If your plans have changed and you wish to stay in Australia longer than you originally thought, you may be wondering about the possibility of an Australia visa extension.
Overstaying your visa is not a viable option and it’s advisable that you do everything you can to avoid it. If you stay after your visa has expired, you will become an unlawful non-citizen. Unlawful non-citizens may face detention and deportation and may be banned from applying for an Australian visa in the future.
How to Extend Your Australian Visa: Steps to Take
There are certainly options for travelers who seek a lawful Australian visa renewal. Of course, different visas will require different procedures. This article includes useful information for non-citizens wishing to extend their stay in Australia.
Check Your Visa Conditions
Before anything else, travelers should gather accurate and detailed information about their current visa. Questions that need to be answered include:
- When does my visa expire exactly?
- What are my Australian visa conditions?
- Are there conditions in my visa that forbid me to apply for a new visa?
The status and conditions of many visas can be easily checked online. If you want to check your status to obtain an Australia ETA extension or an Australia e-Visitor extension, for example, you can do so through the purposedly created portals — VEVO (Visa Entitlement Verification Online system) and the Check an ETA service respectively.
In case your visa includes a condition stating that further stay is forbidden to you, then you’ll need to leave the country before your visa expiration date. You can apply for a new visa once you’re abroad, but you can’t extend your current visa.
Research Your Visa Options
Once you’ve established that you’re allowed to apply for other visas while in Australia, you can explore your options and submit a visa application before your current permit expires.
Some visas can serve as pathways for other visas. This means that your current visa may open opportunities that people currently outside Australia don’t have access to and may even be a requirement for your next visa.
If that’s not the case, you can research all visas available to you in order to see which ones allow you to stay for the time you need and that you can meet all the requirements.
If you apply for a new visa before your current one expires, you will most likely be issued a bridging visa A. A bridging visa is a temporary visa that allows you to stay in Australia while a decision is being made regarding your new application.
It’s important that you don’t leave Australia while on a bridging visa A. The bridging visa will cease the moment you leave and you won’t be able to return without a new visa. In case you need to leave, you can apply for a bridging visa B that will allow you to re-enter Australia.
What to Do if Your Australian Visa Has Expired
The options available to those who overstay their visa are very limited as they have broken their visa conditions and the Australian immigration regulations. The Australian government expects travelers to leave before their visa expires and considers overstayers as unlawful non-citizens.
If you have remained in Australia after the expiration of your visa, it’s very unlikely that you will be granted a bridging visa or that your expired visa will be extended. Your best option is to leave Australia as soon as possible to comply with your visa regulations and should you wish to return, explore your options from overseas. Your Embassy should be able to help in case you need legal or financial assistance.