‘Non-migrating members of the family unit’ in Australian Visa Application

Aman Saxena
15.03.21
4 minute read

When you’re completing your Australian visa application, you may come across a question asking about non-migrating family members. What does it mean and who qualifies as a non-migrating member of the family unit?

🚦Each individual and family’s immigration situation is unique. So it is best to consult an immigration specialist or someone who can help you through this journey. The information laid out in this article should not be considered professional advice but rather informative on the Australian visa application process.

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✈What does non migrating members of the family unit mean?

When applying for a permanent or temporary Australian visa, you may be asked about your family members. Even if they are not migrating with you.

Non-migrating members of the family unit mean family members who are not applying for the visa, as per the Australian definition.

The Australian government may require you to list all of them, including Australian citizens who qualify as family members.

There is a chance that non-migrating family members may be required to have a character or health clearance. But not all visas will ask about non-migrating family members, so read the details of your visa application closely to see if you need to include them or not.¹

👪 Who qualifies as a member of the family unit?

In Australia, members of the family unit are²:

  • Your partner either by marriage or de facto. This includes same and opposite sex partnerships
  • Dependent children, below the age of 23 years old

For your partner, the partnership has to meet certain criteria. You must prove through marriage documents and otherwise if necessary that

  • Your relationship is genuine and continuing
  • Your partner is at least 18 years old
  • You are not related through family
  • You have mutually committed to a shared life only to each other
  • You live together and not separately on a permanent basis

De facto partners need to show that their relationship has existed for at least 6-12 months when the application is submitted.³

Dependent children are biological or step children that are still wholly or primarily dependent on you for their basic needs. They are also usually required to be unwed as well. ⁴

⚠️Parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, or siblings and their children are not considered part of the family unit by Australian immigration.

The Department of Home Affairs 1496i form can provide additional information on qualifying members of a family unit.

🖇Documents supporting non-migrating members

Check the documents that may be required to submit along with your application for non-migrating members.

✍ The application may ask for details on each non-migrating family member, including passport details. In case they don’t have a passport, you can just fill in their date of birth and name and leave the passport details blank. ⁵

🔖Any documents that you submit that are not in English will be required to have a certified English translation alongside it. ⁶

For Partners

If a marriage has taken place abroad, the marriage must be seen as valid and legal under Australian law. A copy of a legal marriage certificate can be attached to your application.

For de-facto partnerships, there should be evidence that your relationship existed for at least 6-12 months prior to submitting an application.⁷

For Children

Depending on the type of visa you are applying for, you may be required to provide the following documents to verify your parent-child relationship⁸:

• a certified copy of each child’s birth certificate; or
• a certified copy of adoption papers.

For a child to qualify for some visas they are required to never have been married or in a de facto relationship.

For any child that is over the age of 18, whether migrating or not, you will need to complete the “Form 47A details of child or other dependent family member aged 18 years or over”.⁹

In an instance where it is difficult to verify a family relationship, a DNA test may be required for you and your family member. The DNA test will need to be done through the process the Department of Home Affairs has laid out and you will need to cover the costs of doing so.¹⁰

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❓Frequently asked questions

Here are commonly asked questions about Australian visa applications for family members.

What would be considered part of a character clearance for non-migrating members of a family unit?

A police check can be considered part of a character clearance for a non-migrating family member, but what qualifies may depend on which visa you are applying for. Be sure to read your visa instructions carefully.

Are parents considered part of the family unit?

No in most cases they are not. If you would like to bring your parents over you will need to apply for seperate visas under the following categories:

• Parent category (subclasses 103 and 804); and
• Contributory Parent category (subclasses 143, 173, 864 and 884).

There are only a limited number of parent visa spots available by the Australian Government under the annual Migration Program.¹¹

What form details who qualifies for family members?

The Department of Home Affairs form 1496i is a clear resource to understand who and how family members are considered in the family unit. Read it carefully when you are applying for an Australian visa.

How do I pay for a visa application?

You can pay for your visa application in 4 different ways online:

  • Credit Card
  • PayPal
  • UnionPay
  • BPAY (Only for Australian bank accounts)

There is an additional fee depending on which method you use. The Department of Home Affairs also sets their own exchange rate twice a year.

When you submit your application on the Department of Home Affairs website, paying for the visa application will be the last step. ¹²

What if my child is born after submitting an application?

If the birth is after your application submission but before you have been granted a visa, you are required to tell the Department of Home Affairs as soon as possible. You will need to complete Form 1022 Notification of Change of Circumstances and either upload color copies of your child’s birth certificate to your ImmiAccount or mail a certified copy to the processing office. ¹³

How do I remove non qualifying family unit members from my application?

The Form 1022 Notification of Change of Circumstances can be used to remove any members you may have added to your application that don’t qualify as non-migrating family members. You can either submit it to the office where you have lodged your application.


**Sources**
  1. Non Migrating Family Members
  2. Australian Family Unit
  3. Australian Family Unit- Partners
  4. Australian Family Unit- Children
  5. Family members without a passport
  6. Foreign language documents
  7. Partners documentation
  8. Children documentation
  9. Children over the age of 18
  10. DNA test
  11. Parent visa
  12. Paying for an application
  13. Newborn child addition

All sources checked as of 15 March, 2021


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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