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Ethiopia visa Australia

Managing Associate (Lawyer)
May 7, 2024
minute read

The Australian Protection visa for Ethiopian nationals

Ethiopian migration to Australia has been shaped by decades of natural disasters and political turmoil, leading to diverse communities with varied backgrounds and migration experiences. While some refugees arrived in the '80s and '90s due to political persecution during the Derg regime, the majority migrated after 2000, including those fleeing post-Derg persecution and conflicts such as the war with Eritrea.  The community is diverse, comprising various ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups, with interactions between Ethiopians and Eritreans often characterized by mutual identity ties.

Ethiopian nationals may seek protection in Australia for a number of reasons, including fleeing political violence or persecution. Most recently, Ethiopia faced armed conflict in November 2020 between the government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), resulting in thousands of deaths and the displacement of millions. A peace deal was reached in November 2022, but millions still require humanitarian aid, particularly in conflict-affected regions like Tigray, Afar, and Amhara. Gender-based violence has surged, with limited healthcare and justice services for women and children. Ethnic groups in Ethiopia face varying risks, with Oromos and Amharas experiencing historical marginalization and facing moderate risks of violence in minority areas. Tigrayans perceive a growing threat and face similar risks in rural minority areas. Eritreans and Ethiopians of Eritrean origin have faced challenges like deportation but currently do not face widespread discrimination based on ethnicity.

As such Ethiopians may be eligible for a protection visa in Australia. The following sections will detail the visa options and eligibility criteria. 

The protection visa process for Ethiopia

Eligibility criteria for Ethiopia protection visas:

The first avenue for Ethiopian nationals seeking humanitarian visas is through the Offshore Humanitarian stream (Form 842). Applicants must demonstrate that they face substantial discrimination in Ethiopia, constituting a severe violation of their human rights. This criterion aims to offer protection and aid to those experiencing persecution or discrimination based on factors like ethnicity, religion, political beliefs, or other similar grounds.

Another option for Ethiopians seeking refuge is to apply for a Global Special Humanitarian visa (subclass 202), which requires sponsorship from an Australian entity. To be eligible for this visa, individuals must be residing outside of Ethiopia and Australia when applying, indicating a genuine need for protection from persecution or discrimination. Additionally, they must have a sponsor, who can be an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or organization. Immediate family members can also serve as sponsors if they meet the criteria for a split family visa application. The sponsor plays a vital role in assisting with the applicant's resettlement and may need to cover travel expenses if necessary. 

Finally, Ethiopians who are currently onshore in Australia and arrived legally may also be eligible for a  subclass 866 Protection visa. This is intended for individuals from Ethiopia who have arrived in Australia on a valid visa and seek asylum due to facing persecution or significant harm in their home country. If granted, this visa allows them to remain in Australia permanently, provided they fulfill Australia's protection obligations and satisfy all other conditions for visa approval.


Book consultation

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


Ethiopian visa supporting documentation

Identity Documents:

  • Passport with personal details.
  • National identity card.
  • Proof of name change.

Humanitarian Circumstances:

  • Registration with refugee organizations.
  • Statement explaining reasons for leaving their home country.

Visas or Residence Permits:

  • Certified copies of current visas or permits.

Relationship Documents:

  • Certified copies of marriage certificates or registrations.


  • Passport-sized photographs per applicant.

Application Forms:

  • Refugee and humanitarian proposal forms.

Character Documents:

  • Military service records (if applicable).

Notification of Assistance:

  • Immigration assistance forms.
  • Dependents' Documents:
  • Identity documents.
  • Relationship proof.
  • Visas or permits.
  • Marriage certificates or registrations.
  • Character documents (if applicable).


  • Translation of non-English documents into English.
  • Document Preparation for Online Applications:
  • Color scans or photos of documents.
  • Clarity and labeling.
  • Consolidation of multi-page documents.
  • Sponsorship and travel assistance documentation.

Lodging an Ethiopia protection visa 

The application process for a Humanitarian visa related to Ethiopia can be done either online or through postal submission. Applying online is recommended for its convenience and efficiency. For online applications, complete the necessary forms such as Form 842 for the Offshore Humanitarian visa and Form 681 for the refugee and special humanitarian proposal, and submit them along with required documents through the designated web portal. 

Alternatively, for paper applications, mail the completed forms and supporting documents to the Special Humanitarian Processing Centre at the Department of Home Affairs in Sydney, NSW. The address for postal submissions is GPO Box 9984, Sydney, NSW 2001. If applying offshore using Form 842, applications can be sent to the specified addresses.

Ethiopian visa compliance and conditions

If granted a Global Special Humanitarian visa (subclass 202) or a Humanitarian visa (Form 842) for Ethiopia, certain conditions and obligations will apply:

Stay and Rights: Holders can remain in Australia indefinitely, work and study, access public healthcare through Medicare, propose family members for permanent residence, travel to and from Australia for five years, and become eligible for Australian citizenship. They can also attend free English language classes.

Duration of Stay: Permanent residency begins upon arrival in Australia on the visa.

Family Inclusion: Eligible family members include partners, dependent children, partner’s dependent children, and other dependent relatives, who must meet health and character requirements. Declaration of all family members is required, even if not applying together.

Cost: There is no visa application charge unless proposed under the Community Support Program.

Obligations: Holders must enter Australia before the specified initial arrival date, obey all Australian laws, and arrange their own travel to Australia.

The processing time for an Ethiopian-Australian visa

Visa processing times can vary a lot due to different reasons. The Department tries to handle all applications promptly, but there are delays because of requirements like checking family ties, health, character, and identities. Also, limits on visa numbers and waiting lists for certain visas can slow things down. Even though the Department works to speed up humanitarian visa reviews, how long it takes depends on individual cases, where you are, and how quickly needed documents and staff are available.

Support from migration lawyers within Australia

Seeking assistance from an Australian Migration Lawyer proves advantageous when making a protection claim. These professionals possess a thorough understanding of Australia's visa regulations and can effectively navigate applicants through the process. With their assistance, applicants can verify the completeness of required documents and ensure adherence to eligibility criteria. Migration lawyers are equipped to address any legal complications that may arise, streamlining the process. Their expertise enhances the likelihood of a successful outcome and alleviates the burdens associated with the application process.

Supporting evidence for your application 

To support your application for protection in Australia as an Ethiopian, you must provide a detailed statement outlining the serious harm you fear if forced to return to your country. If other family members are also at risk, they should submit separate statements. Your statement should chronologically detail the events that led to your departure, including who caused the problems, any attempts to seek help, and how you left Ethiopia. Provide specific examples and avoid generalizations about the country's dangers. Be truthful and avoid embellishment, as the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) will verify the information. Additionally, submit any supporting documents, such as letters, photos, or medical reports, along with original identity and nationality documents. Ensure that all documents are genuine and translated into English if necessary.

The Ethiopian protection visa interview

When attending your protection visa interview at the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) as an Ethiopian applicant, careful planning and honesty are essential. Prepare your logistics, review your statement, and disclose any new information beforehand. During the interview, expect questions about your identity, truthfulness, and potential harm in Ethiopia. An interpreter will assist, and consistency with your statement is crucial. Be ready to address any discrepancies, as the officer may access various information sources. Promptly share any additional relevant details and seek professional advice from an Australian Migration Lawyer if needed, particularly regarding post-interview correspondence from Immigration. Common interview questions cover obtaining personal documents, personal background details, past and potential harms in Ethiopia, and any security or political affiliations.

The administrative processes

For Ethiopian humanitarian applicants, engaging an experienced Australian Migration Lawyer is crucial. They provide tailored guidance on visa requirements, assist in compiling accurate documentation, and offer representation during interviews. Promptly responding to requests and staying informed about immigration policies is essential. With the support of an Australian Migration Lawyer, Ethiopian humanitarian applicants can navigate the administrative process confidently and efficiently and increase your chances of success.

Advice specific to your case

While the internet offers numerous helpful resources, there are instances where seeking tailored advice is crucial. Our team of Australian Migration Lawyers provides complimentary initial consultations to explore your visa options and offer strategic guidance tailored to your situation. Due to the complexity of individual cases, it's challenging for any lawyer to offer detailed advice without conducting a comprehensive interview.


Support with appeals and reviews

Our Australian Migration Lawyers are equipped to offer continuous assistance to Ethiopian applicants, guiding them through the entire application process, including any necessary appeals or reviews. Upon receiving a decision on your application, we will promptly inform you of the outcome. If your application is successful, we'll celebrate with you. However, if the decision is unfavorable, our lawyers will provide support and advise you on potential appeal options, representing you at Australia's administrative review tribunal or the Federal Court if needed.

Ethiopian immigration changes

Ethiopia has been facing a significant humanitarian and protection crisis since armed conflict erupted in the Tigray, Amhara, and Afar regions in November 2020. This crisis has resulted in over 2.6 million internally displaced people, 240,000 returnees, and more than 97,000 refugees and asylum-seekers. The security situation remains complex, hampering aid delivery to those in dire need. Women and children make up the majority of those fleeing, often undertaking perilous journeys with limited belongings. Additionally, Ethiopia has become a key transit point for migrants from Eritrea and Somalia, serving as a gateway to various destinations in Europe and the Middle East. Migration routes from Ethiopia span eastward to the Persian Gulf states, southward to South Africa, and northward across the Sahara, reflecting the diverse journeys undertaken by migrants based on their circumstances and aspirations.

Support from Australian Migration Lawyers

Managing administrative processes for Ethiopian humanitarian applicants can be complex. Seeking assistance from experienced Australian Migration Lawyers greatly simplifies the process, as they offer tailored guidance and ensure compliance with immigration laws. Understanding visa requirements thoroughly, accurately compiling necessary documentation, and attending interviews promptly are vital steps. Immigration authorities may request additional information, which should be provided promptly. Staying updated on policy changes and seeking support from reputable organizations are also crucial. By following these steps and seeking legal assistance, applicants can navigate the administrative process with confidence and efficiency.

Australian Migration Lawyers team

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