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Apart from the obvious ramifications for your existing visa, refusal or cancellation can have adverse impacts on future visa applications. You may have appeal rights.

Read our general information and document checklists in relation to these visa categories below. Contact us directly for specific advice.

Visa Refusal Appeal & Cancellation


The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (Tribunal) can review decisions made by officers of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to refuse or cancel visas.  The Tribunal can also review decisions relating to approval and cancellation of sponsorship and nomination.

What can we do for you?

With extensive experience in the litigation & review practice of the world’s largest immigration law firm, our staff are well placed to assist with all issues relating to visa refusals and cancellations, including: appeals to the Tribunal, responding to notices of intention to cancel, merits review and judicial review.

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Who can seek merits review?

Usually a decision to refuse a visa is reviewable if:

  • the visa can be granted while the person (visa applicant) is in the migration zone;
  • the person applied for the visa while in the migration zone;
  • the refusal decision was not made when the person was in immigration clearance or had been refused immigration clearance and had not subsequently been immigration clearance;
  • for those temporary visas for which it is a criterion for visa grant that the person be sponsored by an approved sponsor:
    • the person is sponsored by an approved sponsor at the time the application to review the decision to refuse to grant the visa is made or
    • an application for review of a decision not to approve the sponsor is made, but, at the time the application to review the decision to refuse to grant the visa is made, review of the sponsorship decision is pending

However, offshore applicants can also have visa refsuals reviewed if:

  • the visa is one which cannot be granted while the visa applicant is in the migration zone; and
  • the visa applicant, as required by a criterion for the visa, was sponsored or nominated by:
    • an Australian citizen or
    • a company or partnership operating in the migration zone or
    • the holder of a permanent visa or
    • a New Zealand citizen who holds a special category visa (SCV).

Cancellation decisions also have differing review  rights depending on whether or not an applicant is onshore or offshore. Please speak to your immigration specialist as soon as possible to determine your review rights.

What are the time limits for seeking merits review?

Strict time limits apply to applications relating to decisions about visas made by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

The time limit for making an application to the Tribunal is usually 21 days after you receive the decision you want to review. However, for some decisions it can be longer (up to 70 days) and for others it is shorter.

For example, decisions to refuse to grant, or to cancel, a visa under section 501 of the Migration Act 1958, where the decision relates to a person in Australia, must be made within 9 days after the day on which you are taken to have been notified of the decision.

Speak to a specialist immigration practitioner as soon as you have received a decision to ensure that you do not miss out on your review opportunity.

What are the documents required?

In most cases, the application for review can be made online through the Administrative Appeals Tribunal website. When making the application you should include:

  • a copy of the decision;
  • a copy of your identity documents; and
  • any relevant submissions.

Speak to us about preparing the relevant submissions.

What are the lodgement fees?

An application fee of A$1,731 is payable in all cases, except when applying for review of a bridging visa decision (including any related decision to require a security bond) that resulted in a person being placed in immigration detention.

You are entitled to pay a reduced fee of $100 in the following circumstances:

  • you have been granted legal aid for your application
  • you hold a health care card, a pensioner concession card, a Commonwealth seniors health card or any other card issued by the Commonwealth that certifies entitlement to Commonwealth health concessions
  • you are in prison or lawfully detained in a public institution
  • you are under 18 years of age,
  • you are receiving youth allowance, Austudy or ABSTUDY.

What happens after the Tribunal decision?

When the Tribunal makes a decision on a review, with the exception of some oral decisions, a written statement of the decision and reasons is prepared and provided to you and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. The decision can be:

  1. The Tribunal may affirm the decision under review and decided that the decision under review should not be changed. The effect of this is that the decision remains in force. Speak to us at this stage to determine your prospects of judicial review.
  2. The Tribunal may set aside the decision under review, and require that the decision should be changed. The Tribunal may replace (substitute) the decision with a new decision.
  3. If the Tribunal remits the decision under review, it has decided that the decision should be reconsidered. The effect of this is that the department is required to reconsider the application having regard to any directions made by the Tribunal.
  4. If the Tribunal decides that they have no jurisdiction to review the decision, they have decided that they have no power to review the delegate’s decision.

Consultation & Assessment

Engagement & Document Request

Document Checklist

Application Drafted

Application Lodged

Visa Granted

We offer a simple step by step process to prepare and lodge your application. Following our initial consultation you will have a complete advice setting out a tailored fee schedule, procedure, and timeline.

We have strict service deliverables between each stage to ensure that you can have complete control over your schedule.

Speak to our team directly to determine the timeline for an individual in your circumstances.

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