Visa Grant Notices
Australian visa grants don’t come with passport stickers anymore. They are ancient history now. When a visa is granted, the Department issue a pdf file known as a Visa Grant Notice. If you’re fortunate enough to have used those excellent Registered Migration Agents known as Down Under Visa, this is emailed to them who then pass it on to you with the heartiest of congratulations. This is what you get.
And no, this is not “the visa”. An Australian Visa is a right to enter Australia or to remain in Australia subject to certain conditions and restrictions. It’s electronically linked to your passport number, and recorded in “the system”. Any modern airport in the world has access to details of visa grants, and when they scan your passport they can see that you do (or do not!) hold a visa grant. Visa Grant Notices are just pieces of paper, actually. We suggest bringing them to the airport because they are useful for showing to security guards, but that’s where their official usefulness ends.
However, they also contain essential information that you need to understand, and that is the purpose of this article. We need you to read your grant notice thoroughly, and to take particular notice of important information contained inside.
Essential Information in Visa Grant Notices
Visa grant notices contain information that is essential for the visa holder to enjoy a comfortable, secure and lawful stay in Australia.
Visa grant notices may contain the following:
• Dates where you must arrive in Australia by
• The last date you may arrive in Australia
• The last date you may BE in Australia
• The maximum length of stay
• Whether the visa is single-entry or multiple-entry
• The date the visa expires
Conditions are specific rules you need to follow, and specific restrictions. Examples include:
• Restrictions on applying for further visas inside Australia, ie Condition 8503 No Further Stay
• Requirements that you mary within the visa period
• Restrictions on marrying before arriving in Australia
• Work rights, or a lack of work rights
• Restrictions on study
The point is that if you don’t read, understand and monitor these conditions and dates, no one else will! And if you stuff these up, the consequences can be dire.
• Overstaying Tourist Visas and ending up unlawful
• Not entering Australia by “MUST ENTER AUSTRALIA BY….” dates
• Not marrying in time for lodging Partner Visa applications in-time
• Not marrying before Prospective Marriage Visas expire
• Letting Prospective Marriage Visas run out, doing basically NOTHING that’s required, and ending up unlawful
• And of course the ol’ “Help! We have 2 days before the visa expires!”
Requests for Information (RFI)
Yes, these are separate from Visa Grant Notices, but you still need to be aware of them. These are notices sent to you during the processing of visas, or to remind you of a further application or further documentation to finalise something required. Examples include the notice they sometimes/occasionally/rarely/spasmotically send to remind you of the need to finalise a permanent partner visa (Subclass 801 or Subclass 100).
It’s imperative that you respond positively and in a timely fashion to any requests for information from the Department, and note that these will usually have a date on them by which they want to hear from you or when something needs done by. You must take note of these dates and timelines.