The Balance of Family Test

The Balance of Family Test specifies that at least half of your children live permanently in Australia. To put it another way, more of your children need to live permanently in Australia than in any other country.

Step children and adopted children of both parents are also counted in the Balance of Family Test. The table below illustrates how the Balance of Family Test is applied.

Total no. of children No. of children usually residing in Australia No. of children usually residing in other countries Meets the Balance of Family Test?
Country A Country B Country C Country D
1 1 - - - - Yes
2 1 1 - - - Yes
3 1 2 - - - No
3 1 1 1 - - No
4 2 2 - - - Yes
4 1 1 1 1 - No
4 1 2 1 - - No
5 1 1 1 1 1 No
5 2 1 1 1 - Yes
5 3 2 - - - Yes
6 2 2 2 - - No

The Parent Visa comprises two categories:

The Non Contributory Parent Visa Category

This is the standard Parent Visa category for parents to obtain permanent residency in Australia. All Non Contributory Parent Visas are capped. The Minister (DIBP) determines the cap. The cap is a figure that specifies the number of visas in the particular class that may be granted in any year.

While your visa application is being assessed by the DIBP, it will be given a queue date. Visa applications are processed and finalised in order of the queue date, only as migration places become available in that year. Non Contributory Parent Visa applicants may wait for up to 30 years before their Parent Visa is approved.

The Contributory Parent Visa Category

Under the Contributory Parent Visa category, applicants can either apply directly for a permanent visa or go through a two-stage process.

In the two-stage process, applicants first apply for a Temporary Contributory Parent Visa. This temporary visa is valid for a period of two (2) years only. It cannot be extended or renewed. Within the two (2) year period, the visa applicant may then apply for the corresponding permanent visa.

Contributory Parent Visa applicants must pay for both the base application fee and a second instalment of the VAC (sometimes referred to as the 2nd VAC). First and second instalment payments apply to both the temporary and permanent visas. The timeframe for processing the Contributory Parent Visa category is approximately 18-24 months.

Assurance of Support

All Parent Visa applicants are required to pledge an Assurance of Support (AoS). This is a legal commitment by the assurer to repay the Commonwealth of Australia for some financial allowances paid by Centrelink to the visa applicant. Managed by Department of Human Services, the AoS bond is held by Centrelink during the first ten (10) years of an applicant living in Australia. Prior to the grant of visa, the Assurer is required to contribute funds to the AoS bond. At the end of the AoS bond period, the original amount will be released to the Assurer.

What is the difference between the Contributory and Non Contributory Parent Visas?

The main differences between these two visa categories are the waiting periods and fees. Applicants in the Non Contributory Parent category have a far longer waiting period for their applications to be finalised. On the other hand, Contributory Parent Visa applicants are given a higher priority during the processing timeframe.

The Contributory Parent Visa applicant is charged a higher fee by the DIPB. The contribution (or 2nd VAC) is currently AUD$43 600 per applicant. These fees are subject to an annual adjustment at the start of each financial year. The financial year commences on the 1st of July.

The differences between the two Parent Visa types are outlined in the table below.

Non Contributory Parent Visa Contributory Parent Visa
Much lower 2nd VAC DIBP payment Much higher 2nd VAC DIBP payment
Lower Assurance of Support (AoS) bond fee Higher AoS bond fee
Shorter AoS bond period Longer AoS bond period
Lower cost but longer processing time Higher cost but shorter processing time

Contact us for more information on your visa eligibility. Please call us at +61 413 910 985 or drop us an email at