Section 48 | Bar on visa application

Updated with 13 November 2021 changes lifting Section 48 from three skilled visas – 190, 491 and 494 visas.


If your visa was refused or cancelled and you currently hold a Bridging visa, then Section 48 bars a new visa application while you are in Australia.


If you have had a visa refusal or cancellation and you are currently in Australia as a bridging visa holder (or you do not hold any visa and you are currently unlawful), then Section 48 bars you from lodging a further visa application while you are in Australia.


Leaving Australia as a Bridging visa B holder does not allow you to avoid the application of Section 48 (i.e. you cannot leave and return to Australia on a Bridging visa B, and then lodge another visa application if Section 48 applies).

Section 48

Section 48 would only apply if you are currently in Australia and you do not currently hold a ‘substantive visa’. Any Bridging visa would be a non-substantive visa, which means that Section 48 would apply to you if you have had a visa refusal or cancellation since you last entered Australia. Hence, Section 48 would not apply if you still currently hold a valid student visa, visitor visa, working holiday visa etc. These are all substantive visas. Non-substantive visas are only the following visa categories:

  • Bridging visas
  • Criminal justice visa
  • Enforcement visa

Section 48 also does not apply if your visa refusal relates to a bridging visa application, or if the visa was refused because of character requirements under Section 501 of the Migration Act.

Exceptions to Section 48


The following are the only visas which are exempted from the application of Section 48 – hence you may still be able to lodge a valid visa application for the following visa categories:


Skilled visas


  • 190 visa – State sponsored permanent residency visa
  • 491 visa – State sponsored regional temporary visa (that can lead to permanent residency)
  • 494 visa – Regional employer sponsored temporary visa (that can lead to permanent residency)

If you receive a State sponsorship invitation for the 190 or 491 visa, or you have employer sponsorship and you can lodge the Regional employer sponsored 494 visa, then you can go ahead with your visa application as onshore application – even if you earlier had a visa refusal and you currently hold a Bridging visa A, B or C.


Non-skilled visas


  • Partner visas
  • Bridging visas
  • Medical treatment visa
  • Resolution of Status visa (temporary and permanent)
  • Territorial Asylum visa (Residence)
  • Protection visa
  • Subclass 444 for New Zealand citizens
  • Child visa (Residence)
  • Border visa (Temporary)


Raghu · March 7, 2018 at 7:50 pm

Hi Peng, I am on MRT. My wife is planning to apply for student visa from offshore, can I apply for dependent visa from offshore with her application. Thanks.

    Peng Cheng · March 15, 2018 at 6:05 pm

    Hi Raghu,
    You should be able to apply on the basis of your family relationship.

Anu · March 4, 2018 at 4:22 pm

Hi, My student visa was refused and my case is with MRT (lodge on 29/06/2017) and currently on bridging visa A. I’m going to finish my studies by 02/April/2018, so could I apply graduate visa 485? Please advice me. Thanks

    Peng Cheng · March 5, 2018 at 7:12 pm

    Hi Anu,
    No I don’t think so if you don’t hold a student visa.

Krishna · March 2, 2018 at 12:00 am

Hi Peng,
I have got my student visa cancelled by DIBP and now i am on mrt. I am confused of 2 situations
1. Do i have study rights on mrt? I mean do i need to attend the college.
2. How and when can i apply for work rights.
Thank you

    Peng Cheng · March 5, 2018 at 7:08 pm

    Hi Krishna,
    You need to check the conditions of the visa that you currently hold for your visa conditions and obligations.
    Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.

Tommy c · February 28, 2018 at 9:13 pm


In 2015 Oct I applied for 187. nomination and my visa application were lodged at the same time and BVA were given to me and my wife. Right now employer nomination has been turned down. DIAC has sent me an email and ask for comment within 28 days.

At this moment out BVA is still effective (but will be ceased soon as long as 28 days I withdraw my 187 application.

Question is: can she apply for a student visa at this stage? COE has been issued and sch fees have all been paid. Thanks for yr help.

    Peng Cheng · March 5, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    Hi Tommy,
    Sorry but I can’t provide advice in relation to your visa eligibility just based on your comment information.
    Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.

Samantha · February 22, 2018 at 10:01 am

Hi Peng,
I have applied for student visa after masters in Australia and I got refusal on the basis of not a genuine student and the rest all good with documentation and financial stuff.
Recently I scored 8 bands in PTE, that means I’m having 75points now, do I get PR if I meet all requirements of Home affairs, or else there would be any problem in giving a positive decision as I have student visa refusal. Please help me in providing valuable information in regards to this.

Thanks in advance.

    Peng Cheng · February 24, 2018 at 11:45 am

    Hi Samantha,
    I don’t think that your student visa refusal would affect your permanent residency application.

Sam · February 14, 2018 at 11:17 pm

Hey Peng,

In Sandeep’s scenario, once he gets out of country, apply RSMS and enter back in Australia to wait for his decision. Does he have to exit Australia again while having a visa(RSMS) GRANT. If YES, then for how many days he has to remain outside Australia?

    Peng Cheng · February 17, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    Hi Sam,
    A 187 visa applicant can be in Australia at the time of decision.

      Sam · March 15, 2018 at 3:02 pm

      Thanks for you reply Peng

      What about 489 invites can have there decision onshore if they apply offshore because of AAT or they have to exit at the time of decision ?

Pendy · February 8, 2018 at 2:26 pm

Hi Peng,

I have a friend that having issue with her Australian visa. She got married in USA like a year ago with an Australian citizen. She is a korean citizen in USA. She had to forego her Visa application in US to come to Australia with her Husband. Things not working out after 8 months. Australia Immigration has been notified. She is expecting the Section 48 anytime soon.

Now, she can’t really go back to USA anymore and she would rather to stay in Australia if possible. She intended to take a further study here but she is not sure if the section 48 will make her student visa application unobtainable. She understand that with section 48, she can’t apply the student visa on shore.
Do you have any suggestion for her situation? or she should just abandon her plan to take a further study as people with section 48 have a very low chance being granted a student visa?

Your assistance is much appreciated.

    Peng Cheng · February 11, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    Hi Pendy,
    I’m sorry but such broad questions aren’t appropriate for these comment fields.
    Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need assistance.

Melody · February 7, 2018 at 7:13 am


My 485 visa was refused yesterday because I had not done my skills assessment on time and I’ve been given 21 days to appeal or apply for another visa on limited Applications in Australia. Will I be allowed to apply for another graduate visa if I get a bridging visa or should I just continue with the appeal even if I know i will lose??what are my options if I want to remain legal in Australia

    Peng Cheng · February 11, 2018 at 1:16 pm

    Hi Melody,
    You can appeal to the tribunal if you wish, and this would allow you to stay in Australia until the tribunal decides your appeal.
    Sorry we can’t provide visa eligibility advice in these comment fields as this is covered as part of our professional services.
    If you need to book a consultation to discuss your circumstances, please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service.

Jade · January 26, 2018 at 5:51 pm

i have subclass 190 state nomination onshore but i cant lodge a visa onshore because im barred with section 48…im planning to apply for bridging Visa B and lodge offshore with onshore state it possible?

    Peng Cheng · February 4, 2018 at 11:58 am

    You can lodge your 190 visa when you are outside of Australia.

Peng Cheng · January 26, 2018 at 9:57 am

Hi Prince,
Sorry but I can’t provide advice in relation to your visa eligibility just based on your comment information.
Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.

Dushan · January 26, 2018 at 7:46 am

Hi there, I got my protection visa refused a year ago and have applied for the aat to look into the decision. I am on a bridging visa C currently But after March this year i will be eligible to apply for a skills assessment as a motor mechanic. I want to know if i will have any issues when applying for subclass 190 and if i have to be outside Australia to do this.
Ill be eagerly waiting for ur response.

    Peng Cheng · January 26, 2018 at 10:21 am

    Hi Dushan,
    You need to be outside of Australia when you lodge – see above post.

Maria · January 25, 2018 at 9:38 pm

Hi Peng,

My husband had a student visa refusal, he only applied to extend his course for 3 months and was denied for financial reasons. I am your partner and I am in the visa as a dependent of him. then we appealed and have the bridging A. Then, my question is the following, since he finished his course in November of 2017 and has no class, then we have the right to work full time ??

Thanks Maria

    Peng Cheng · January 26, 2018 at 10:18 am

    Hi Maria,
    Please check your current bridging visa which will specify your work right conditions, including if you are able to work full-time and when. You may have a condition which prevents you from full-time work for the duration of your bridging visa.

mani · January 25, 2018 at 1:03 am

i applied for 457 visa and my nomination has been refused, i applied for MRT , but now my employer has refused as he doesn’t want to go through MRT with me. can you advise me in my case.

    Peng Cheng · January 26, 2018 at 10:16 am

    Hi Mani,
    Sorry but I can’t provide advice in relation to your visa eligibility just based on your comment information.
    Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need advice in relation to your visa options.

Mandy · June 8, 2013 at 10:36 am

Hi peng
I applied my student visa and I got refusal because I change my study. Now I applied for MRT. In another hand I got RCB approval of my RSMS visa. I m barred under 48 section. My agent told me to go overseas when he will lodge my application. I got visa B to travel. I just want to ask u I will go overseas and he will lodge my file then I will come back. Is it have bad effect on my offshore file because I m coming back. Is that alright if I will stay here . Please tell me best option
Thanks very much
King regards

    Peng Cheng · June 8, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Hi Mandy,
    I agree with the advice of your agent – you may need to be overseas at the time of decision.

Michelle · May 9, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Hi Peng,

Thanks for your reply. However, i was refused by DIAC for my 485 visa application because i submitted my Ielts after application, Will this issue affect on my 457 Visa application? Do you know how can i waive my Section 48? Thanks

Best regards,


    Peng Cheng · May 10, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Hi Michelle,
    You can’t waive s48 to allow you to lodge an onshore application – you need to be offshore to avoid s48.

derya · April 26, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Hi peng, i came to australia with student visa 2008 i studied language school and when i fnished that i studied hairdresser course and business managment . i could not find any husband boss sponsored to him last yyear we applied 457 visa and we got refuse and we applied MRT we are waiting decision.if i find someone who sponsor to me can i apply 457or186visa .my husband got s48but i dont know what is my sitiution can i apply those visa types.please give me some advice. thanks

    Peng Cheng · April 27, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Hi Derya,
    Sounds like you are barred under s48 – so you’ll need to lodge offshore.

savy · April 22, 2013 at 5:42 pm

hi there
my story is i have applied for 485 visa after my 2 years full time study and its got refused due to unsatisfactory requirement of English as i have applied for 485 visa prior 1st july 2011. so now i had to apply for MRT and also have 6 each in IELTS so i want to apply for visa sub-clause 190 or 489 in WA so i just want to ask you am i eligible to apply for those visas or not. furthermore i also got two causal jobs in Perth more than 40hrs a week. I would appreciated your reply ASAP because my visa is going to get expire soon

thank you

    Peng Cheng · April 23, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Hi Savy,
    Sounds like you would be barred under s48 from lodging an onshore application. You may be able to lodge a valid application if you are outside of Australia.

Maria Manrique · April 20, 2013 at 5:16 pm

Hi Peng,

My RSMS visa was refused Sept last year. I was advised to apply for a new application within 21 days but that would be impossible, due to some immigration changes that took place july last year, new applicants are now required to have an IELTS scores band 0f 6 on each component. Due to time pressure my agent told me to apply for an MRT appeal which we did, i got a bridging visa and this buy some time to remain in the country and sit another IELTS test. I had the test last Dec and i got the score that i needed. I am no longer with my agent. March 1st 2013 my employer & i both lodged a nomination application and a new visa application. will this be considered invalid since i’m still on MRT appeal?


    Peng Cheng · April 21, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Hi Maria,
    It sounds like you would be barred under s48.

taran · April 13, 2013 at 1:59 am

Hi, I have applied for a RSMS visa but did not add my husband as he is waiting for his decision from MRT on cancellation of dependant visa. I applied for him as my dependant on a Student visa 572 but the visa got refused as he had not complied with his previous visa conditions. The refusal letter from immigration says he can apply visa in limited circumstances and had attached form 1026i for our reference.
My question is can I add him on my application and also will it create any problems for my application because of his earlier non compliance and visa refusals

    Peng Cheng · April 14, 2013 at 8:44 am

    Hi Taran – If he is barred under 48, then he’ll need to go overseas to lodge a valid application. His past non-compliance can be taken into account in the decision-making.

Kulbir · March 13, 2013 at 5:41 am

Hi Peng

I completed 2 year study in Australia then i applied for further student visa onshore but I got refusal cause of incorrect information. I lost my case in MRT as well.
Now i am offshore can i apply for student or any other visa ? Is there any kind of barring on me. If yes than what time it will take to come back to australia ?
I didnt got any stamp of barring on my passport when i left australia.

My spouse never been Australia but she applied for dependent visa while i was studying but visa was refused cause her case officer did not satisfied that we are continuing our married relation. Now we got two years baby and enough supporting documents to prove that we are continuing our relations. Can she applyed for any kind of visa as main applicant and can i go with her.

I left Australia in July 2012

Kind Regards

    Peng Cheng · March 13, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Hi Kulbir,
    Providing false or misleading information in an application can lead to a bar. Check DIAC’s correspondence to see if there is any suggestion of a bar applying to you – or you can contact DIAC and ask.

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