Overstaying your visa

Australia is a hot location for tourists from all over the world. People frequently holiday in Australia or and it is also a destination for foreign workers. When visiting Australia, whether it be for a holiday, to visit family, or even for employment opportunities, you may be required to obtain a visa. There are different visas, each with their own conditions and working rights. If you remain in Australia beyond your visa expiry date, you could be in some trouble. Here’s what you need to know about the consequences of breaching your visa conditions.

What are the consequences for overstaying a visa?

Whether you simply forgot the date that your visa expires, or you simply choose to not leave, making a conscious decision to stay, the consequences become much worse the longer it is left for.

Some of the consequences for overstaying an Australian visa are being deported, being banned from re-entering Australia for 3 years, as well as being banned from applying for any kind of visa to Australia in the future. When applying for future visas, your history is taken into account. This is why it’s important you do not breach your conditions, or the risk of refusal becomes much higher.

There are two categories of breaches that are assessed: those less than 28 days after expiry and those more than 28 days after expiry.

If you have overstayed your visa for less than 28 days you may be able to apply to remain in Australia because of your relationship with an Australian citizen or permanent resident subject to meeting certain other criteria. If you are to contact the right department within 28 days of your visa expiring, you may have the option of extending your visa or applying for a bridging visa while your application for a further visa is considered.

However, if you have overstayed your visa for more than 28 days after its expiry, you could face an exclusion period of three years when applying for an Australian visa in the future. Any unpaid debt to the Government, as well as the costs of detaining you, must also be paid.


What should you do if your visa has expired?

If your visa has expired, your first action should be to contact the Department of Home Affairs (DoHA) immediately. The DoHA will let you know your options, whether that is the ability to extend your visa or apply for a bridging visa.

If your visa has expired, you should not purchase a ticket out of Australia and then go to the airport as you normally would to get a flight. There is a very high chance you could be arrested and detained in a detention centre for doing this.

More information

Regardless of your reason, it is important you abide by your visa conditions and never overstay your visa expiry date. If you happen to, make sure you contact DoHA and also seek legal advice to find out your best options. Most visa problems can be resolved with the right attention, advice and actions. Our team of qualified lawyers specialise in immigration and may be able to assist you to extend your visa or apply for a different class of visa, depending on your circumstances. We can also look to see if your exclusion period could be waived to allow you to re-enter Australia within the 3 year period.