Subclasses 864 and 884


As the years tick by our parents become more and more of a factor in our lives. We appreciate them more and they also need us more, whether it’s plain to see or not. Our time with them is precious, but with us working, possibly with kids, it’s hard to travel to see them. It may be hard for them to fly too often.

Thankfully Australia’s a place where family matters, and that is why we have ‘aged’ parent visas that recognise both the need and the physical strains for an older parent to travel.

  • Contributory Aged Parent visa (subclass 864)
  • Contributory Aged Parent (Temporary) visa (subclass 884)

On application, the applicant(s) will be issued a bridging visa to stay onshore until the visa decision. The benefit here is that your parent(s) will be able to be here before a visa decision.

Read:  Bridging visas

Contributory aged parent visas are visas that require a huge monetary ‘donation’ to the government. It may seem unfair, but this is the government’s way of covering any ‘liabilities’ your parents may bring with them. It’s painfully costly, but family is family. The current outlay for a contributory parent visa sits around the $50,000 mark. This does not include all possible fees that may be incurred through the visa application process.

What about a non-contributory aged parent visa? The Aged Parent visa (Subclass 804) is far more reasonable but it can take up to two decades to be granted. Don’t be so quick to dismiss this option as the non-contributory aged parent 804 application is required to be made onshore; the applicant(s) will be given bridging visa(s) and are likely to receive work rights. The applicants will not have any benefits such as Medicare however, whilst they are on bridging visas. The bridging visa allows the applicant(s) to remain lawfully in Australia until the time of visa decision.

Read: Current processing times of non-contributory parent visas

There are two ways in which you can apply for your parents’ contributory aged parent visas. You could apply directly for the permanent contributory aged parent 864 visa, or apply first for a temporary aged parent 884 visa. This route is called the two-stage process. The temporary 884 visa when granted, allows the holder to stay for no more than two years from the date the visa was granted. The permanent visa can be lodged at any time before the expiry of the temporary 884 visa.

Read: Difference between applying directly vs two-stage process

Whilst the article is about contributory non-aged parents, the same principles apply. Do note that the fees presented in the table in that article are however, specifically for non-aged parents.

Eligibility criteria whichever path is taken, is the same:

  • Sponsored by child who is a settled Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen
  • Applicant is pension age
  • Passes balance of family test
  • Obtain Assurance of Support and pay bond
  • Meet health and character requirements



The sponsor must be aged 18 or above and is settled in Australia. ‘Settled’ is taken to mean ‘lawfully resident in Australia for a reasonable period’. This includes periods where the sponsor was a temporary resident, so long as the sponsor was lawfully in Australia in that period. This is assessed differently in different circumstances, but in general, a reasonable period is taken to be at least two years excluding travel outside Australia for more than four months at a time.

If the child is below 18, the sponsor’s spouse, relative or legal guardian, or the spouse’s relative or legal guardian (should the spouse also be under 18), may be eligible to apply on the child’s behalf.

The sponsor must be an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen.


Pension age

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) defines an aged parent as one who is old enough to be granted an age pension. This information is available on the Department of Social Services website. The pension age is dependent on the date a person is born.


Balance of Family test

The balance of family test is used to determine the necessity of the applicant gaining permanent residence. If, for example, the applicant has one child in Australia but three more in their home country, the applicant would be assumed to be more needed/looked after in their home country.

Generally to pass the Balance of Family test:

  • At least half of your children live permanently in Australia and are Australian citizens, permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens
  • More of your children live permanently in Australia than in any other country

We’ve written about this in greater detail in an earlier article.

Read: Balance of Family Test


Assurance of Support

Assurance of Support (AoS) is another way in which the Australian government is protecting against any financial burdens on the local community a parent’s immigration may bring. AoS is a legal agreement that the sponsor can and will provide financial support to the applicant(s). In the case of contributory aged parent visas, the sponsor must also be able to pay a bond.

Read: Assurance of Support (AoS)


Secondary applicants

Eligible secondary applicants include the main applicant’s spouse and children under 18 years of age. Each additional secondary applicant will result in additional fees. All secondary applicants would come under the main applicant’s application; there is no need for individual applications.

Newborns and new relationships acquired after the application is made can be added. Adding a new spouse as a secondary applicant is a little more complicated.



The applicant needs to be onshore to apply and must be onshore at the time of visa decision.

This is not an easy application. There are a vast number of documents that will need to be acquired, from medical and police clearances, evidence of finances and proof of relationships.

These are the current (November 2016) costs for contributory aged parent visas:

Subclass 864
First instalment
Second instalment
Subclass 884
First instalment
Second instalment
Subclass 864 (with Subclass 884)**
First instalment
Second instalment

* Costs are at the time of publication. Do not take these to be accurate for yourindividual situation. Please verify the costs through the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) or speak with a migration agent. The above costs also do not include costs for obtaining medical, police clearance and other documents.

** Costs for subclass 864 via subclass 884 are based on fees at the time of publication. Realistically, these fees would be the fees 2 years post your subclass 884 visa grant which would probably have been raised.

The ideal situation would be to go for the Contributory Aged Parent visa (subclass 864) directly but for those who will find their finances too stretched, the two-stage route would be better suited.

We recognise how costly such applications are. We have witnessed unfortunate situations where applicants/sponsors have lost application fees. Speak to a migration agent if only to understand the application and processes better before embarking on such a tedious application!

Do you feel that the parent visa options are quite limited, given the processing times available? Not too long ago there has been talk of a temporary parents visa to be released in 2017. No real details are out yet as it has yet to be finalised.