Getting help to apply for a visa

Using a registered migration agent

If you choose to use a migration agent you should use a registered migration agent.
See: Office of Migration Agents Registration Authority

Only a registered migration agent can provide immigration assistance for a fee or reward.

Immigration assistance

Under section 276 of the Migration Act 1958, ‘immigration assistance’ is when a person uses knowledge of, or experience in, migration procedures to:

  • help to prepare a visa application
  • advise a visa applicant about his/her visa application
  • help to prepare a document in connection with sponsorship of an applicant or their sponsor
  • prepare for proceedings or represent applicants before a court or review authority.

Activities not regarded as ‘immigration assistance’ are:

  • clerical work to prepare or help prepare an application or other document
  • providing translation or interpretation services to help prepare an application or other document
  • advising a person that they must apply for a visa
  • passing on information produced by a third person, without giving substantial comment or explanation.

Detailed information on what immigration assistance is and who can provide it is available.

For further information please see the department’s video Are you giving migration advice?

People who can assist you without being registered (exempt persons)

The following exempt persons may help you if they do not charge a fee:

  • your partner, parent, brother, sister, child or adopted child
  • sponsors and nominators
  • parliamentarians and their staff
  • officials whose duties include providing immigration assistance
  • members of diplomatic missions, consular posts or international organisations.

They will need to use Form 956 – Advice by a migration agent/exempt person of providing immigration assistance (295KB PDF) to notify us they are acting on your behalf.

Role of the exempt person

If you appoint an exempt person to act on your behalf, we will discuss your application with them, seek further information from them and (if also appointed as your authorised recipient) send them any written communication which would otherwise have been sent to you.

If you withdraw or terminate the appointment of your exempt person, you must advise us in writing or use Form 956A - Appointment or withdrawal of an authorised recipient (300KB PDF).

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