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Iran visa application Australia

Managing Associate (Lawyer)
May 7, 2024
10
minute read

The Australian Protection visa for Iranian nationals

Iranian immigration to Australia has long included Iranians seeking to escape economic and political hardships. While immigration from Iran was initially insignificant in 1950, it has exponentially increased following the 1979 Revolution. This trend has remained consistent ever since, as many Iranians continue to immigrate to escape persecution or to pursue greater opportunities. The Iranian community in Australia now totals over 50,000 people, each with diverse experiences of immigrating to the country.

Due to the actions of the Iranian regime, there are various reasons for why Iranian nationals may be able to seek a protection visa from Australia. Within Iran, domestic policies have occasionally been used to restrict the rights of individuals and allow for widespread and systematic human rights abuses. This includes harshly policing freedom of expression, association and assembly, conducting unfair trials and engaging in arbitrary detention where individuals are exposed to torture and mistreatment. Additionally, the regime has engaged in widespread discrimination of vulnerable groups, including against religious minorities and the LGBTIQA+ community. Recently, these behaviours have only increased as a result of rising levels of dissent within Iran, where state-sanctioned violence has been used to suppress popular uprisings and political critique of the regime.

Therefore, these circumstances may provide the basis for Iranians seeking protection within Australia. The following sections will outline the various options that are available.

The protection visa process for Iran

Eligibility criteria for Iran protection visas:

Iranian nationals seeking protection in Australia have several pathways available to them.

Firstly, for Iranians who have already travelled to Australia, they may apply for the subclass 866 visa. To be eligible for this visa, applicants must demonstrate that they have a well-founded fear of persecution due to their race, nationality, religion, political opinion or membership of a particular social group. This visa is only available for Iranians who have arrived in Australia on a valid visa and received immigration and customs clearance, as it allows them to seek protection while already within Australia’s borders. If granted, the visa will permit Iranian applicants to remain in Australia after the expiry of their original entry visa. 

For Iranian nationals outside of Australia, protection visas may be sought by applying under the Offshore Humanitarian stream (form 842). Applicants will need to similarly demonstrate the necessity of protection due to a well-founded fear of persecution within Iran. Applicants for visas in this stream must be outside of Australia when applying for protection. 

Alternatively, Iranians outside of Australia may also be able to apply for protection under the Global Special Humanitarian visa (subclass 202). To be eligible for this visa, applicants must demonstrate that they face discrimination amounting to a gross violation of their human rights within Iran, and additionally, they must have an Australian citizen, resident or organisation propose them. While immediate family members may propose an applicant, certain eligibility requirements apply. These proposers have various responsibilities for an applicant’s immigration to Australia, which can include paying for initial travel if the applicant is unable to. To apply for this visa, applicants must apply outside of Australia. 

Furthermore, applicants must also meet various other requirements including health, character and security requirements, as well as needing to sign the Australian values statement.

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Supporting documentation for Iran visa application

Identity Documents:

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

Humanitarian Circumstances:

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

Visas or Residence Permits:

  • Certified copies of current visas or permits.

Relationship Documents:

  • Certified copies of marriage certificates or registrations.

Photographs:

  • Passport-size 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:

  • Translation of non-English documents into English.

Document Preparation for Online Applications:

  • Colour scans or photos of documents.
  • Clarity and labelling.
  • Consolidation of multi-page documents.
  • Sponsorship and travel assistance documentation.

Lodging an Iranian protection visa in Australia

Iranian applicants can lodge their visa application form in various ways. It is recommended that where possible, applications should be submitted through the designated online website once completed with all accompanying documents due to the convenience and efficiency of this process. Alternatively, a paper visa application form can still be submitted to the Special Humanitarian Processing Centre at the Department of Home Affairs in Sydney, NSW. The address for postal applications is GPO Box 9984, Sydney, NSW 2001. 

Iranian applicants are advised by the Australian Embassy in the Islamic Republic of Iran that the Iranian embassy does not process visa applications or provide immigration services.

Conditions and compliance for an Iranian visa

If Iranian applicants successfully obtain protection, various conditions will apply, including: 

Stay and Living Rights:

  • Live, work and study in Australia permanently (beginning upon entry).
  • Enrol in Australia’s public healthcare scheme (Medicare).
  • If eligible, propose family members for permanent residence.
  • If eligible, become an Australian citizen.

Obligations:

  • Enter Australia before the specified initial arrival date.
  • Obey all Australian laws.
  • Notify the Department of any situational changes .
  • Subclass 866 visas have a travel condition attached (Travel Condition 8559).

Cost:

  • Subclass 866 visa costs $45.
  • There is no visa application charge for the other two visa types specified above unless applicants are proposed under the Community Support Program.

Travel:

  • Applicants are responsible for arranging initial travel to Australia.
  • Travel to and from Australia for 5 years (after 5 years a Resident Return visa is required).

Iranian nationals whose protection claims are accepted should be aware of the variety of programs which are provided to them. These programs cover a range of areas including introducing Australia’s history and culture, English language training and resettlement support. 

Iranian-Australian visa processing time

Many different factors may impact the time it takes for the department to process an Iranian nationals application. Though the Department endeavours to process applications in a timely manner and provide decisions quickly, delays can often arise for many reasons, including when the Department validates an application and its supporting documents. Due to the nature of protection visa applications, they are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, meaning it can be difficult to determine how long it will take to process an application.

When an application is made, applicants are not able to contact the Department directly to receive an update on the status of their visa application.

Support from migration lawyers within Australia

Though Iranian citizens are capable of independently completing a visa application, support from an Australian Migration Lawyer can dramatically enhance an applicant’s prospects for success. Australian Migration Lawyers possess experience in guiding applicants through the visa process and have a thorough understanding of Australia’s immigration laws, policies, and visa options. By seeking the assistance of an Australian Migration Lawyer, Iranian applicants can ensure that their application meets all relevant requirements and includes sufficient supporting material, reducing the risk of any delays. Moreover, should any legal complexities arise, Australian Migration Lawyers can assist in navigating these issues. While not obligatory, their involvement can substantially improve an applicant's prospects and alleviate the stresses of seeking protection in Australia.

Supporting evidence for your application 

In addition to the various documents that are required to accompany any application, foreign nationals must provide a statement outlining the well-founded fear of persecution they are facing. In this statement, applicants should clearly demonstrate the circumstances that they have faced, including a timeline of events, the source of threats or harm and evidence of attempts to receive assistance. If applicable, applicants should also include information surrounding how they left Iran. Any evidence supporting this statement should be included. Iranian applicants should be specific, truthful and avoid any generalisations as the Department will check the validity of this statement. 

If applicants are seeking protection alongside other members of their family, they must submit a separate statement.

The protection visa interview for Iranian nationals

During the application process, Iranian nationals may be asked to attend a formal interview arranged and conducted by the Department of Home Affairs. Before this interview, it is important for applicants to review their application and any information that has been provided. Furthermore applicants should approach the interview with honesty as a priority. If there are any changes to the applicant’s circumstances or if there have been any errors in their application, applicants should promptly contact the Department. This is because in the interview, the Department will review the application that has been made. Various aspects of the application will be examined, and questions may be asked about the applicant’s identity, credibility or any concerns that the Department may have with the application. Where requested, applicants should be prepared to disclose any further requested information. If necessary, seeking advice from an Australian Migration Lawyer can be helpful for applicants to prepare for the interview and manage any subsequent communications with the Department.

The administrative processes

The visa application process can be time-consuming and occurs in stages. Before applying, Iranian applicants should carefully consider the various options available to them instead of submitting visa applications randomly. The applicants will need to gather the necessary documents and fill out the requisite forms, as well as those of any partners or dependents. After the application has been lodged, applicants may be required to undergo health exams, interviews, or provide biometric data. If any errors or mistakes are discovered in the application, applicants should promptly contact the Department. Once a decision has been made, the Department notifies the applicant of the outcome. While this process can be challenging, the support of an Australian Migration Lawyer can provide applicants with confidence and guidance throughout it, increasing the chances of a successful application.

Advice specific to your case

Although there is ample information available to assist Iranian applicants in the visa application process, seeking specific tailored advice for their case could be highly beneficial. Australian Migration Lawyers offer initial consultations to discuss the range of visa options that may be available and could tailor ongoing support for an applicant’s needs. By meeting with an applicant and discussing their individual circumstances, Australian Migration Lawyers could provide personalised advice that could increase an applicant's chance of success. Only through these consultations can an Australian Migration Lawyer achieve a thorough understanding of the applicant’s particular situation.

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Legal Support with appeals and reviews

An Australian Migration Lawyer can offer comprehensive support for Iranian applicants, both during the visa application process and after the decision has been made by the Department. In addition to ensuring the application process is carried out correctly, Australian Migration Lawyers assist applicants in understanding the outcome of their application and provide guidance on next steps. If further action is required, such as reviewing the decision, an Australian Migration Lawyer can advise on the available avenues for appeal and if necessary can represent applicants at Australia’s administrative review tribunal or the Federal Court.

Immigration policy changes in Iran

Iranian applicants should understand that Australia’s immigration laws and policies are dynamic and frequently change. These changes can occur for domestic and foreign affairs reasons, making predicting future changes to immigration law difficult. It is critical that applicants stay informed about updates published by the Department regarding migration and appreciate how changes may affect their application. An Australian Migration Lawyer can provide invaluable assistance in navigating any developments, as they have access to the relevant information that could affect the claim of an Iranian applicant. Being aware of these changes and seeking legal assistance could be instrumental in ensuring the success of any application.

Support from Australian Migration Lawyers

Iranian applicants might find the complex and stressful application process for protection in Australia daunting, especially considering the circumstances they might already face in Iran. While an applicant can apply for a visa alone, seeking assistance from an Australian Migration Lawyer can help ease some of the burden they might face. An Australian Migration Lawyer possesses relevant experience in supporting visa applicants going through Australia’s processes and understands the various immigration laws and policies that may apply. By providing tailored assistance, an Australian Migration Lawyer can simplify the process, giving applicants confidence that they have provided themselves with the greatest opportunity to obtain protection.

Australian Migration Lawyers team

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