The information in this fact sheet relates to applications in the AAT's Migration & Refugee Division.
We are a statutory body with the power to review decisions made by the Minister, or by officers who are delegates of the Minister, of the Department of Home Affairs.
In conducting a review of migrations decisions, we will consider the case afresh and have the power to change the decision under review.
The Migration Act and the Migration Regulations specify the decisions that we can review, who may seek review of a decision, how an application for review must be made, the time limits within which applications for review must be lodged, and the application fee payable.
The rules about who may seek review of a particular decision, the applicable time limit, and whether a fee is payable vary depending on the type of decision and whether a person is in immigration detention. We have no power to make exceptions.
Who can apply for review?
The decision letter sent by the department should explain whether the decision can be reviewed by us and who can apply for review.
We can only accept an application for review made by a person who has the right to apply for review. In some cases the only person who can apply for review is the visa applicant or former visa holder, in other cases it can only be the sponsor or a close relative. In some cases the review applicant must be within Australia at the time of decision or at the time the application for review is lodged, or both. We cannot provide advice on individual circumstances, however you may seek advice on these issues from a registered migration agent or other registered provider of immigration assistance. For further information please see ‘Should you seek assistance with your application?’ below.
Time limits for making your application for review
The decision letter sent by the department should state the time limit that applies to making an application to us.
If you are intending to apply for review, you should note that we cannot extend time limits or accept applications made outside a time limit. If you are lodging an application by post, you should ensure that you allow enough time for the application to be received before the expiry of the time limit.
How to apply
To apply for review, you must complete and lodge an ‘Application for Review’ form and pay the application fee (or 50% of the application fee together with an application for fee reduction) within the time limit. See below for information about the application fee.
Applicants in immigration detention must use form ‘Application for review – Migration (for persons in immigration detention)’ (M2). All other applicants must use form ‘Application for review (for persons not in immigration detention and organisations)’ (M1). The forms are available from any of our offices listed at the end of this form and are also available on our website.
Applications can be lodged online, by post, fax, in person or by email. Details of our registries are set out at the end of this document. For further information, please see the ‘Method of lodgement’ and ‘Contacts’ sections below.
Combined applications for review
Members of the same family unit can usually combine their applications for review. An application for review of a decision to require a security can also be combined with a related application for review of a decision to refuse to grant a visa. Where applications are able to be combined, only one application fee is payable and only one application form needs to be used.
The application fee
A fee is payable in all cases except applications for review of bridging visa decisions (including any related decision to require a security) that are made by persons in immigration detention.
In all other cases:
- the application fee is $1787
- the fee may be reduced by 50% if we are satisfied that the full payment has caused, or is likely to cause, severe financial hardship to the review applicant
- we will refund 50% of the full fee if we make a favourable decision on your case.
A ‘Request for fee reduction – MR Division’ form (M11) is available from any of the offices listed below and from our website. Supporting documentary evidence, as listed on the form M11, should be lodged with all fee reduction applications.
If you withdraw your application for review, we can only refund an application fee in limited circumstances.
Should you seek assistance with your application?
It is a matter for you whether you seek advice or assistance in relation to your case. We aim to ensure that the outcome of reviews does not depend on whether or not a person has a migration agent or other person to assist them.
The provision of ‘immigration assistance’ is regulated under the Migration Act. The only people who can provide ‘immigration assistance’ (using knowledge or experience in migration procedure to assist in preparing, advising or representing a visa applicant, a sponsor or nominator, or a cancellation review applicant) are:
- a registered migration agent
- your spouse, child, parent, brother or sister
- a nominator or sponsor if you are a visa applicant
- a member of a diplomatic mission, consular post or office of an international organization
- an official (as defined in Part 3 of the Migration Act) in the course of his or her duties.
The factsheet ‘Immigration Assistance - MR Division’ (MR2) provides further information. It is available from any of the offices listed on this fact sheet, and on our website.
How do we work?
We are required to provide a review which is accessible, fair, just, economical, informal, quick and proportionate. The general features of a review are:
- The Minister and department are not represented, and the department is required to provide us all documents which are relevant to the case under review.
- You are entitled to have access to, or a copy of, the material before us in relation to your case (although some restrictions may apply).
- You can make written submissions or provide documentary evidence at any stage of the review. Wherever possible, we would prefer if this material is sent electronically.
- If you send documents electronically to us, including our forms, it is not necessary to send the original documents by mail.
- You may nominate a person (your representative) to represent you in the preparation and running of your case. A representative can provide written submissions and documentary evidence and contact us on your behalf. A representative may also accompany and assist you at any meeting or hearing arranged by us. We may invite a representative to comment on matters at a hearing, but a representative cannot make an oral presentation other than in exceptional circumstances.
- You may nominate a person (your authorised recipient) to receive correspondence on your behalf. Most applicants who have a representative nominate their representative as their authorised recipient. If you nominate an authorised recipient, all correspondence will be sent to that person and will be taken to have been sent to you. There are two circumstances where we will send a copy of any correspondence to a review applicant as well as sending the correspondence to the review applicant’s authorised recipient. The first is where the review relates to a decision to refuse or cancel the bridging visa of a non-citizen who is in detention as a result of that decision (referred to as a ‘bridging visa (detention)’ case). The second is where a review applicant has nominated a migration agent as his or her representative or authorised recipient, and that migration agent’s registration has been suspended or cancelled or has lapsed.
- We are required to inform you of certain information that might lead to an adverse decision and to give you an opportunity to comment on or respond to that information.
- If we invite you to provide information or to comment on or respond to information within a time period, you must do so or you risk losing your right to a hearing.
- Except in specific circumstances, we are required to invite you to come to a hearing. You may request that we take evidence from other persons, and you may be accompanied by your representative and/or a friend or support person. We will provide an interpreter if required.
What will happen during the review?
The review process varies from case to case. A typical case may follow these steps:
- We will send you an acknowledgement letter to confirm that the application has been received. We will also inform the department of your application, and request the department to provide us with all relevant documents about your case.
- The case is allocated to a Member.
- The Member reviews the documents.
- We invite you to attend a hearing, and/or to provide information or to comment or respond to information.
- In some cases, the Member may announce the decision at the end of the hearing. The Member may decide to send you written reasons for the oral decision, in which case you will be sent the reasons within 14 days after the hearing. Alternatively, the Member may announce the decision and make an oral statement of the reasons for the decision at the hearing. If this occurs, you are entitled to make a written request within 14 days of the hearing for the Member to provide you with a written version of the decision and reasons which were stated at the hearing.
- However, in most cases a decision will not be made at the end of the hearing and when the Member makes a decision, we will send you and the department a written statement of decision and reasons.
As each case is different, it is difficult to say how long it will take for us to make a decision on your case. We give priority to certain cases in accordance with legislation and policy directions issued by the President of the AAT, for example, cases involving persons in immigration detention.
Our website has information on application processing times which can provide you with the current list of priorities and estimated processing times.
Information provided to us may become public during a hearing. Hearings are usually open to the public. If we prepare a written statement of reasons for our decision in your case, it may also be made public and published on the AustLII website (www.austlii.edu.au). For more information about the decisions we publish, see our Publication of Decisions Policy on our website.
For more information about the AAT and how we conduct reviews, go to our website or call us. Our staff can give you information about procedures but cannot give you legal advice.
Post: GPO Box 9955, Your capital city (Northern Territory residents should write to Adelaide)
In person or by fax:
1 King William Street
ADELAIDE SA 5000
Fax (08) 8128 8099
295 Ann St
BRISBANE QLD 4000
Fax (07) 3052 3001
14 Moore St
CANBERRA CITY ACT 2600
Fax (02) 6243 4600
Edward Braddon Building
Commonwealth Law Courts
39–41 Davey St
HOBART TAS 7000
Fax (03) 6232 1601
15 William St
MELBOURNE VIC 3000
Fax (03) 9454 6998
111 St Georges Terrace
PERTH WA 6000
Fax (08) 6222 7299
83 Clarence St
SYDNEY NSW 2000
Fax (02) 9276 5599
Telephone: If you want more information or assistance, call us on 1800 228 333 (calls are free from landline phones, however calls from mobiles may be charged).
Non-English speakers can call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450 and ask them to call the AAT.
If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment, contact us through the National Relay Service. For more information, visit www.relayservice.gov.au.