Overstaying your visa? What this means for you.
It is very common for visa holders to overstay their welcome in Australia without even realising. The Department of Home Affairs makes it abundantly clear that it is the visa holder’s obligation to ensure they comply with their visa conditions, which includes being aware of their expiry date. However, when life gets in the way, these requirements are often forgotten. So what happens when you realise you have overstayed your visa?
What does ‘overstaying’ mean?
All temporary visas will have a specific date to which the visa is valid. This is found on your visa grant letter. You overstay your visa when you have remained in Australia past the specified date and you do not hold a substantive visa or a bridging visa.
If your visa has expired whilst you are still in Australia, you are still able to depart. However, if you do not depart after your visa has expired you become an ‘unlawful non-citizen’.
Consequences of overstaying
The Australian Border Force undertake regular visa compliance activities ensuring visa holders are complying with their obligations. If you are found to be an unlawful non-citizen you may be at risk for being detained and deported, pay the Government for the cost of removing you and/or be banned from returning to Australia for up to 3 years.
If you remain in Australia more than 28 days after your visa expires, you will automatically receive a re-entry ban of up to 3 years. This cannot be removed unless there are compassionate or compelling circumstances.
Although the re-entry ban does not prevent you from seeking a permanent visa, the Department may consider your immigration history when making future immigration decisions.
Community Status Resolution Service
The Department of Home Affairs have implemented a service that provides people who have overstayed their visas an opportunity to re-engage and resolve their immigration status as an alternative to immigration deportation. The Department will grant you a bridging visa to allow you to remain in Australian temporarily until it has been resolved.
If you are concerned about your immigration status or want more information regarding your visa obligations, please contact one of our friendly staff at Bambrick Legal