Who can apply?
If you have a child who is an Australian citizen or permanent resident who is settled in Australia, you could join them in Australia on a parent visa.
One of the criteria to be eligible for a parent visa is that you meet the “balance of family test”. This means that at least half of your children must live permanently in Australia, or you must have more children living in Australia than in any other country.
You have several options when applying as a parent:
You can either apply from overseas or in Australia. If you are in Australia you need to be of pensionable age (currently 65 for men and between 62.5 and 65 for women depending on your date of birth).
Furthermore, you can either be a paying parent (“contributory parent”) or a non-paying parent. If you apply as a contributory parent, your application will be processed much quicker.
As a contributory parent, you have 2 options:
1. You can apply directly for a permanent visa or
2. You can first apply for a temporary visa and 2 years later apply for a permanent visa. The advantage is that you can split your application costs.
What can I do with a parent visa?
If you hold a temporary visa:
The temporary visa ("contributory parent"/"contributory aged parent") is valid for 2 years. After 2 years, you can apply for a permanent parent visa. You can not extend or renew your temporary visa.
As the holder of a temporary visa, you and your accompanying spouse will be able to access Australia's public medical assistance scheme (Medicare). You will be able to work and study in Australia.
You will not be entitled to any social security payments from Centrelink.
The time you stay in Australia as the holder of a temporary visa will be counted towards the 4 year residency requirement to obtain citizenship.
If you hold a permanent visa:
You and your accompanying spouse can settle wherever you want in Australia. You can work and study in Australia. You will be entitled to access Australia's public medical assistance scheme (Medicare) and you may be entitled to social security payments from Centrelink (beware of waiting periods).
You will be eligible for citizenship if you meet the 4 year residency requirement and other legal criteria.