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Can I travel to my home country on a Protection visa?

Australian Migration Lawyer
January 30, 2024
4
minute read

The primary purpose of a Protection visa (Subclass 866) is to offer a safe haven to individuals who fear persecution in their home country. Traveling back to the very place you seek protection from raises complex legal considerations.

Protection visa holders are subject to travel restrictions such as travel condition 8559 which places specific limitations on the visa holder's ability to travel to certain countries, especially their home country. The underlying principle is rooted in the acknowledgment that the visa is granted on the basis of a well-founded fear of persecution in the individual's home country. Traveling back to this very place might compromise the individual's safety and defeat the purpose of seeking protection in Australia.

The stipulations of travel condition 8559 generally include:

Restrictions on Travel to Home Country:

A general prohibition from entering the country from which they (or the primary visa holder, if they hold the visa as a member of the primary visa holder’s family unit) were found to engage Australia’s protection obligations.

Requirement for Department Approval:

Prior written approval in writing from the Minister for Home Affairs (or their delegate) is necessary for the visa holder to enter the country from which you were granted protection. Approval to enter the country of origin is granted only under specific circumstances, namely compassionate or compelling reasons for travel. Compelling or compassionate reasons may include:

  • visiting or caring for a close relative who is seriously ill or dying
  • attending the funeral of a close relative.

How to request permission to travel:

You should make an appointment with an Australian Migration Lawyer in order to discuss your circumstances. You must provide a detailed explanation of why your circumstances are compassionate and compelling enough to justify entry to your country of reference and details of all the people you plan to visit. Please note that failure to provide sufficient information with your request may lead to processing delays or, in some cases, the denial of your request. 

Processing time:

The Department of Home Affairs generally requires at least 4 weeks to process a request for travel. If you lodge your request outside that timeframe, your request will not necessarily be expedited or given priority unless there is an emergency outside your control. In case of urgent travel requirements, adhere to the standard procedure but ensure to:

  • Clearly indicate the urgency of the travel request
  • Provide a detailed explanation of why the travel is urgent, along with any supporting evidence
  • Specify the desired travel date

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Book consultation

If you are interested in getting more information about a Protection visa, get in touch with Australian Migration Lawyers for a consultation.

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Cancellation risk for unauthorized travel

If you enter the country from which you were granted protection without written approval from the Minister for Home Affairs (or their delegate), even for a short time, you will breach visa condition 8559. As a result, your visa (and the visas of members of your family unit) may be cancelled.

Understanding the nuances of Travel Condition 8559 is imperative for Protection visa holders contemplating international travel, especially to their home country. Seeking Department Approval is a crucial step in ensuring compliance with visa conditions and safeguarding one's protected status in Australia. Given the critical nature of travel requests on a Protection visa, engaging the services of Australian Migration Lawyers for personalized guidance and insights into individual circumstances is recommended.

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