What should I do if my visa is about to expire?

Posted on July 6, 2017 by Emily

If your visa is about to expire, you have to explore your options. The first question to ask is whether you have the right to remain in Australia.


Departing Australia[1]

If you are not an Australian citizen, you must hold a valid visa for the duration of your stay and depart no later than the date on which your visa expires. As part of their role in the community, the Australian Border Force (ABF) conducts activities to check visa compliance. If your visa has expired in the time that you are in Australia, you will be classified as an ‘unlawful non-citizen’, and if the ABF finds that this is the circumstance:[2]

  • You risk being detained and removed from Australia
  • You might have to pay the Australian Government for the cost of removing you from Australia
  • You could be banned from returning to Australia for up to three years – “re-entry ban” (see below)

However, if you wish to apply for more time in Australia once your visa has expired, for example to arrange your departure, it is possible to apply for a Bridging Visa E (BVE) as soon as you can, in order to become lawful for a short amount of time. If you are an unlawful non-citizen, that is you don’t hold a relevant visa, you may be eligible for a BE if you:[3]

  • Are making arrangements to depart Australia
  • Are applying for a substantive visa
  • Are seeking merits or judicial review of a visa decision or citizenship decision
  • Are seeking ministerial intervention

This will in turn allow you to have the time to make arrangements to leave Australia or finalise your immigration matter.


Re-Entry Bans

Re-entry bans apply if:[4]

  • You overstay your visa by more than 28 days
  • Your visa is cancelled because:
    • You provided false documents or false information to the DIBP
    • You are considered to be a risk to the health, safety or good order of the Australian community
    • You are convicted of an offence against a law of the Commonwealth, or a law of an Australian state or territory
    • You are found to have breached a visa condition, for example, you worked when your visa had a no work condition
    • You hold a student visa but have failed to maintain appropriate enrolment, breached another visa condition, or have been found not to be a genuine student
    • You hold a visitor visa but were found not to be in Australia as a genuine visitor.

Once you have received a re-entry ban, this cannot be removed, except where you are applying for a temporary visa and you apply to the Department explaining why it should be put aside. The only reasons that will be acceptable by the department are where you can prove that you have compassionate or compelling circumstances that could affect an Australian citizen or permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen.


Extending stay

If you wish to stay in Australia past the expiry date of your visa, you must apply for another visa. This may be a Bridging Visa E (see above) until you organise your departure from Australia or conclude your immigration matter; or it may be any other visa for which you are eligible. To find out information on what visas you may be eligible for, look to visa finder, a DIBP tool which will help you to find which visa is right for you.



For any advice on what your options are once your visa has expired, it is highly recommended that you seek the advice of a registered Immigration Lawyer. At Immigration Solutions Lawyers, we can assist you in all of your migration needs, from checking the status of your visa, through to assisting you in appealing to the Department or to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). Our group of Immigration lawyers, are all registered by the Office of the Migration Agent Authority, as well as being specialists in their area.

For further information on Immigration Solutions Lawyers, contact us on  1300 428 472, or visit our website.

[1] Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP). I want to depart Australia. <https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa/visa-about-to-expire-or-expired/depart-australia>

[2] Ibid.

[3] DIBP. Bridging visa E – BVE. <https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/051->

[4] DIBP. Re-entry bans fact sheet. <https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa/visa-about-to-expire-or-expired/status-resolution-service/re-entry-bans-fact-sheet>