Overstaying your visa is never a good idea and it could lead to serious consequences including:
- Immigration detention
- Removal from Australia
- Inability to apply for an Australian visa in the future.
Fortunately, there are steps that foreigners can take in order to prevent all of the above from happening.
What Happens If You Overstay Your Australian Visa?
You should never consider overstaying your visa as a viable option. By breaking your visa conditions, you will also break the Australian immigration laws. Most Australian visas require international travelers to submit return plane tickets as supporting documents in their visa application to prove their intention of leaving Australia at the end of their stay. Leaving the country before the temporary visa expires is a very important visa condition.
If you’re on a temporary visa like the eVisitor visa or the Australian Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) you must respect its conditions and leave Australia before your visa expires or obtain a different type of visa that allows long-term stay or leads to permanent residency.
Overstayers expose themselves to a series of consequences that could jeopardize their chances to remain in Australia or travel to the country again in the future. Also, foreigners who don’t respect their visa conditions can be flagged in the Australian immigration system. This means that they don’t only risk seeing their Australian visa applications rejected in the future, but also those for visas for other countries the Australian authorities share their data with.
Can You Be Deported for Overstaying Your Visa?
Yes, foreigners who overstay their visa and don’t make arrangements to leave the country on their own nor get in touch with the Australian immigration authorities can face deportation. The Australian government will also charge overstayers for the cost of removing them from the country.
However, there’s no reason to be scared. If you haven’t managed to sort your visa situation out before your authorization expires it’s important that you contact the Australian authorities. They will recognize the fact that you have genuine intentions to leave the country and abide by the local law and will assist you in doing so. Remember that how you choose to leave Australia may affect your chances to obtain a visa in the future.
Can You Go to Jail for Overstaying Your Visa?
If your visa has already expired and you have made plans to leave for another country, don’t go to the airport without contacting the Australian Department of Home Affairs (ADHA). That’s because foreigners who have been recognized to be on Australian soil illegally can be arrested and taken to a detention center by the Australian Border Force.
Instead, contact the ADHA or seek legal advice to get information about your options.
What to Do If Your Australian Visa Has Expired
In order to decide on your next steps, you first need to understand your visa conditions. To learn about your visa conditions and check your visa’s expiration date, you can call the ADHA or go online. The Australian ETA and eVisitor visas have specific portals created for this purpose.
If you want to stay longer in Australia, you may be eligible to apply for a visa extension or bridging visa. However, the chances of getting a visa once yours is expired are very limited. It is always best to start applications before your visa expires.
If your visa has expired, the Australian government expects you to leave. Making arrangements to leave is the best move forward. If you need help in making travel arrangements, you can contact the embassy of your home country in Australia or seek help from institutions like the International Organization for Migration.
Remember that if you overstay your visa for longer than 28 days your future applications for an Australian visa will be subject to an exclusion period. You will be unable to obtain a visa for Australia for 3 years, even if you left Australia voluntarily.