COVID-19: How can I extend my stay if I have a ‘No Further Stay’ Condition on my visa?

Key Points:

  • Many temporary Australian visas such as student and tourist visas come with a ‘No Further Stay' condition which means that you cannot apply for another visa from within Australia.
  • This condition may be waived under certain circumstances allowing you to extend your stay by applying for another visa while you are in Australia.
  • You will need to prove that compelling and compassionate circumstances have developed that were outside of your control and that have resulted in a major change in your circumstances.

COVID-19 Travel Ban

Within a short span of time, COVID-19 has gone from being a local outbreak in Wuhan, China, to a full blown pandemic, the likes of which the world hasn't seen in a long time. While some countries are slowly starting to get community transmission of this Novel Coronavirus under control, others are under total lockdown. In light of this unprecedented event, for the first time in its history, Australia too has shut its doors to all non-citizens and non-residents.

Among those caught in limbo due to changing travel bans are those visiting Australia on temporary visas. Many temporary visas including student visas and tourist visas come with some conditions. If your visa has a ‘No Further Stay' condition, and you breach these conditions, your visa can be cancelled or you can face bans, fines or restrictions in applying for other Australian visas.

What is a ‘No Further Stay' Condition?

A ‘No Further Stay' condition (i.e. conditions 8503, 8534 and 8535) prevents visa holders from applying for many temporary and permanent visas while they are in Australia. If one of these conditions has been attached to your visa, you cannot apply for another visa (except a protection visa or a temporary visa of a specified kind, while you are in Australia). If you don't have the right to remain in Australia, you must leave. You can check if the ‘No Further Stay' condition applies to your visa using VEVO.

How to extend your stay if you have a ‘No Further Stay' condition?

The good news is that in some cases the ‘No Further Stay' condition can be waived allowing you to apply for a new visa without leaving Australia. However, there are some specific circumstances under which the waiver is granted.

These are:

  • A major change has occurred in your situation since you have held your visa.
  • This change must be out of your control – you could not have prevented or stopped it.

Some examples of major changes that meet this criteria are as follows:

  • unable to travel due to a medical reason
  • death or serious illness within close family
  • natural disaster in home country
  • war or civil unrest in home country

On the other hand there are some changes that are major but not considered as reasons for waiver:

  • marriage or starting a de facto relationship with an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • failing your course of study in Australia
  • pregnancy – unless your doctor has told you not to travel
  • Not knowing the condition was attached to your visa

Can COVID-19 pandemic be used as a reason for waiver?

The short answer is: May be.

COVID-19 has caused serious disruption all across the globe. However, that is not a sufficient enough reason for it to be used as a reason for waiving the ‘No Further Stay' condition. It can only be used as a reason if you have been personally affected by it. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did you test positive for COVID-19 or have come in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, and are unable to travel due to being quarantined?
  • Did a close relative die or become seriously ill due to COVID-19 and you need to stay back to take care of them for some more time?
  • Is your home country going through a total lock down due to COVID-19 with a high number of people sick or dying from Coronavirus?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions then you may qualify for a waiver of the ‘No Further Stay' condition. Of course, there is no guarantee that the department will give you the waiver just because you apply, but at least you can try.

How to request a waiver?

A request for waiver of ‘No Further Stay' condition can be made by completing Form 1447 ‘No Further Stay' waiver request or by request in writing.

You must attach:

  • a certified copy of the personal details page of your passport
  • documentary evidence to support your claims for requesting the waiver. This evidence can include medical reports. All documents must be in English or have accompanying English translations. Translations must be National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters accredited.

Send the completed form and documentary evidence to:
NoFurtherStayWaiverRequest@homeaffairs.gov.au.

If you can't send the form and documents by email, post your form with all supporting documentation to:

Department of Home Affairs
Brisbane No Further Stay Waiver Request Processing Centre
GPO Box 9984
Brisbane Qld 4001.

A waiver is not automatic. It takes around 28 days to receive an outcome on a waiver request. If the Immigration Department asks you to provide more information or undergo a medical examination, it could take longer.

What happens after you apply for the waiver?

If the condition is waived

When a ‘No Further Stay' condition is waived, you can apply for another visa without having to leave Australia. But there is no guarantee you will be granted another visa as this depends on whether you meet the legal requirements for that visa. Moreover, the other visa might also contain a ‘No Further Stay' condition.

If the condition is not waived

Well, in this case you will not be able to apply for another substantive visa (except a protection visa or temporary visa of a very specific kind) while you are in Australia. 

However, if your circumstances have changed significantly since the waiver refusal, you can lodge a second request for waiver. You must explain how the new circumstances are substantially different from those considered in your previous waiver request.

If your current visa expires before the waiver

If your visa expires before the Department can decide your request, you will become unlawful. This has serious consequences. It is your responsibility to ensure you have a valid visa for the whole of your stay in Australia.

Special Cases:

Visitor (Sponsored Family stream) visa and Professional Development visa holders

Besides the ‘No Further Stay' condition, the above two visas come with a mandatory ‘Must leave before visa expiry' condition 8531. This condition cannot be waived under any circumstances. This means that even if the ‘No Further Stay' condition on these visas is waived, and you stay in Australia after your visa expires, you will have breached the condition 8531.

This consequence of breaching the ‘Must leave before visa expiry' condition 8531 is that penalties will be imposed on your sponsor even if the ‘No Further Stay' condition is waived and you are granted another visa. Any security bond lodged in support of that visitor visa or professional development visa application might also be forfeited.

Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa holders

Work and holiday visa holders with a ‘No Further Stay' condition cannot request a waiver. This means that you must leave Australia before your visa expires.

Conclusion

If your visa is subject to a ‘No Further Stay' condition and you are unable to leave Australia due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, you may be able to get this condition waived on the grounds that compelling and compassionate circumstances have developed that were outside your control and that have resulted in a major change in your circumstances. Once you receive a waiver, you can apply for another visa without leaving Australia.

If you would like to learn more about how to extend your stay in Australia, book a consultation with us anytime.

Atul Pandey

Atul has spent half his life migrating from one country to another. He moved from India to the US on a student visa to pursue his Master of Science from Penn State University. After spending a decade in the US, Atul migrated to Australia as a Permanent Resident. He is an entrepreneur and is the founder of Wisekangaroo.com. Currently, Atul is working towards his Migration Agent registration. Reach him via email: hello@wisekangaroo.com