Visa Summary

This visa is a permanent visa for children from overseas whose parents are unable to care for them.

Who is this visa for?

This visa is for children under 18 years of age whose parents are unable to care for them. It allows a child who is an orphan relative to remain in Australia.

What does the visa let the visa holder do?

This visa allows the visa holder to:

  • live permanently in Australia
  • travel to and from Australia for five years from the date the visa is granted

How does this visa work?

Responsibilities

Key responsibilities relating to obtaining and using an Orphan Relative visa are summarized in the table below.

PersonResponsibility
Sponsor (Relative)

Sponsors the child and any family members also included in the application and who are migrating with the child.

If an Orphan Relative visa is granted, the sponsor must provide support for the child, including accommodation and financial assistance required to meet the child's reasonable needs during the two (2) years following the grant of the child's visa.

Applicant (Child)

Lodge a complete application including all application forms, supporting documentation and application charges.

Note: The sponsor usually lodges the application on behalf of the child.

Visa application process

Application forms

Active Migration Australia will assess each application individually and provide extensive checklists consisting of instructions to help you successfully complete the forms required.

How to lodge your application

For this visa, the child must be in Australia at the time of application and at the time of visa grant.

Visa Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

This page provides information on the eligibility requirements for this visa.

Sponsorship

A child may be considered an orphan relative if both parents are unable to look after the child because they are deceased, permanently incapacitated or of unknown whereabouts.

An orphan relative must be the brother, sister, grandchild, niece, nephew or step equivalent of their sponsor. The sponsor must be an Australian citizen, the holder of an Australian permanent visa, or an eligible New Zealand citizen, who undertakes sponsorship obligations.

Age

To be eligible for the grant of an Orphan Relative (Subclass 837) visa, the applicant must be under 18 years of age when their visa application is lodged. If the applicant is under 18 when the visa application is lodged, but will turn 18 years of age before the application is decided, they may still be eligible for this visa if they meet the other requirements of the visa.

Note: See below for additional age requirements relating to the lodgment of a valid application for this visa subclass.

Relationship status

The child must be single. They must not be married or in a de-facto relationship.

Health requirements

The child must meet health requirements.

Character requirements

Applicants who have turned 16 years of age must be of good character to enter or remain in Australia.

Sponsorship limitation and best interests of the child

Where an applicant is under 18 years of age, the sponsorship cannot be approved (except in very limited circumstances) where the sponsor or the sponsor's spouse or de facto partner (if they have one) has a conviction or an outstanding charge for an offence against a child. The applicant will also need to satisfy the requirement that there is no compelling reason to believe that the grant of the visa would not be in the best interests of the applicant.

In order to assess the sponsorship approval and the best interests of the child requirement, sponsors of children under 18 years of age, and their spouse or de facto partner, are required to submit an AFP National Police Check and/or foreign police certificate/s, depending on their circumstances.

Additional requirements for lodging a valid application for certain Orphan Relative (Subclass 837) visa applicants

Children who do not hold a substantive visa, and have been refused a visa or had a visa cancelled, must meet additional requirements in order to lodge a valid application for an Orphan Relative (Subclass 837) visa. They must have not turned 25 years of age unless claiming to be incapacitated for work due to total or partial loss of bodily or mental functions.

If claiming to be incapacitated for work due to total or partial loss of bodily or mental functions, the applicant must provide evidence from an Australian registered medical practitioner to support the claim.

Note: It is also a requirement for the grant of an Orphan Relative (Subclass 837) visa that the applicant has not turned 18 years of age at the time of application.

Reliance on social security

If the applicant, or their sponsor, is likely to become a high user of Australia's social security system, an Assurance of Support (AoS) from an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident may be required. If required, the department will advise how an Assurance of Support can be obtained.

When a child may not be eligible

A child applying in Australia may not be eligible to be granted this visa, if the child or their accompanying family members:

  • do not currently hold a substantive visa, and
  • have not applied for the Orphan Relative visa within twelve months of their previous substantive visa ceasing

Sponsor Eligibility

Sponsors must meet the following requirements to be eligible to sponsor an applicant for this visa.

Eligibility criteria

Sponsors must be one of the following:

  • an Australian citizen
  • the holder of an Australian permanent visa
  • an eligible New Zealand citizen

    Note: A sponsor who is an eligible New Zealand citizen must also meet health and character requirements.

A sponsor must also:

  • be the child's brother or sister, grandparent, aunt or uncle, or niece or nephew, (or step equivalents)
  • have been lawfully resident in Australia for a reasonable period (usually two years)
  • have turned 18 years of age
  • Note: If the sponsor is under 18 years of age, their cohabitating partner may act as sponsor if they have turned 18 years of age and are one of the following:

      • an Australian citizen
      • the holder of an Australian permanent visa
      • an eligible New Zealand citizen

Custody of children under 18 years of age

Sponsors must satisfy one of the following custody requirements when applying to sponsor children under 18 years of age:

  • they must have the sole legal right to determine where the child shall live, or to remove the child from their home country
  • if another person can legally determine where the child can live, the sponsor must obtain a statutory declaration from this person or people, granting permission for the child to migrate
  • they must possess a valid court order allowing them to permanently remove the child from the child's home country
  • they must have a court order issued by the Family Court of Australia, and the grant of the visa must be consistent with that order

Sponsorship limitation and best interests of the child

If the applicant is under 18 years of age, the sponsorship cannot be approved (except in very limited circumstances).Even when the sponsor or the sponsor's spouse or de facto partner (if they have one) has a conviction or an outstanding charge for an offence against a child the sponsorship may not be approved. The applicant will also need to satisfy the requirement that there is no compelling reason to believe that the grant of the visa would not be in the best interests of the applicant.

In order to assess the sponsorship application and the best interests of the child requirement, sponsors of children under 18 years of age, and their spouse or de facto partner are required to submit an AFP National Police Check and/or foreign police certificate/s, depending on their circumstances. If the sponsor, or their partner, has spent a total of 12 months or more in Australia since turning 16 years of age, that person must provide an AFP National Police Check. They must also provide police certificates from each country in which they have spent a total of 12 months or more in the last 10 years since turning 16 years of age.

Note: Sponsors or partners required to submit an AFP National Police Check must complete the National Police Check application form which is available from the Australian Federal Police website. Sponsors or partners should use Code 33 at Question 1 on the form and include details of all names they have been known by. If an AFP Certificate is provided based on incorrect information, the department may request another certificate. Fingerprints are not required for AFP National Police Checks

Conditions and obligations for holders of visa subclass 837

If this visa is granted, the following requirements must be met.

Applicant obligations

The child must comply with all Australian laws and, if applicable, comply with any conditions imposed on their visa.

Sponsor obligations

As the sponsor, the Australian relative must sign a sponsorship undertaking. On signing this undertaking the sponsor must:

  • Be responsible for all financial obligations to the Australian Government that the child might incur while they are in Australia.
  • Ensure that adequate accommodation and financial assistance is available as required to meet the child's reasonable living needs. This assistance would cover the two (2) years following the grant of the child's visa.
  • Provide information and advice to help the child settle in Australia.
  • Provide support as required to enable them to attend any required adult English language classes.
  • Advise the department in writing if circumstances change in a way that may affect the child's eligibility for an Orphan Relative visa, or the sponsor's eligibility to sponsor the child.