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AAT Appeal (Visa Refusal/Cancellation)

AAT Appeal (Visa Refusal/Cancellation)


What should I do if my visa application is refused or cancelled?

You may be able to appeal your visa refusal, visa cancellation, business sponsorship or nomination application refusal to the AAT (Administrative Appeals Tribunal).

Who can apply for AAT review?

You may be able to apply for AAT review in the following situations:

  • You are in Australia, applied for a visa and this application was refused by the Department
  • You are in Australia and your visa was cancelled by the Department
  • You are in Australia and your visa was cancelled and your application to have the cancellation revoked was refused by the Department
  • You are sponsored or nominated by an employer or another person for a visa, and you lodged this visa application outside of Australia.
  • You are an employer that applied for Standard Business Sponsorship and this application was refused

The AAT cannot review a decision to cancel a visa if the cancellation occurred when the visa holder was outside of Australia.

If the visa applicant or holder is in Australia, then they are the person who should apply for review. If the visa applicant is overseas, then in most cases the Australian sponsor, nominator or family member makes the application for review.

The business sponsor or employer must apply for review in relation to a refusal of a Standard Business Sponsorship and/or nomination application.


How does the AAT process work?

Generally speaking, the following events will occur when you appeal to the AAT:

  • Submit the application: Lodge your AAT application within the allowed time limit. You can lodge your AAT appeal online and upload supporting documents.
  • Attend a hearing: The Tribunal Member may be able to make a favourable decision just based on considering the documents and evidence submitted. If a decision cannot be made based on considering only the documents and information held by the AAT, then you will be invited to a hearing to provide comments or provide further information to the AAT. You can request an interpreter if required
  • Receive AAT outcome: After your appeal hearing is finalised, the AAT will generally send you a written statement advising of the Tribunal Member’s decision.

What is the possible AAT outcome?

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal member will decide to affirmvaryset aside, or remit the decision made by the Department of Home Affairs.

  • If the AAT affirms the decision, it means the decision made by the Department of Home Affairs is not changed. If this happens you will need to immediately consider your next best steps such as appealing the decision to court, applying for another visa or leaving Australia
  • If the AAT varies a decision, it means the decision made by the Department of Home Affairs is changed or altered in some way
  • f the AAT sets aside a decision, it means the AAT agrees or partially agrees the original decision made by the Department of Home Affairs was wrong
  • If the AAT remits a decision, it means it sends the matter back to the Department of Home Affairs to make a new decision in accordance with the AAT’s instructions or recommendations. This means you won your appeal case! Generally if your matter is remitted, you will need to wait to hear from the Department of Home Affairs before your visa is granted.

What is the AAT application fee?

  • The AAT application fee is currently $3,374, and 50% of this fee will be refunded if you are successful with your AAT appeal.
  • There is no refund if your application is not successful, or if you later withdraw your AAT application.

Last Updated: 4 December 2023

What is the time limit with appealing?

It is important to note that there is a strict time limit by which you need to submit your AAT appeal application.

It is important that you carefully read the refusal or cancellation notice from the Department – this will tell you whether your refusal or cancellation is AAT reviewable, and the time by which you need to submit your application for review.

The AAT cannot accept an application for review that is submitted outside of the allowed time frame. This is very strictly enforced.

What is the AAT’s processing times?

Check the AAT website for average processing time.

The time it takes for us to complete the review process depends on a range of factors, including:

  • The number of applications we receive
  • The number of members available to conduct reviews
  • The type of decision under review
  • The strategies we have in place for dealing with different caseloads
  • The complexity of the review.

What if my review is not successful?

If your application for review at the AAT is not successful, then you will be notified that your current bridging visa will cease in a certain period of time (generally speaking this is 21 days). If you do not want to leave Australia, then you have two potential further avenues for review:

  • You can make a written request to the Minister to exercise her/his personal discretion to grant you a visa or substitute a more favourable decision. This is an application for Ministerial Intervention
  • You may be able to appeal to the Federal Court or the Federal Magistrates Court – there are strict time limits for any such appeal

Bridging visa

If you were granted a Bridging Visa A as a result of the visa application which the Department refused, then if you apply for AAT, this bridging visa will continue to be valid and will allow you to remain in Australia until the AAT has made a decision. If you do not appeal to the AAT then your Bridging Visa will expire and you will need to depart Australia or you will become unlawful.


Work rights

That depends on the visa that you are currently holding.

If you are holding a bridging visa, then you need to check the conditions of your bridging visa. If you are holding a bridging visa and there are restrictions on your work rights, you may be able to apply for unrestricted work rights based on ‘financial hardship’.

Can I apply for another visa?

If you are still holding a substantive visa, then you should be able to lodge another visa application – assuming that you meet the relevant eligibility requirements. A ‘substantive’ visa is basically any visa which is not a bridging visa.

If you do not hold a substantive visa (i.e. your last substantive visa has expired and you now hold a bridging visa that is associated with the AAT appeal), then Section 48 will bar you from making a further ‘substantive visa’ application because you have had a visa refusal, which is any visa except a Bridging visa, a Criminal Justice Visa or an Enforcement Visa.

Despite Section 48, you can still lodge a valid application for certain types of visas such as partner visas, bridging visas, etc.

Want to lodge an AAT appeal? Contact our registered migration agent today!


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