Visa Refusal | AAT Appeal

You may be able to appeal your visa refusal, visa cancellation, business sponsorship or nomination application refusal to the AAT (Administrative Appeals Tribunal).

The role of the Tribunal is to review the Department’s decision for refusing your application (or cancelling your visa), and re-decide if the Department’s decision was correct. The relevant Tribunal Member will assess and decide if your application satisfies the relevant legal requirements for approval. The AAT can make a decision in your favour and decide that the Department’s decision is incorrect and send the matter back to the Department for reconsideration. If the matter is sent back to the Department for reconsideration, generally speaking, the Department will grant the visa or revoke the visa cancellation.

The AAT can also decide that the Department’s decision was correct and confirm this in its decision. If this occurs, then your appeal is not successful (the consequences of this are explained below).

      Visa Refusal | AAT Appeal

      Who can apply for AAT review?

      You may be able to apply for AAT review in the following situations:

      • You are in Australia, applied for a visa and this application was refused by the Department
      • You are in Australia and your visa was cancelled by the Department
      • You are in Australia and your visa was cancelled and your application to have the cancellation revoked was refused by the Department
      • You are sponsored or nominated by an employer or another person for a visa, and you lodged this visa application outside of Australia. Approval of the sponsorship or nomination must be a requirement for visa approval. Your sponsor or nominator may apply to the AAT for review of the decision to refuse your visa application. Individuals who may be able to apply for AAT review on this basis include applicants who are sponsored by their employer (457, 482 TSS, 186 or 187 visas), sponsor or partner (309/100 and 300 visas), family members (carer or remaining relative visas) etc. Note: For Resident Return visas and Visitor visas, only a parent, spouse, child, brother or sister of the visa applicant may apply for review if the visa applicant was outside of Australia at the time of visa application
      • You are an employer that applied for Standard Business Sponsorship and this application was refused

      The AAT cannot review a decision to cancel a visa if the cancellation occurred when the visa holder was outside of Australia.

      If the visa applicant or holder is in Australia, then they are the person who should apply for review. If the visa applicant is overseas, then in most cases the Australian sponsor, nominator or family member makes the application for review.

      The business sponsor or employer must apply for review in relation to a refusal of a Standard Business Sponsorship and/or nomination application.

      How does the AAT process work?

      The AAT will complete its own independent assessment of your application to determine if the relevant legal requirements are satisfied. The AAT will review:

      • All evidence, documents forms and interview records held by the Department (you can obtain a copy of these records by completing a Freedom of Information request with the Department)
      • Any submissions or evidence which you submit to the AAT for their consideration, and
      • Any evidence provided at the hearing

      The AAT also has independent power to conduct its own investigations. For example it may contact your employer, friends or family if you have provided evidence from, or about, them, or if the Tribunal Member believes that such information and documents are relevant in deciding your application.

      If the AAT has any adverse information about you (i.e. information which may cause the review application to fail) then the Tribunal should notify you and ask you to comment on that adverse information held by the AAT. If you receive such a notification it is very important that you do respond to the request for comments within the time limit specified, otherwise your review application may fail.

      Generally speaking, the following events will occur when you appeal to the AAT:

      1. You will lodge your AAT application within the allowed time limit. You can lodge your AAT appeal online (you are allowed to lodge multiple appeals using the same AAT online account. You don’t need to create separate accounts if you need to lodge multiple appeals, such as appealing both business nomination and visa application refusals)
      2. When you are completing the online appeal form, you will get to a web page that will ask you to upload relevant supporting documents. You should upload a copy of the Department’s PDF Refusal Decision Record, which would be attached to the email from the Department notifying you of your application refusal. Generally speaking, this is the only document that the AAT will need immediately after the lodgement of your appeal. If you do not upload this document now (or after lodgement of your appeal via your online AAT account), then the AAT will likely send you an email asking you to upload this document. After lodging your appeal, you can log back into your online AAT account and upload further relevant documents for your appeal
      3. After you pay and lodge your online appeal, you should receive an auto-mated email from the Tribunal confirming that they have received your appeal. The AAT’s standard letters state that the validity of your appeal has not been assessed yet – extract from current standard AAT letter: Please note that the validity of your application has not yet been assessed. We can only review a decision if a valid application for review has been made. You will be advised if it appears that your application may not be valid. If you lodged a valid appeal, then the AAT will not send you any further correspondence to confirm that your appeal is valid. You can assume that your appeal is valid and in the queue if you do not receive any further correspondence from the AAT. The AAT will however send you further email correspondence if there are any issues or questions in relation to the validity of your appeal
      4. Generally speaking, you will not receive any further correspondence or instructions from the AAT after lodging your valid appeal, while you wait the AAT’s processing time. The AAT will generally only contact you once the relevant Tribunal Member has been allocated to your appeal, and he or she has set a hearing date for your appeal. The AAT’s correspondence would also ask you to submit any further documents and information that you would like the Tribunal Member to consider in his or her assessment, and this correspondence may also provide a list of particular information and documents that the Tribunal Member requires (this would generally mean that the Tribunal Member has reviewed the information and documents from the Department’s files and your earlier application, and any further information and documents that you uploaded via your online AAT account)
      5. The Tribunal Member may be able to make a favourable decision just based on considering the documents and evidence that the AAT has on file, without the need for a hearing. However, such decisions are rare and this will generally only occur if the appeal is straight forward, and you have provided information and documents which demonstrate that you satisfy the relevant legal requirements without the further need for hearing evidence. If a decision cannot be made based on considering only the documents and information held by the AAT, then you will be invited to provide comments or provide further information to the AAT – it is important that you do respond to this invitation which includes a form that you need to complete and send back to the AAT to confirm your attendance. If you are unable to attend the appointed hearing date, then you need to email and correspond with the AAT as soon as possible to request for a re-scheduling of the hearing. In your request email, you need to attach supporting evidence to demonstrate why you cannot attend the appointed hearing date. Your request for an extension is at the discretion of the Tribunal Member deciding your appeal, and he or she is allowed to reject your request
      6. Your representing migration agent and/or solicitor can attend the hearing with you. However, generally speaking, your representative cannot speak on your behalf and answer the Tribunal Member’s hearing questions. You can speak with your migration agent and/or solicitor, and get advice and clarification from him or her during the hearing. You can request an interpreter if required
      7. The Tribunal Member may ask you to provide additional information and documents after the hearing, if this is required before the Tribunal Member can decide if your application satisfies the relevant legal requirements. The Tribunal Member may also schedule further hearings if required
      8. After your appeal hearing is finalised, the AAT will generally send you a written statement advising of the Tribunal Member’s decision

      AAT decision


      What if the AAT appeal is successful?​


      If your AAT application is successful, then your application will generally be remitted back to the Department for final determination and decision.


      The Department’s processing time for such applications is generally relatively short – say 4 to 8 weeks. However, processing times do vary significantly, and it may be months before you receive a decision from the Department.


      Approval of your AAT appeal does not guarantee that your application will be approved. The Department will still check to ensure that all the relevant eligibility requirements are satisfied. I have seen cases where the applicant has been successful with their AAT  appeal, but then the visa application is later refused for a different reason, such as not satisfying the relevant health and character requirements.


      What if my review is not successful?


      If your application for review at the AAT is not successful then you will be notified that your current bridging visa will cease in a certain period of time (generally speaking this is 21 days). If you do not want to leave Australia then you have two potential further avenues for review:


      • You can make a written request to the Minister to exercise her/his personal discretion to grant you a visa, or substitute a more favourable decision. This is an application for Ministerial Intervention
      • You may be able to appeal to the Federal Court or the Federal Magistrates Court – there are strict time limits for any such appeal

      Bridging visa & Work rights


      If you were granted a Bridging Visa A as a result of the visa application which the Department refused, then if you apply for AAT, this bridging visa will continue to be valid and will allow you to remain in Australia until the AAT has made a decision. If you do not appeal to the AAT then your Bridging Visa will expire and you will need to depart Australia or you will become unlawful.


      Can I work while I wait for my AAT hearing?


      That depends on the visa that you are currently holding. If you are holding a substantive visa, which are basically all visas except for bridging visas, then you need to comply with the conditions of your substantive visa. For example, if you are holding a student visa, then there may be restrictions on the number of hours that you can work. If you are a primary 457 visa holder, then you can only work for your sponsoring employer.


      If you are holding a bridging visa, then you need to check the conditions of your bridging visa. If you are holding a bridging visa and there are restrictions on your work rights, you may be able to apply for unrestricted work rights.


      This generally means that you need to demonstrate a ‘compelling need to work’. You need to provide evidence to show that you will suffer ‘financial hardship’ (or your household will suffer such hardship) unless you are allowed to work and earn an income.

      The Department’s policy guidelines indicates that ‘financial hardship’ is established if you can show that your living expenses are greater than your ability to pay for these costs.

      Can I apply for another visa?

      If you are still holding a substantive visa, then you should be able to lodge another visa application – assuming that you meet the relevant eligibility requirements. A ‘substantive’ visa is basically any visa which is not a bridging visa.

      If you do not hold a substantive visa (i.e. your last substantive visa has expired and you now hold a bridging visa that is associated with the AAT appeal), then Section 48 will bar you from making a further ‘substantive visa’ application because you have had a visa refusal, which is any visa except a Bridging visa, a Criminal Justice Visa or an Enforcement Visa.

      Despite Section 48, you can still lodge a valid application for the following types of visas: partner visas, bridging visas, Subclass 444 for New Zealand citizens and child visas.

      One possible way to lodge another visa application while you a waiting for an AAT hearing is to apply while  you are outside of Australia. If you are currently holding a Bridging visa A or B, then you may able to apply for a Bridging visa B which allows you to temporarily leave Australia. This may allow you to lodge another visa application with the Department, and then return to Australia on your Bridging visa B and remain in Australia while you wait for your AAT hearing.

      In terms of whether the Department can approve your new offshore visa application while you are in Australia, this will depend on the requirements of the visa that you applied for. For example, with General skilled migration visas (189, 190 and 489 visas) or employer sponsored permanent residency visas (186 and 187 visas), your offshore visa application can be decided when you are in Australia and hence, you won’t need to leave Australia for the Department to decide your new visa application. If you lodged an offshore partner visa (309/100 visa), then you do need to be outside of Australia at the time that the Department decides your visa application.

      Processing time & Appeal time limit


      What is the AAT application fee?


      The AAT application fee is currently $1,731.00, and 50% of this fee will be refunded if you are successful with your AAT appeal.

      There is no refund if your application is not successful, or if you later withdraw your AAT application.


      What is the time limit with appealing?


      It is important to note that there is a strict time limit by which you need to submit your AAT appeal application. The time limit will depend on the decision which is being challenged. However, the time limit within which you need to apply for AAT review is generally short.

      It is important that you carefully read the refusal or cancellation notice from the Department – this will tell you whether your refusal or cancellation is AAT reviewable, and the time by which you need to submit your application for review.

      The AAT cannot accept an application for review that is submitted outside of the allowed time frame. This is very strictly enforced.


      What is the AAT’s processing times?


      Generally speaking, waiting times are very lengthy and is around 12 to 18 months. Check the AAT website for average processing time.

      If you have circumstances that may warrant the AAT  treating your case with priority, you should bring this to the attention of the AAT (preferably when you lodge the application for review), together with appropriate evidence of why you require priority processing. Relevant circumstances could include:

      • being in detention
      • suffering from a serious medical condition
      • experiencing serious financial hardship
      • separation of a child from a parent or care giver
      Professional assistance with AAT appeal
      Hourly rates$275.00 (including GST)
      $250.00 (including GST) per hour for any additional time
      Estimated professional fees$2,000.00 – $6,000.00 +
      (depending on time and work required)
      Consultation booking & Fixed fee quoteFixed professional fee quote and payment schedule will be provided to you after our initial consultation and assessment

      Our recently published appeal decisions


      GOLOG PTY LTD (Migration) [2018] AATA 2727 (22 June 2018)


      SHAHRIAR (Migration) [2018] AATA 4848 (12 October 2018)

      Client reviews


      Sandeep · December 14, 2019 at 11:12 am

      My brother got 187 nomination refused and his visa is also refused after 35 days of nomination Refusal. His business owner refused to go fo AAT on nomination refusal but my brother applied for AAT on his visa refusal. His owner said I will not go for AAT but after 6 months he can again apply for his nomination After completing his company documents. My question, is my brother right to review(AAT) for his visa refusal weather his employer not going for AAT on nomination. is this valid?

        My Access Australia · December 21, 2019 at 2:25 pm

        Hi Sandeep,
        I don’t think that the appeal will be successful if the business isn’t going to assist with the appeal.
        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.

      Haree · November 13, 2019 at 4:40 pm

      Hi,my daughter and wife is in Australia and we applied for combine vissa but our vissa was refused ,what can I do?

        My Access Australia · November 17, 2019 at 10:27 am

        Hi Haree,
        Sorry but I would need to refer you to our consultation services if you need such advice.
        Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service.

      Edi · October 16, 2019 at 2:24 pm

      Hi Peng,

      I have an questions regarding my refusal student visa;
      1. I have currently waiting for my hearing and unfortunately my Coe had been cancelled and they said had report to immigration regard my cancelled coe, is my bridging visa for appeal will affected cause of this situation?
      2. if I apply spouse visa with my partner from offshore, do i need to withdraw my appeal? what is the best way to do in this case
      hope you can help me out
      thank you

        My Access Australia · October 25, 2019 at 7:49 pm

        Hi Edi,
        1. I have currently waiting for my hearing and unfortunately my Coe had been cancelled and they said had report to immigration regard my cancelled coe, is my bridging visa for appeal will affected cause of this situation?
        The cancellation of your COE shouldn’t affect your current bridging visa which is related to your appeal.
        2. if I apply spouse visa with my partner from offshore, do i need to withdraw my appeal? what is the best way to do in this case
        You don’t have to withdraw the student visa appeal – the offshore partner visa and student visa appeal should affect each other. Please see our consultation service if you need advice in relation to your applications

      Johnny · September 24, 2019 at 1:42 pm

      Hi Peng,
      I applied to AAT and got a positive outcome. My question is how long does it take for Department to give me visa grant letter ? I have done with medicals and all required paperwork

        My Access Australia · September 28, 2019 at 8:20 pm

        Hi Johnny,
        There isn’t any set processing time – the Department may take a few weeks to finalise the application.

      Jose · September 23, 2019 at 7:48 pm

      Hi, my recent hearing with the AAT unfortunately for us was unsuccessful, what are our changes to get a successful outcome through a ministerial intervention considering that my actual circumstances are that I’m a father of an Australian citizen and my partner aswell Australian citizen.

        My Access Australia · September 28, 2019 at 8:19 pm

        Hi Jose,
        It would be best to contact us if you need consultation and advice in relation to your application. It isn’t really possible to obtain the information/documents that we need, or provide detailed advice via these comment fields which are intended for short/specific queries.
        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.

      Angelie dela cruz · September 20, 2019 at 3:05 pm

      Hi I’m on bridging visa a, my application right now is in AAT but my husband have an intervention order but we are not totally separated, we’re not living in the same house bcoz of the order. Is there any chance that they can still grant my application on tribunal? I have a Oz child.

        My Access Australia · September 22, 2019 at 8:22 am

        Hi Angelie,
        Sorry but I would need to refer you to our consultation services if you need such advice that is personalised for your history and circumstances.
        Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service.

      SELANDA KAUR · September 16, 2019 at 7:24 pm

      Hi There,
      My visa for 187 was refused because of not submitting English exam results. I have qualifications from the US and UK Hons degree for Adult nursing ( over 5 years from the UK and US -tertiary level). I was exempted from taking an English exam for my 457 visa. I had appeal with ATT and submitted my PTE score after the refusal on the 12/6/19, appeal with ATT on the 13/6/19 and submitted the PTE score on 20/6/19. What are my appeal situation like.

        My Access Australia · September 22, 2019 at 8:17 am

        Hi Selanda,
        Sorry but I would need to refer you to our consultation services if you need such advice that is personalised for your history and circumstances.
        Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service.

      John · September 16, 2019 at 6:18 pm

      I would like to get an advice:
      We have applied for 457 18 months ago and 10 months ago it was refused. We have appealed for it straight away, but now situation at work has changed and my boss wants to withdraw appeal application because he doesn’t want me to work for the company anymore.
      Can company withdraw appeal application?

        My Access Australia · September 22, 2019 at 8:16 am

        Hi John,
        Yes unfortunately the business is allowed to withdraw its appeal.

      Sung Hwan Kim · September 16, 2019 at 9:24 am

      Hi , I had 461 visa and forgot the date of expiry and applied 31 days late (i sent a mail within 28 days but reached there and got acknowledge mail after 31 days.) I received the mail that request of schedule 3 but i missed that mail and i reply late as well. so I got refused of the letter. I am living in AU with husband (NZ citizen)and Kids (who i birth in AU, all NZ citizen) and my husband just applied 189 NZ stream for PR, I have lodged AAT, what is the chance i can get 461 visa by AAT?

        My Access Australia · September 22, 2019 at 8:15 am

        Hi Sung,
        Sorry but I would need to refer you to our consultation services if you need such advice that is personalised for your history and circumstances.
        Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service.

      Raj · September 10, 2019 at 1:22 pm

      Hi there,
      My agent failed to submit my PTE document and they did not even respond to immigration’s request to resubmit PTE result, which eventually made my 485 refused. I have lodged AAT along with my valid PTE result. What is the chance for me to get 485 visa?
      Please help me …
      Thanks Shovraj

        My Access Australia · September 15, 2019 at 1:51 pm

        Hi Shovraj,
        Sorry but to properly respond to your queries, I’d need to ask some questions and get some information/documents from you.
        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.

      Ope · August 13, 2019 at 2:37 am


      Please how long does it take for AAT to finalised student refused visa? And have finished my Uni, do I have to take another course and can I apply for 485 Visa? Thanks

      Manpreet · July 30, 2019 at 10:43 am


      I was on Visitor and applied for Student visa while in Australia which was refused and I have applied MRT now. Can I request working rights to department with evidences of financial hardship?

        My Access Australia · August 3, 2019 at 7:58 pm

        Hi Manpreet,
        You should be able to lodge the bridging visa work rights application.

      Lipi Choudhary · July 18, 2019 at 5:17 am

      Hi, my boyfriend is on bridging visa A. His hearing for AAT has been done and we are very waiting for the decision since 7 months. I am on student visa, is there any option that i can marry him and get him on the partner visa. Please advise. Thanks

        My Access Australia · July 19, 2019 at 8:21 pm

        Hi Lipi,
        You could potentially sponsor him as a dependent on your student visa but I would need to check his eligibility.
        Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need further advice.

      sukendar · July 17, 2019 at 7:37 pm

      hi myself suki,
      iam on student aat case..i applied for my wife student visa ..she got her visa..i did not mention anywer dat she got married..she is now in australia and studying..can i marry her here.?? nd can i do dependent visa?? vill dat possible??

        My Access Australia · July 19, 2019 at 8:22 pm

        Hi Suki,
        He might be able to do a dependent student visa application but I would need further information.
        Please see Contact Us page and in relation to our Consultation Service – feel free to contact us if you need further advice.

      Tammy · July 9, 2019 at 2:47 pm

      I’m currently holding Bridging Visa B ( I applied 457 in 2017) and my nomination just got refused. My employer also lodged for an appeal and I’m still waiting for appealing my visa application too when it happens.
      My question is, do I have to work for the same employer after lodging the appeal? Or can I free to work for anyone else?
      Thanks so much.

        My Access Australia · July 11, 2019 at 8:03 pm

        Please check your bridging visa conditions for your current work rights.

      Sandy · July 8, 2019 at 11:07 am

      Hi, I lodged my 187 visa on November 2016, haven’t heard anything as yet and VEVO shows Bridging visa in effect for almost two and half years.
      My migration agent is hopeless, everytime his response was ‘can’t see any issue just wait for few more months’.
      He has just told me he has been contacted by the end of 2017 to submit further document. (he didn’t tell me at that time). Now I suspect that he has lodged an appeal without letting me know.
      How do I find out if an appeal has been lodged?

        My Access Australia · July 11, 2019 at 8:08 pm

        Hi Sandy,
        You can try contacting the Department to check on the application.

        John · September 11, 2019 at 6:21 pm

        Best send an email to AAT they are very genuine people they will help you with your query

      Anna · June 24, 2019 at 9:08 pm

      Hi, very sad here because my partner’s visa 187 nomination just got refused. We don’t know what should we do now as we provided all the documents and evidences. Thinking to go for appeal, but also wondering can we go overseas during AAT.

      rohit · June 17, 2019 at 1:34 pm

      hi m rohit n i have applied for the 485 n it got refused bcz of 6 moths condition so i was wondrering if i can apply for AAT and in the mean time taking the bridging visa B and applying for another student visa for masters after my bachelors now the real question is are they going grant me my student visa or not .

      Manoj · June 13, 2019 at 2:34 pm


      Myself Manoj, my working visa has been refused, as they said I have applied for my visa after 6 months of my course completion. But my grandmother was not well during that period and she has expired, Can I put her medical file and death certificate in the AAT appeal. Please help me out.
      As I don’t know that I need to apply within 6 months of the course completion date, I thought 6 months would be from my graduation ceremony. If I have known that I would have applied earlier.


        My Access Australia · June 14, 2019 at 8:01 pm

        Hi Manoj,
        I’m sorry to hear about your situation.
        Unfortunately the time period during which you can apply for an 485 is a strict requirement and there are no exemptions which would be confirmed in the Department’s refusal decision.

      Tina · June 6, 2019 at 3:55 pm

      I submitted 186 but Ielt no Ielt, my lawyer said that I have studied here for 5 years, I do not need English exam, I do not know whether or not to submit to immigration, do I accept it, thanks

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