is:
- AUD5000 — for the main applicant
- AUD2000 — for each adult family member included in your application
- repay any recoverable social security payments you receive in the first two years of living in Australia.
If the assurer is an organisation, a larger bond is required for each application.
The bond is refunded at two years after your visa has been granted. Any debts to the government are deducted from the bond and only the balance is refunded.
We will tell you how and when to lodge an assurance of support after your application has been assessed and is released from the queue for final processing.
More information about the assurance of support and how much you should pay is at the
Department of Human Services.
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.
You can remove one or more applicants and still continue with your visa application. Let us know in writing if you wish to do this. Include the signature of the person you are removing from your application if they are 18 or older.
You must be in Australia on the date your visa is granted.
If the visa is granted, we will send you a letter or email to tell you:
- when you can use the visa
- the visa grant number.
You will not have a visa label placed in your passport.
If the visa is not granted, we will send you a letter or email advising:
- why the visa was refused
- your review rights (if any)
- the time limit for lodging a request for review of the decision (if applicable).
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.
The checklist provides the details of the documents you are expected to include with your application. Your application could be delayed if you do not lodge complete forms and relevant documents to prove your claims.
Complete this form if it applies:
- For anyone included in the application who is 18 years of age or older and is not your partner:
Form 47a Details of child or other dependent family member aged 18 years or over (238 kB PDF).
- Pay the first instalment of the visa application charge.
The second instalment of the visa application charge will be requested before the visa is granted. If you do not pay this charge, your visa application will be refused.
- If someone gives you advice or lodges your application for you:
- If you would like someone else to receive correspondence from us on your behalf:
- Certified copies of the biographical pages of the current passports or travel documents of all people included in the application (these are the pages with the holder's photo and personal details and the issue/expiry dates).
A certified copy of your birth certificate showing both parents' names. (This is required for each person included in the application.) If you do not have a birth certificate and are unable to get one, you must provide a certified copy of the identification pages of at least one of the following documents:
- family book showing both parents' names
- identification document issued by the government
- documents issued by a court that verify your identity.
If you are unable to provide one of these documents, you must provide other acceptable evidence that you are who you claim to be.
A copy of the birth certificates is required for each person included in the application.
- two recent passport-sized photographs (45 mm x 35 mm) of each person included in the application.
- These photographs should be of the head and shoulders only against a plain background.
- Print the name of the person on the back of each photograph.
You must also include photographs of non-migrating dependent family members.
- If your name has changed or the name of anyone included in your application has changed: a certified copy of evidence of the name change.
- If you or anyone included in the application has been widowed, divorced or permanently separated: a certified copy of the death certificate, divorce documents, or statutory declaration separation documents.
- Evidence of your relationship to your sponsor (certified copy of birth certificate, marriage certificates, death certificates, adoption certificates, or family status certificates or family books – if these documents are officially issued and maintained).
- Evidence of your financial dependency on your relative in Australia for a reasonable period (usually three years) before lodging the visa application.
- Evidence that your sponsor is an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen.
- Evidence that your sponsor is usually resident and settled in Australia.
- 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:
- family book showing both parents’ names
- identification document issued by the government
- document issued by a court that verifies the child’s identity.
If relevant, provide the same documents for anyone included as a dependent child of your child in the application.
- If any dependent child included in the application is adopted: certified copies of the adoption papers.
- If any dependent child is aged 18 years of over, evidence such as:
- current enrolment into full-time tertiary studies
- bank records
- other financial statements
- If you want to bring a child younger than 18 years of age with you to Australia, and that child’s other parent is not included in the application: documentary evidence that you have the legal right to bring that child to Australia, such as:
- 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.
- 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
This information is for a person who wants to sponsor an Aged Dependent Relative visa (subclass 838).
Who can sponsor a family member
You can sponsor a family member for this visa if you are their relative and they are dependent on you financially.
They must be able to demonstrate that they have been dependent on you for financial support for a reasonable period (usually three years) before lodging the application. Your partner can be the sponsor, provided you live together.
To be a sponsor, you must be:
- 18 years of age or older
- usually resident and settled in Australia
- an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident, or an
eligible New Zealand citizen.
You can use
Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) for free to check your visa details and entitlements.
You must also:
- agree in writing to help provide accommodation and financial assistance for your relative and any accompanying family members for their first two years in Australia.
Eligible New Zealand citizens will also need to meet health and character requirements.
For two years after your relative is granted this visa and arrives in Australia, you must continue to help them and their accompanying family members settle in Australia by providing (if necessary):
- financial assistance.
Assurance of support
If you have also provided an assurance of support, you must support your relative and their family for two years after their visa is granted:
- providing financial support so they do not have to rely on any government forms of income support
- repaying the Australian Government for any social security payments
- paying a refundable bond before the visa is granted.