What is a Dependent Visa?

family of four standing together

A dependent visa, also sometimes referred to as a family visa, is a specific type of visa which allows for family members to join you if you are coming to Australia to work or study on a temporary base.

The majority of working visas allow you to include dependent family members as applicants, alternatively there are various other options for bringing your family, including your partner’s dependent children, to Australia if you are working here.

Dependant typically means someone who is financially dependent on you, which may include your spouse or partner and any children.


Aged dependant relatives such as parents or grandparents may also be eligible for those coming to Australia on a migrant worker or business visa. Some working visas restrict family members only to your spouse or partner and dependent children only up to 23 years of age.

Medical Practitioners wishing to work in Australia typically arrive on a temporary 457 working visa, which allows them to live and work in Australia for a maximum of four years with continued sponsorship.

Your partner and children, including children of your partner, can be included in the visa application at the time of lodgement. Partner includes married spouse, fiancé or de-facto partner including same-sex relationships.

Evidence of family relationships will be required as well as supporting documentation such as birth certificates for children. If your child is born after you lodge your application and before a decision is made the child will automatically be included in your application but you should advise the relevant department as soon as possible.

Family visas for extended family members are subject to certain conditions including assurance of support, as well as capping and queuing. Capping limits the number of certain visas each year and queuing relates to applicants being placed on a waiting list until more visa places become available.

Consequently family visas for non-dependent family members can be subject to long waiting periods and there are a limited number of visas available each year. Family visas typically only allow family members to become temporary residents during your stay.

If your extended family intends to visit Australia for a short time they may opt to apply for a visitor visa instead, which allows family members to travel to Australia for 3, 6 or 12 months depending on the circumstances.

There are many different types of dependent visa options and the criteria varies according to your individual circumstances including whether you are applying from inside or outside Australia. Dependent visa options can be complex so it is important to seek advice on which type of family visa is best suited for your individual situation.

For more information on what is a dependent visa, contact the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection or a registered migration agent.