Individuals and Travellers

In-country Special Humanitarian visa (subclass 201)

Features

​​This visa allows you to:

  • live, work and study in Australia
  • propose or sponsor family members for permanent residence.

Requirements

You might be able to get this visa if you:

  • are living in your home country
  • are subject to persecution in your home country
  • have not been able to leave that country to seek refuge elsewhere.

About this visa

​The In-country Special Humanitarian visa (subclass 201) is for you if you are living in and subject to persecution in your home country, and have not been able to leave that country to seek refuge elsewhere.

The In-country Special Humanitarian visa (subclass 201) is a permanent visa.

What this visa lets you do

This is a permanent residence visa. It allows you to:

  • stay in Australia indefinitely
  • work and study in Australia
  • enrol in Medicare, Australia’s scheme for health-related care and expenses
  • access certain social security payments
  • apply for Australian citizenship (after you have lived in Australia for four years)
  • propose family members for permanent residence
  • attend English language classes.

If you want to travel outside Australia, you will need to get a travel document. After five years, you will need a Resident Return Visa to re-enter Australia.

Before you apply

You must be outside Australia when you apply for an In-country Special Humanitarian visa (subclass 201). You must also be outside Australia when the visa is decided.

Cost

There are no costs associated with this visa.

 The Australian Government pays for:

  • travel costs to Australia
  • other costs before you leave for Australia, including medical examinations and cultural orientation.

Visa applicants

This information tells you how to apply for an In-country Special Humanitarian visa (subclass 201).

Who could get this visa

You might be able to get this visa if:

  • you are living in your home country
  • you are subject to persecution in your home country
  • you have not been able to leave that country to seek refuge elsewhere.

If a member of your immediate family was granted this visa in the past five years, they can propose you for this visa under ‘split family’ provisions. You can find more information at Proposing an Immediate Family Member ('Split Family').

Health requirements

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 applies to you and any dependent family members included in your application.

A waiver of the need to meet the health requirement is available if compassionate and compelling circumstances exist. You can find information at Health waivers.

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.

You do not need to provide a police certificate from your home country.

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.

Provide biometrics

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 the following people in your visa application at the time of lodgement:

  • your partner (married or de facto)
  • your or your partner’s dependent children
  • other dependent relatives.
​​

These family members must meet the requirements for including family members in your application, see Form 1497i Including family members in your refugee, humanitarian or protection visa application (110KB PDF). They could be asked to provide evidence of their relationship to you. This could include marriage certificates, birth certificates, joint bank accounts and other relevant documents.​​

Your family members must be able to show that they meet health and character requirements.​

Non-dependent children who want to apply for entry to Australia on humanitarian grounds must apply for this visa separately.

How to apply

This information explains what you need to do to apply for an In-country Special Humanitarian visa (subclass 201). You and anyone included in your application must be outside Australia when you apply and the visa 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 your application

You can apply for this visa using this form:

  • Form 842Application for an Offshore Humanitarian Visa (586 kB PDF).

Lodge your application form at an immigration office outside Australia.

If you have a proposer, they must lodge the application in Australia, using:

  • Form 681Refugee and special humanitarian proposal (241 kB PDF).

Your proposer should send your application form (Form 842) to you. Sign that form and return it to your proposer before they lodge the application. Your proposer should lodge the Form 681 and Form 842 together.

You can find more information at Lodging certain humanitarian applications in Australia.

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
  • receiving assistance with your application.​​​​

After you have applied

After you apply for this visa, we will let you and your proposer (if applicable) know that we have received your application.

Wait for a decision

We have visa processing times for each visa.

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

Processing times also vary according to individual and family circumstances, such as any health conditions that might require testing or treatment.

The decision process could take many months. We will contact you at key stages of processing and when a decision is made. Your proposer (if applicable) might be contacted to:

  • clarify details in the proposal
  • assess the level of help the proposer can give you.

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.

At the interview, you will be asked about:

  • your circumstances, including the reasons why you are seeking a refugee visa
  • your family composition
  • the information you have provided in your application
  • other matters relating to your application.

Report changes in your 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.​​

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.​​​​​​

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.

If the visa is refused, we will send you a letter or email stating why it was refused.

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.

​Visa application requirements differ from country to country. If you are applying outside Australia, your nearest immigrati​on office outside Australia will tell you exactly how to lodge your application and what documents to provide.

Forms

  • Form 842Application for an offshore humanitarian visa (586 kB PDF)
  • Form 681Refugee and special humanitarian proposal (241 kB PDF) (to be completed if you are being ‘proposed’ for the visa by an immediate family member in Australia).

Receiving assistance

Your humanitarian circumstances

  • A detailed written statement (in English), clearly explaining why you fear remaining in your home country.

Visas or residence permits

  • Certified copies of any visas or residence permits held by any person included in this application (if available).

Your identity

  • 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).

    or

    A statement explaining why you have no travel or identity documents.

  • Eight 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.
  • 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.

Your relationships

  • Certified copies of marriage certificates or relationship registrations for you and anyone else included in your application, even if they are not joining you in Australia.
  • If you are living in a de facto relationship: independent evidence that your relationship is genuine and continuing (for example, joint bank account statements, billing accounts in joint names or joint ownership of major assets).
  • 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 financial dependency for all your members of the family unit aged 18 or older:
    • a certified copy of their birth certificate and proof of their relationship to you
    • proof that they live in your household
    • proof that they have been financially dependent on you for at least the 12 months immediately before you lodge your application.

Your children

  • Certified copies of birth certificates or the family book showing the names of both parents of all your dependent children.
  • If any dependent child included in the application is adopted: certified copies of the adoption papers.

    or

    A written statement that explains the circumstances of adoption.

  • 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:

Character documents​

  • If you or anyone included in the application has served in the armed forces of any country: certified copies of military service record or discharge papers.

Proposer documents

  • If you are applying under the ‘split family’ provisions for immediate family members:
    • a certified copy of your proposer’s visa
    • evidence of the relationship with your proposer, such as a certified copy of marriage or birth certificate.

Visa holders

This information is for people who have already been granted an In-country Special Humanitarian visa (subclass 201). It explains your rights and obligations.

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

Support for humanitarian visa holders

You can find information about ways the Australian Government helps you prepare to travel to Australia at Refugee and Humanitarian Entry to Australia.

What this visa lets you do

This is a permanent residence visa. It allows you to:

  • stay in Australia indefinitely
  • work and study in Australia
  • enrol in Medicare, Australia’s scheme for health-related care and expenses
  • access certain social security payments
  • apply for Australian citizenship (after you have lived in Australia for four years)
  • propose family members for permanent residence
  • attend English language classes.

If you want to travel outside Australia, you will need to get a travel document. After five years, you will need a Resident Return Visa to re-enter Australia.

Your obligations

You and your family must:

  • come to Australia initially by the date specified on your visa
  • comply with all visa conditions and Australian laws.

What you need after your visa is granted but before you come to Australia

Document for travel to Australia

When your visa is granted, we will issue you with a document for travel to Australia. This document is valid one time only for travel and entry to Australia.

Departure health check

You need to have a departure health check from an approved immigration panel physician no more than 72 hours before your confirmed departure for Australia. This is to reduce your post-arrival health issues and make resettlement easier.

You must:

  • be healthy enough to travel to Australia
  • have vaccinations and treatment for parasites before resettlement
  • follow up any pre-existing health conditions after you arrive in Australia.

The departure health check includes:

  • a physical examination
  • a pregnancy test
  • tests for communicable diseases
  • administration of prescribed vaccinations, including measles, mumps and rubella
  • treatment of parasites and infestations.

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.
​​​​​

Proposers

This information is for a person who wants to propose immediate family members under ‘split family’ provisions for an In-country Special Humanitarian visa (subclass 201). There is no application charge for proposing someone for this visa.

​You can use Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO for Organisations) to check the visa status and entitlements of people you have proposed.

Who can propose a person

​​You can propose a person for this visa if you meet all of the following:

  • you are:
    • an Australian citizen
    • an Australian permanent resident
    • an eligible New Zealand citizen
    • an Australian organisation
  • you did not come to Australia as an illegal maritime arrival on or after 13 August 2012.

You can also Propose an imm​ediate family member ('split family') for this visa if:

  • you have declared the person you are proposing as an immediate family member to us before your own visa was granted
  • you hold, or have held this visa, and it was granted within the past five years
  • the person you are proposing is still a member of your immediate family.

How to propose

This information explains what you need to propose someone for an In-country Special Humanitarian visa (subclass 201).

Lodge your application by mail

​​To propose someone for this visa, complete and lodge the following forms:

You must provide all relevant documents when you lodge the application.

Send ​ Form 842 (586 kB pdf) to the person you are proposing for this visa. That person should sign the form and return it to you before you lodge the application.

Lodge the application at the:

You can find further information at Lodging certain humanitarian applications in Australia.

Proposer obligations

If your immediate family members are granted this visa, you should be prepared to:

  • meet them at the airport
  • provide their accommodation on arrival
  • help them to find permanent accommodation
  • familiarise them with services and service providers such as:
    • Centrelink
    • banks
    • public transport
    • translating and interpreting services
    • health care
    • permanent housing
    • education
    • employment services
    • childcare.

Support for proposers

You can apply for proposer support to better help you to:

  • respond to the applicant’s needs
  • fulfil your obligations to directly support the applicant.

A Humanitarian Settlement Services provider in your state or territory will contact you if the visa application is approved. The service provider will give you initial information and tell you what support could be available.

Report changes in circumstances

Tell us if your circumstances change, for example:

  • you change your address
  • you can no longer provide support.
​​​​

Estimate the cost of your visa

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.