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How to get a retirement visa for Australia?

Ieva Miltina Ieva Miltina 13 July 2021
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Do you dream about retiring in Australia? You are not the only one. The stunning nature, friendly and hospitable people, the beaches, and an occasional barbecue with like-minded peeps are not the only things one might want to experience there. The fact that it is a well-developed and English-speaking country are just a few other reasons why many would consider spending the well-deserved retirement years exactly there.

I am sure you have your reasons for researching information about retirement visa to Australia, don’t you? Because otherwise, you wouldn’t be here reading these lines. Either way - it is not my place to figure out your motivation, but I am here to give insights and save you some time in researching and figuring out the information on those official websites. I am here to help you understand the path to your dream retirement. More importantly, to answer the question - how to get a retirement visa for Australia?

Let’s start with the notion that if a combination of words “retirement visa to Australia” is something that excites and sparks your interest, then you’re in the right place, mate. Besides explaining the slightly complicated system in place, I will describe the most crucial Australia retirement visa requirements. To see how attainable the goal is, you will find out how much does a retirement visa cost in Australia, and much more additional information too. So let’s start with the basics - let me explain the background information and the tricky part about this very desired travel document.

What’s all the fuss with the standard retirement visa for Australia?

old compass and map

Ok, we have come to this point. I have to reveal a secret. And it might make you want to stop reading this, but please don’t. It’s not all that bad. Are you ready? The thing is that Australia technically does not have a retirement visa scheme anymore. The official information states that “this visa is closed to new applicants. The Pathway to permanent residence for retirement visa holders announced by government as part of the 2018-19 Budget commenced on 17 November 2018.”

That means their retirement visa program is closed, and if you read convincing information online that says otherwise, then it is probably false. But, as I said - it is not that bad. There are a few exceptions. Some people are eligible to obtain such a visa and here I will explain all there is to know so you can understand if there is anything in it for you. So let’s cut to the chase.

What are Australia retirement visa requirements?

australian visa

As I mentioned before, you will not find a single visa with this particular name, but there are several other options that I will continue calling “retirement visa” altogether further on. Let me introduce the separate options and the particular requirements to give you an impression.

There was a point when the officials of Australia decided that they will not accept new applications for a standard Retirement visa for Australia (subclass 410) and Investment Retirement visas (subclass 405). The existing holders of those are still welcome to apply for a subsequent visa though. When they denounced these two options, the Retirement Visa Pathway was introduced instead. It offers an opportunity to get a permanent residency status for long-term residents who are well established in the community and have contributed substantially. How to qualify for the pathway? The most important bunch of requirements are as follows.

On the 8th of May 2018, you had a Retirement visa (subclass 410) or Investment Retirement visa (subclass 405). Alternatively, your last substantive visa was either of those. Two additional requirements are that you can’t have held any other type of visa from the date mentioned above until the application date. You have to be located in Australia at the moment of application. To make it short - anyone who was a holder of subclass 405 and 410 visas is eligible to become a permanent resident within this particular program. The rest of the requirements depend on the type of visa you are applying for, and I will tell you more about this in a second.

What are the types of visas to apply for to access the pathway?

thick colourful paper

Before you can become a permanent resident, you will need to get accepted for one of the following visa types. If you are a parent of an existing Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident, or a qualified New Zealand citizen, then you might apply for a Parent visa (subclass 103) permanent visa. It grants you the possibility to travel to Australia as many times as you like within 5 years from the day when your visa is issued.

On the other hand, a similar Contributory Parent visa (subclass 143) will get you the same result, but at a way faster pace. It is for parents sponsored by an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizens. This is why it will come at a much higher price (check the last section of the article).

The Australian Immigration Services do not grant any subclass 103 visas until the year 2022. Instead, you can apply for the latter or wait until applications are open for the Parent visa type. Even when they are both available simultaneously, everyone can go for the 143 types to ensure a faster and smoother application process.

How to get a retirement visa for Australia?

reading glasses

The process is relatively standard. First, you will gather all the necessary information and documents that include the identity, sponsor, balance of family, character, partner, and other documents. The particular list depends on the visa type you are applying for. Then you will fill the application form. One of the requirements for retirees is that you should apply on paper, and reside in Australia at the time. Unfortunately, you can’t submit it in person which is why you will send it by post or courier to the Parent Visa Processing Centre in Perth (the address shown on the application form) and include all the required papers and formalities. Before sending that out, make sure to pay the first installment of the fee, and include the information about the payment alongside other things. Then you have to wait for some time. While doing so, you will pay the second installment and might get asked to provide additional information or documents, too.

To find out more information about the visa process you should contact the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs. They are the institution responsible for immigration and citizenship and will be able to provide the most up-to-date information so you can submit an impeccable application. Being prepared is always the key to extra points of success!

How much does a retirement visa cost in Australia?

businessman paying cash

If you have researched at least some information about any type of Australian visas, you know that their visa policy is very strict and pricey. The standard retirement visa Australia cost is something you should consider as an investment in joyful retirement because it will cost quite a lot. So let’s get the heavy number off the chest. If you go for the faster and easier option of subclass 143 visa, it will cost you a whopping 47,825 Australian Dollars (or about 35 640 USD). If you are ok with waiting longer then type 103 will require a standard retirement visa Australia cost of 6 415 AUD (about 4 978 USD). Still a lot, but the number is 7 times lower, so you have to consider the pros and the cons for yourself.

What are the processing times for a retirement visa for Australia?

woman holding australian

Usually, arranging such a visa will take you anywhere from 10-20 months, depending on your nationality and the information you submit to the officials. You might speed up the process by planning and making sure that everything in your application is as required, or even more.

Let’s wrap this up. Australia is a very desired destination not only for fun tourism trips but even more so for living after your professional path has finished. May it be the nature, or other reasons - either way, the road to obtaining a legal right to reside in this country is a bit complicated and particular. I mean, there is no surprise in this fact because there were thousands of people applying for a retirement visa to Australia before the standard version was denounced. And the job of their government is to plan and limit the number of new inhabitants in this beautiful land. This is why even more so: if you happen to be one of the lucky people who are eligible to retire in Australia - just go for it! I wish you all the luck in a smooth and hassle-free process of application!

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Ieva Miltina
Ieva Miltina Activist and entrepreneur

Ieva Miltina is an activist and entrepreneur of many sorts. By profession project manager of marketing and culture events, in her heart she is a passionate traveler and a cook, soon to become a pastry chef. Deeply rooted in non-formal education she has been involved in youth work since her teenage years and up till nowadays holds a deep interest in innovative approaches to learning and personal development, which she transfers to people from all Europe during various international trainings. Always looking for new discoveries and adventures she happily shares her positive view on the world and the neverending stories with the people who cross her path. While studying hospitality and tourism management she wrote a thesis on home-chefs, which ignited her dream of owning her cozy and heartwarming home restaurant, which will hopefully materialize very soon. Meanwhile writing articles and doing food photography she is working towards another dream of hers - becoming a published author someday. 

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