Tag Archives: 90 days

Renewing Subclass 870 Visas – The 90 Day Conundrum

Many individuals apply for subclass 870 Sponsored Parent Temporary visas while they are waiting for permanent residency visas to be granted under subclass 143, Contributory Parent.

Subclass 870 visas are granted with a 3 year or a 5 year validity.

With processing times for subclass 143 visa applications now taking substantially longer than was anticipated when the applications were lodged – and was indicated by the Department of Home Affairs at that time – subclass 870 visa holders are now having to renew the visa because their permanent residency visa is not going to be granted within the validity period of their present 870 visa.

A practical problem facing those intending to renew their 870 visa is the need for most to be outside Australia for at least 90 days before applying.

This is what the Migration Regulations relevantly say:


(1)  If:

(a) the applicant is outside Australia at the time of application; and

(b) the applicant previously held a Subclass 870 visa; and

(c) there are no exceptional circumstances;

the applicant has been outside Australia for at least 90 consecutive days since the relevant departure day of the applicant.

(2)  The relevant departure day of an applicant is:

(a) if the applicant was in Australia when the last Subclass 870 visa held by the applicant ceased to be in effect—the first day on which the applicant left Australia after that visa ceased to be in effect; or

(b) if the applicant was not in Australia when the last Subclass 870 visa held by the applicant ceased to be in effect—the last day on which the applicant left Australia while that visa was in effect.

Permissions to apply onshore – ie when in Australia – for an initial subclass 870 visa were being approved during the Covid period when the border was closed.

However, such permissions are no longer being approved generally.

Department of Home Affairs policy guidance in this regard says:

Permission may be given to apply while in Australia in exceptional circumstances, such as an accident or serious illness which means the person cannot depart Australia to apply outside Australia.

There are no criteria in the Regulations in relation to approval of requests for permission to apply in Australia. The Minister has an unfettered discretion to give permission and all requests for permission must be considered on their merits. However, as indicated above, the policy intention is that permission will only be granted in exceptional cases, which would usually be where the parent is unable to depart Australia. The general expectation is that parents must apply for the Subclass 870 visa from outside Australia.

A request for permission to apply in Australia may be approved if the parent is unable to depart Australia, due to, for example:

  • an accident or serious illness (there should be medical evidence provided with the request); or
  • a natural disaster preventing travel to parent’s home country (e.g. ongoing ash cloud due to a volcanic eruption, pandemic or war).

On the other hand, a request for permission to apply in Australia should generally not be approved if the only reason for the request is that:

  • the parent does not want to travel overseas because of the cost and inconvenience including situations where a prospective visa applicant would simply prefer to remain in Australia for family related reasons (eg because a family member is due to give birth). In this case it is the responsibility of the parent to apply for and be granted a different visa if they seek to remain in Australia, before departing and re-applying for a further temporary parent visa offshore;
  • departure of the parent is not convenient for the sponsor;
  • the prospective visa applicant has sold their assets in their home country, and set themselves up in Australia in anticipation of being able to apply for and be granted another visa without leaving Australia;
  • the prospective visa applicant has failed to meet the permanent visa health requirement in relation to another visa application

A request for permission to apply in Australia should be supplemented with detailed information outlining the circumstances that are relevant to the request. 

A question to be asked by those whose subclass 870 visa is about to expire is therefore: do I need another subclass 870 visa?

Key to answering this is the reasonably expected timeline for the subclass 143 visa to be granted.

In this regard our contributory parent visa processing time calculator may be helpful to provide an indicative timeline of when the subclass 143 visa will be granted.

If there is a reasonable expectation of subclass 143 visa grant within 12 to 15 months of your subclass 870 visa expiring and you want to spend substantially all of that time in Australia you might reasonably look to a 12 month visitor visa under subclass 600.

If the processing time for the 143 visa grant is longer than this and you cannot leverage the exceptional circumstances provisions discussed above you should plan to have an extended holiday outside Australia of at least 3 months.

The sponsor application would be prepared in the last few weeks of one’s time in Australia – recall here that a new family sponsor approval application cannot be submitted while an existing family sponsorship is ongoing.

Family sponsorships are presently taking some 6 to 8 weeks to be approved.

The subclass 870 visa application would then be lodged, after which one can return to Australia on (say) a 3 month visitor visa (subclass e651, if available) while awaiting a decision on the 870 visa application.

Remember than you can be in Australia when a subclass 870 visa is granted.

At the moment visa applications under subclass 870 are also taking 6 to 8 weeks to be processed to a decision.

Clearly there are several logistical issues to address in this situation.  

Go Matilda Parent Visas will be delighted to support existing subclass 870 visa holders who need help renewing their subclass 870 visas.

Please complete the enquiry form on this web page if you think you will need help with your subclass 870 visa renewal and would like a free initial chat.