Visa 864 vs 143

Visa 864 vs 143: Exploring the Differences

This page aims to provide a detailed understanding of both visa subclasses, helping applicants make an informed decision that best suits their circumstances and paving the way for a smooth transition to life in Australia.

This guide specifically focuses on two significant visa subclasses: the Contributory Parent Visa (Subclass 143) and the Contributory Aged Parent Visa (Subclass 864). Both visas offer parents of Australian citizens or permanent residents the chance to join their children in Australia permanently. However, they are distinct in their eligibility criteria, costs, and other requirements.

Differences Between 143 and 864 Visa

When considering reuniting with parents in Australia, it is essential to understand the nuances of the visa options available. The Contributory Parent Visa (Subclass 143) and the Contributory Aged Parent Visa (Subclass 864) are two such options, each with distinct features tailored to different applicant circumstances.

Contributory Parent Visa (Subclass 143)

The Subclass 143 visa is designed for parents of Australian citizens, permanent residents, or eligible New Zealand citizens wishing to migrate to Australia permanently. The primary allure of this visa is the relatively shorter processing time compared to non-contributory parent visas, generally around three years. However, this expedited processing comes with a higher cost, specifically AUD47,825, reflecting the ‘contributory’ aspect of the visa​​.

Applicants for this visa must satisfy certain criteria:

  • Have a sponsor, typically an eligible child.
  • Meet the balance-of-family test, ensuring that at least half of their children live in Australia.
  • Secure an assurance of support, demonstrating financial independence from government assistance after arriving in Australia.
  • Fulfill health and character requirements, including medical examinations and police certificates​​.

Contributory Aged Parent Visa (Subclass 864)

The Subclass 864 visa is akin to the Subclass 143 but specifically caters to aged parents. It allows for permanent residency in Australia for parents old enough to receive the Australian state pension (currently 66 years). Like the Subclass 143, it carries a hefty price tag of AUD47,825 and offers a two-step application process. Applicants can initially apply for a temporary Subclass 884 visa, permitting a 2-year stay, and subsequently apply for the permanent Subclass 864 visa, thus spreading the financial burden over several years​​.

Eligibility criteria for the Subclass 864 closely mirror those of the Subclass 143, with the additional requirement of meeting the age threshold for the Australian state pension. It also provides the privilege of living, working, and enrolling in Medicare in Australia, similar to the Subclass 143 visa​​.

Comparative Analysis: Visa 864 vs 143

Both visas share the ‘contributory’ label, denoting higher costs in exchange for quicker processing times compared to non-contributory visas. The key distinctions lie in the age requirement for the Subclass 864 and the two-step application process that allows spreading the cost over time. The choice between the two largely depends on the applicant’s age and their financial strategy for handling the visa fees.

In summary, while both the Subclass 143 and Subclass 864 visas offer pathways to reunite families in Australia, they cater to different applicant profiles, balancing cost against processing time and applicant age. Understanding these nuances is crucial in selecting the most appropriate visa for bringing parents to Australia.

Contributory Parent Visa (Subclass 143)

The Contributory Parent Visa (Subclass 143) offers a promising route for parents of Australian citizens, permanent residents, or eligible New Zealand citizens to gain permanent residency in Australia. This visa balances the need for family reunification with the financial commitments required to support the Australian healthcare system and other public services. Understanding the nuances of this visa is crucial for a successful application.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Sponsorship: Applicants must be sponsored by their child, who must be an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen. The sponsor needs to be settled in Australia and fulfill certain obligations to support the applicant for the first two years.
  • Balance-of-Family Test: This test ensures that at least half of the applicant’s children live lawfully and permanently in Australia or that more children live in Australia than in any other country.
  • Assurance of Support: Applicants must provide an assurance of support to prove they won’t rely on social welfare after moving to Australia. This is typically a legal commitment by a person (not necessarily the sponsor) to financially support the applicant.
  • Health and Character Requirements: Applicants must meet certain health and character requirements, including undergoing medical examinations and obtaining police certificates from countries they have lived in for 12 months or more during the last 10 years.

Financial Aspect

The visa carries a significant cost, reflecting its ‘contributory’ nature, intended to offset the public healthcare expenses. The primary applicant faces a charge of AUD47,825. Additional charges apply for family members included in the application. It’s also worth noting that costs for health checks, police certificates, and biometrics are not included in this fee and will be additional​​.

Processing Time

The processing time for the Subclass 143 visa is generally quicker than non-contributory parent visas. While there are no standard processing times available from the Department of Home Affairs, it’s understood that the process can take around 3 years. However, this may vary based on individual circumstances and the completeness of the application​​.

Benefits and Privileges

Upon approval, holders of the Subclass 143 visa can:

  • Stay in Australia indefinitely as Australian permanent residents.
  • Work and study in Australia.
  • Enrol in Medicare, Australia’s scheme for health-related care and expenses.
  • Sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence.
  • Apply for Australian citizenship if they meet certain requirements.

Contributory Aged Parent Visa (Subclass 864)

The Contributory Aged Parent Visa (Subclass 864) is designed to facilitate parents of Australian citizens, permanent residents, or eligible New Zealand citizens, who are of Australian pensioner age, to live permanently in Australia. This visa is part of the ‘contributory’ category, which implies a significant financial contribution is required from the applicant to offset public healthcare and social security costs.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Age Requirement: Applicants must be of Australian pensioner age (65+), with the age varying slightly based on specific conditions.
  • Sponsorship: Applicants need to be sponsored by a child, their partner, or in certain circumstances, a community organization. The sponsor should be a legal Australian or New Zealand citizen or a permanent resident who has been living in Australia for at least two years.
  • Balance of Family Test: Applicants must pass this test, which means at least half of their children must live lawfully and permanently in Australia, or more of their children live in Australia than any other single country.
  • Health and Character Requirements: Applicants must meet certain health and character requirements, including undergoing medical examinations and obtaining police certificates.
  • Assurance of Support (AOS): A legal bond with the Department of Human Services, this is an additional cost paid by the sponsor at the time of decision. For two applicants, this is estimated to be around $14,000. It’s an agreement to provide financial support to the applicant to ensure they don’t rely on government income support.
  • Application Location: Applicants must be in Australia at the time of application and decision-making​.

Financial Aspect

The Subclass 864 visa comes with a substantial cost, reflecting its contributory nature:

  • First instalment: AUD4,765 for the main applicant and AUD2,380 for any additional applicants.
  • Second instalment: AUD43,600 for each applicant.
  • Additional charges for Assurance of Support: AUD5,000 for the main applicant and AUD2,000 for any adult secondary applicants.
  • Other costs: May include health assessments, police certificates, biometrics, and a 1.4% surcharge on the visa fee.

Note that there may not be any refund if the visa application is refused​​.

Processing Time

The processing time for the Subclass 864 visa can be lengthy, with the possibility of taking at least 12 years. Factors that can influence the processing time include the completeness of the application, the time taken by external agencies to provide supporting information, and the availability of places in the visa queue​​.

Benefits and Privileges

Upon approval, holders of the Subclass 864 visa can:

  • Stay in Australia indefinitely as permanent residents.
  • Work and study in Australia.
  • Enroll in Medicare, Australia’s public health scheme.
  • Sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence.
  • Apply for Australian citizenship, if eligible.
  • Travel to and from Australia for up to five years​.

Application Process and Documentation

Navigating the application process for both the Contributory Parent Visa (Subclass 143) and the Contributory Aged Parent Visa (Subclass 864) requires meticulous attention to detail and adherence to the stipulated guidelines. Here is a comprehensive step-by-step guide, outlining the required documents and evidence, and offering tips to ensure a successful application process.

Step-by-Step Guide to Applying

  • Confirm Eligibility: Before you begin, confirm that you meet all eligibility criteria for the respective visa subclass. This includes age requirements (particularly for Subclass 864), sponsorship by an eligible child or community organization, meeting the balance-of-family test, and satisfying health and character requirements.
  • Gather Necessary Documents: Compile all necessary documentation. This typically includes:
    • Identity proofs (passport, birth certificate)
    • Relationship evidence (marriage certificates, birth certificates of children)
    • Health assessments and police certificates
    • Financial documents for the Assurance of Support (AoS)
    • Any additional documents specified by the Department of Home Affairs.
  • Prepare Assurance of Support (AoS): For both visas, an AoS must be prepared, generally by the sponsor, ensuring that the applicant will not depend on government welfare. This involves a legal commitment and possibly a bond payment.
  • Submit Application: Complete the application form with attention to detail and submit it along with all required documents. Ensure you follow the specific submission guidelines for each visa subclass.
  • Pay Fees and Charges: Pay the necessary application fees. Remember, both visas require payment in two installments, with the Contributory Parent Visa (Subclass 143) and Contributory Aged Parent Visa (Subclass 864) having different fee structures. Keep receipts of all payments for your records.
  • Await Assessment and Decision: After submission, your application will undergo assessment. This may take considerable time, during which you might be asked to provide additional information or attend interviews.
  • Receive and Acknowledge Visa Grant: Once your application is approved, you’ll receive your visa. Acknowledge the receipt and understand the conditions attached to your visa.

Required Documents and Evidence

  • Identity and Relationship Documents: Clear and valid identity documentation for each family member included in the application. Relationship evidence to establish the connection between the sponsor and the applicant.
  • Health and Character Certificates: Health assessments from panel physicians and police certificates from every country you’ve lived in for 12 months or more over the last ten years.
  • Financial Evidence for AoS: Documents demonstrating the financial capability of the sponsor or the person providing the AoS.

Tips for a Successful Application Process

  • Accuracy is Key: Ensure all information provided in the application is accurate and truthful. Discrepancies can lead to delays or denial.
  • Complete Documentation: Incomplete applications can result in delays. Double-check that all required documents are included before submission.
  • Understand the Commitment: Both the applicant and the sponsor should fully understand the financial and legal commitments involved, particularly regarding the AoS.
  • Seek Professional Help if Needed: The application process can be complex. Don’t hesitate to seek assistance from registered migration agents or immigration lawyers.
  • Keep Up-to-Date: Immigration policies and fees can change. Regularly check the official Department of Home Affairs website for the most current information.
  • Prepare for the Wait: Understand that processing times can be lengthy. Patience and preparation for this period are crucial.

Additional Considerations and Support

When applying for the Contributory Parent Visa (Subclass 143) or the Contributory Aged Parent Visa (Subclass 864), it’s crucial to pay attention to certain aspects beyond the basic application requirements. Understanding these additional considerations and where to seek support can significantly influence the success of your visa application and your transition to life in Australia.

Importance of Meeting Health Requirements and Having Health Insurance

  • Health Requirements: Both visa subclasses require applicants to meet certain health standards. This typically involves comprehensive medical examinations to protect Australia’s public health interests. It’s advisable to schedule these examinations ahead of time as they are a crucial part of the visa assessment process.
  • Health Insurance: Although both visas provide access to Medicare, Australia’s public healthcare scheme, it’s wise to have adequate health insurance until your Medicare coverage becomes active. This ensures that you’re covered for any medical expenses that might arise immediately upon your arrival in Australia.

Understanding the Assurance of Support

  • Financial Responsibility: The Assurance of Support (AoS) is a legal commitment by a sponsor, or another individual, to support the visa applicant financially. This ensures that the applicant will not rely on Australian government welfare for a stipulated period.
  • Bond Payment: In some cases, a bond payment is required as part of the AoS. This is held for a certain period (typically ten years) and is used to recoup any welfare payments that the applicant might claim during this period.
  • Choosing the Right Supporter: The person providing the AoS should have a stable financial history and understand the commitment they are undertaking. It’s a long-term responsibility, and breaching the terms can have financial repercussions.

Role of Sponsors in the Visa Application Process

  • Sponsorship Approval: For both visa types, the applicant must be sponsored by an eligible person, usually a child, spouse of a child, or a community organization. The sponsorship must be approved by the Department of Home Affairs, and the sponsor must meet certain income and residency requirements.
  • Support and Settlement: Sponsors play a crucial role not just in the application process but also in helping the applicant settle in Australia. This includes providing financial support, accommodation, and guidance in navigating life in a new country.

How to Choose the Right Visa Based on Individual Circumstances and Future Plans

  • Assessing Personal Circumstances: Consider your age, health, financial status, and the proximity and status of your children in Australia. For instance, if you are of pensionable age, the Subclass 864 might be more suitable.
  • Financial Planning: Evaluate your financial readiness to meet the significant costs associated with these visas, especially the second installment of the visa application charge.
  • Future Plans: Think about your long-term plans. Do you intend to work, study, or retire in Australia? Your future intentions can influence the choice of visa.
  • Consultation with Experts: Given the complexity and financial implications of these visas, seeking advice from registered migration agents or immigration lawyers can be invaluable. They can offer personalized advice based on your individual circumstances and future plans.


The journey to family reunification in Australia through the Contributory Parent Visa (Subclass 143) and the Contributory Aged Parent Visa (Subclass 864) is marked by careful planning, understanding of complex requirements, and significant financial commitment. Both visas offer the cherished opportunity for parents to live permanently with their children in Australia but cater to different applicant profiles with distinct conditions.

Recap of Main Differences Between Visa 143 and Visa 864:

  • Age Requirement: Subclass 864 is specifically designed for aged parents who meet the Australian pensioner age criteria, typically 65 years and above, while Subclass 143 does not have an age requirement.
  • Visa Costs and Payment Structure: Both visas require a substantial financial contribution, paid in two installments, but the exact amounts and conditions vary.
  • Health and Character Requirements: Applicants for both visas must meet stringent health and character requirements, ensuring they do not pose a public health risk and have a record of good character.
  • Assurance of Support: A critical component for both visas, requiring a sponsor to provide financial assurance that the visa holder will not rely on government welfare.

Additional Resources

For further guidance and the most accurate, up-to-date information, the following official resources are invaluable:

  • Department of Home Affairs (Australia): Official Website
    • Comprehensive information on visa types, application processes, fees, and more.
  • Visa Pricing Estimator: Pricing Estimator
    • An online tool to estimate visa application charges.
  • Medicare Enrollment: Medicare Enrollment
    • Information on how to enroll in Medicare and the benefits it offers.

For personalized advice and assistance with your application: