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Australian parent visas: which one is best for you

Our Managing Director of Australian Migration, Sam Hopwood, delves into the different types of parent visas that Australia offers, and how to determine the one that is right for you.

Australian visas are divided into subclasses, a numerical value attributed to a particular visa. For instance, the 103, the 804, the 143, the 864, the 173, the 884, and the 870 are all subclasses of parent visas.

These visas are divided into different categories, giving you varying options on how to emigrate to Australia depending on the pathway, the location and the cost.

Parent visas by pathway

A direct pathway refers to a visa that grants permanent residency. Those visas are:

  • Subclass 103 – Parent visa
  • Subclass 143 – Contributory parent visa
  • Subclass 804 – Aged Parent visa
  • Subclass 864 – Contributory Aged Parent visa

The following are provisional visas which lead to permanent residence:

  • Subclass 173 – Contributory Parent (Temporary) visa
  • Subclass 884 – Contributory Aged Parent visa

There's also the subclass 870 – Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa, which is a temporary visa with no pathway to permanent residence. This visa is granted for three to five years, and you can reapply for a second subclass 870 to visit for up to a maximum of 10 years in Australia, but ultimately will have to leave after this.

Parent visas by location

When speaking about location, this refers to whether you need to apply from inside or outside of Australia.

If you're onshore, you can apply for the following visas:

  • Subclass 804 
  • Subclass 864 
  • Subclass 884

You can only apply for these visas if you’re in Australia and you are classified as an aged parent (someone who is 67 years or older).

If you're offshore, you have to apply for one of the following visas:

  • Subclass 103 
  • Subclass 143 
  • Subclass 173 

Parent visas by cost

It's very important to think about the costs when you’re making a choice for which Australian parent visa to apply for. If you're applying for a contributory parent visa, you’ll be paying roughly AUD 50,000 per applicant.

Contributory parent visas are the following:

  • Subclass 173 
  • Subclass 143 
  • Subclass 884 
  • Subclass 864 

If you’re applying for a non-contributory, (the subclass 103 or the 804), it will cost roughly AUD 4,990 for one applicant AUD 7,500 for two applicants.


VisaPathwayLocationContributoryAgeRough cost
Subclass 103 – Parent visaPermanent residencyOffshore𝗫18+AUD 7,500 (two applicants)
Subclass 143 – Contributory parent visaPermanent residencyOffshore18+AUD 50,000 per applicant
Subclass 804 – Aged Parent visaPermanent residencyOnshore𝗫67+AUD 7,500 (two applicants)
Subclass 864 – Contributory Aged Parent visaPermanent residencyOnshore67+AUD 50,000 per applicant
Subclass 884 – Contributory Aged Parent visa (Temporary)Temporary residenceOnshore67+AUD 34,000 per applicant
Subclass 173 – Contributory Parent (Temporary) visaTemporary residenceOffshore18+AUD 32,500 per applicant
Subclass 870 – Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visaTemporary residenceOffshore𝗫18+AUD 5,735 for a visa of up to three years; or AUD 11,470 for a visa of up to five years.


Which parent visa is best for you? 

Subclass 804 (Aged Parent visa) and 864 (Contributory Aged Parent visa)

If you or your partner are 67 years old or older, then you can come to Australia on a Visitor visa and apply for either the Aged Parent visa (subclass 804) or the Contributory Aged Parent visa (subclass 864). You will be granted a Bridging visa A (which bridges the gap between when your current visa ends and the start of the one you have applied for), and this will allow you to remain in Australia until a decision is made on your Parent visa application.

Both the subclass 864 and the subclass 804 are in what is called a “cap and queue” system. This means there is a limit placed on the number of these visas that can be processed each year. The cap placed on the subclass 804 visa is, however, so small that this visa hardly ever gets processed and processing times are estimated to be around 30 years. This means that if applying for this visa, you will likely spend all your time in Australia on a Bridging visa. The cap on subclass 864 is slightly bigger and the current processing time for this visa is around 12 years.

While on your Bridging visa awaiting the decision on your Parent visa application, you are not required by law to hold private health insurance, but it is strongly recommended.  Though there is an exception to this rule for citizens/residents of countries that fall under the reciprocal health care agreements.

For this reason, the deciding factor when considering these two visas would be whether or not you are prepared to pay for private medical care for the next 30 years in the case where you apply for the subclass 804 or for the next 12 years in the case where you apply for the subclass 864.

Once approved either visa, you will be able to access Medicare, which is Australia’s public healthcare system.

Subclass 143 (Contributory parent visa)

If you are under the age of 67 and do not qualify to submit an application from within Australia or perhaps, you're still working or own a business, and you don’t see yourself living in Australia for the next 10 or more years, then applying for the subclass 143 could be an option for you to consider. This visa’s processing time is currently 12 years, and so is best suited to someone with no immediate plans to relocate.

Subclass 103 (Parent visa)

The subclass 103 is a visa we do not recommend applying for. Since the cap for this visa is very small and the queue is very long, the chances of being granted this visa are slim. Unlike with the 804 or 864, you will not be eligible for a bridging visa and so not able to reside in Australia while you wait for your application to be processed.

Subclass 173 – Contributory Parent (Temporary) visa and Subclass 884 – Contributory Aged Parent visa

Due to the processing times and over all costs for these visas, we generally don’t recommend applying via either of these subclasses. If this is an option you wish to consider, then we would be happy to speak with you to review your circumstances and advise accordingly.

There’s a lot to take into account when choosing which parent visa to apply for. Our registered Australian migration team can advise you depending on your specific circumstances.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at or by calling +27 (0) 21 657 1526.

You can also take our free Australian visa assessment.

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