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Visa Refusal Appeals

Visas are usually refused due to a complicated legal or factual issue, or by the failure of the applicant to prove they meet the legal requirements for the grant of their visa.

The role of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) is to review decisions made by the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA).

The AAT is able to consider a wide range of visa-related decisions, including refusals and cancellations. AAT decisions are based on the merits of each particular case.

The AAT has the power to take the following actions:

  • affirm (not change) the DOHA’s decision
  • vary the decision
  • set aside the decision, and substitute it with a new decision
  • return the matter to the DOHA for reconsideration with specific directions

How to appeal a visa refusal in Australia

AAT Review Application Lodgement

The letter that you receive from the DOHA regarding the decision to refuse or cancel your visa will refer to the exact time frame within which you must lodge your review application.

Your application for review MUST be lodged with the AAT within the required time frame. In most cases, this will be 21 days from the date of a decision to refuse a visa application, and 7 days from the date of a decision to cancel a visa.

As such it is critical that you notify us of the DOHA’s decision as soon as possible, to allow us sufficient time to prepare and lodge your review application within the required time frame.

PLEASE NOTE: The AAT will not accept late applications under any circumstances. This means that if you do not lodge your application within the relevant time frame, the AAT will not be able to review the DOHA’s decision to refuse or cancel your visa, and you will have no other recourse to request a review of this decision.

Awaiting AAT Review/Lodgement of Written Submissions

Once your application has been lodged, the AAT will confirm the lodgement date in writing, and your application will enter the queue of applications awaiting review. The time that it takes the AAT to review an application (and to schedule a hearing, if required) is dependent upon the type of application, as well as AAT processing priorities. In some cases, it may take more than 12 months for the AAT to review an application and schedule a hearing. However other applications may be assessed quite quickly. Please contact us if you would like further information regarding likely timeframes for the review of your application.

Whilst your application is awaiting review, we will ask you to provide information and documents in support of the grounds for your application i.e. any evidence that supports your reasons for applying for a review of the DOHA’s decision. We will then prepare written submissions in support of your application, and lodge these with the AAT for consideration.

Bridging Visas

You MAY qualify for a bridging visa upon lodgement of your review application. This would enable you to remain lawfully in Australia whilst you await the outcome of your application. The type of bridging visa that you qualify for (if any), along with the conditions of that visa, will generally depend upon your circumstances at the time that you lodged the visa application that is under review.

AAT Review & Hearing Attendance

When your case is due to be considered by the AAT, you will be given the opportunity to provide further information and documents in support of the grounds for your application.

The AAT will review all relevant written information and documents that you have provided, along with any relevant information provided by the DOHA. It will then either make a decision based on these written materials or schedule a date for a hearing.

If a hearing is scheduled: You will be given the opportunity to present information regarding your case in person and answer any questions that the AAT may have regarding your review application. We will represent you at the hearing, make oral submissions in support of your application and help you to answer the AAT’s questions. The AAT will then make its decision following the hearing. This may take several weeks, depending upon the material that the AAT must consider, and the complexity of your case.

We have very experienced Migration Agents with an excellent track record when it comes to the review of negative decisions – please see our Case Studies and Migration Agent Reviews for more details.