Orphan Relative visa (subclass 837)


This visa allows the child to live permanently in Australia with their sponsoring relative.​


The child must:

  • be in Australia
  • be under 18 years old
  • not be married or in a de-facto relationship

Both of the child’s parents must be dead, permanently incapacitated or of unknown whereabouts.

Length of stay



From AUD 1,480

Learn about...​

The process

Processing time

75 per cent of applications processed90 per cent of applications processed
Unavailable due to low volume of applications.Unavailable due to low volume of applications.

Last updated 16 February 2018(for month ending 31 January 2018)

Processing times vary.

For more information read Global visa and citizenship processing times


Who could get this visa

    To apply for this visa, a child must:
  • be in Australia
  • be younger than 18 years old
  • be sponsored by their relative who is:
    • the brother, sister, grandparent, aunt, uncle or step-equivalent of the child
    • older than 18 years of age
    • an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen
  • not be married or in a de-facto relationship
  • be in situation where their parents are unable to care for them
  • meet health and character requirements.

When a child might not be eligible

The child's parents

    A child is eligible for this visa if their parents are not able to care for them. This could be because the parents:
  • are dead
  • are incapable of caring for the child
  • cannot be found
    • A child cannot apply for this visa if their parents could care for them but do not want to.

      If the parents cannot be found, the application will need to show how long they have been missing and what has been done to try to find them.

Best interests of the child

This visa will not usually be granted if it is against the best interests of a child younger than 18 years of age.

Measures for the Protection of Children has more information.

Assurance of support

We might ask for an assurance of support for the child so that welfare costs for some migrants are not borne by the Australian community.

Do not provide an assurance of support unless we ask for one and tell you what you need to do.


The child must meet certain health requirements. The results are usually valid for 12 months. This also applies to any member of your family unit included in your application, whether they are migrating or not.


A child older than 16 years of age must meet certain character requirements. They must be prepared to provide a police certificate from each country they have lived in for 12 months or more during the past 10 years after they turned 16 years of age. Do not arrange for police certificates until we ask you to. This applies to the child and any member of the family unit listed in the application, whether they are migrating or not.

Debts to the Australian Government

The child must have no outstanding debts to the Australian Government or have arranged to repay any outstanding debts to the Australian Government.

The visa

About this visa

An Orphan Relative (subclass 837) visa is for a child whose parents are dead, permanently incapacitated or of unknown whereabouts. It allows a child in this situation to live permanently with their sponsoring relative in Australia.

The sponsoring relative usually applies on behalf of the child.

What you can do

    It allows the child to:
  • stay in Australia indefinitely
  • work and study in Australia
  • enrol in Medicare, Australia's scheme for health-related care and expenses
  • apply for Australian citizenship (if they are eligible)
  • sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence
  • travel to and from Australia for five years from the date the visa is granted – after that time they will need another visa to enter Australia.


From AUD 1480

    You might have to pay additional costs:
  • additional applicant charge 18 and over
  • additional applicant charge under 18

Use the Visa pricing estimator to estimate the cost of your application.

Visa pricing estimator

Note: The estimator does not calculate additional costs.


The child must be inside Australia when the application is lodged and when the application is decided.

How long your visa lasts

This is a permanent residence visa.


You might be able to include your child in the visa application.

Any children included in the visa application must meet the requirements for including family members in your application.

The application must include documentary evidence of their relationship to you.

Children who are included as members of your family unit must be able to show that they meet health and character requirements.

Your siblings will need to lodge their own application.

Your obligations

The child must comply with all Australian laws.


Who can sponsor a child

It is usually the sponsoring relative who prepares the relevant documents and lodges the application.

You can sponsor a child for this visa if you are the child’s relative and the parents are dead, permanently incapacitated or cannot be located.

You can complete the visa application forms. You can include more than one child on the same application form.

    To be a sponsor, you must:
  • be the brother, sister, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or step-equivalent of the child
  • have turned 18 years of age
  • usually live in Australia and have done so for a reasonable period
  • be an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen

Parental responsibility

    This visa can be granted only if you can show one of the following for a child younger than 18 years of age:
  • you have the written consent of each person who can legally decide where the child lives
  • the laws of the child’s home country permit the removal of the child
  • it is consistent with any Australian child order.

Character requirements

You must meet certain character requirements. You must be prepared to provide a police certificate from each country you have lived in for 12 months or more during the past 10 years after you turned 16 years of age. Do not arrange for police certificates until we ask you to.

Sponsorship obligations

    As the sponsoring relative you must:
  • be responsible for the cost to the Australian Government of the child living in Australia
  • provide adequate accommodation and enough financial support to meet the child's reasonable living needs for the child's first two years in Australia
  • help the child settle in Australia
  • support the child to attend any required English language classes.

You must tell us in writing if the child’s circumstances change in a way that could affect their eligibility for a visa, or your eligibility to sponsor the child.

Other obligations apply if you have agreed to provide an assurance of support for the child.

Follow these steps

  1. Gather documents

    Prepare your documents

    You need to provide documents to support your application for this visa. We can make a decision using the information you provide when you lodge your application. It is in your interest to provide as much information as possible with your application.

    Provide certified copies of original documents. Do not include original documents unless we specifically ask for them. Police certificates should be original documents. Documents not in English must be accompanied by accredited English translations.

  2. Apply

    Apply for the visa

    Complete and lodge two forms.

      The child or their sponsor should complete:
    • Form 47CH Application for migration to Australia by a child (333 kB PDF).
      Sponsors should complete:
    • Form 40CH Sponsorship for a child to migrate to Australia (297 kB PDF).

    You cannot lodge this application in person. You must lodge your application by post or courier to the Perth office in Western Australia - attention Child and Other Family Processing Centre.

    The forms must be completed in English. Provide all relevant documents and pay the visa application charge when you apply. You can pay by credit card, bank cheque or money order made payable to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

    More information

    Please refer to preparing your application, for information on:

    • certifying and translating documents into English
    • communicating with us
    • using a migration agent
    • authorising another person to receive information from us
    • receiving assistance with your application.

  3. After you apply

    Wait for a decision

    We have visa processing time service standards for each visa.

    Your application could take longer if the child needs character or health checks (including x-rays), you need to provide more information, or the application is incomplete. If you apply for this visa while the child is in Australia, they might be able to get a Bridging visa that allows them to stay in the country lawfully while the application is processed. If the child is given a Bridging visa A, they should apply for a Bridging visa B (BVB) if they want to travel outside Australia while they wait for a decision.

    Visa decision

      If the visa is granted, we will let you know:
    • when you can use the visa
    • the visa grant number
    • any conditions attached to the visa.
      If the visa is not granted, we will let you know:
    • why the visa was refused
    • your review rights (if any). Where applicable, your sponsor can apply for the decision to be reviewed
    • the time limit for lodging an appeal.

    Provide more information

      You can provide more information to us, at any time until a decision is made on the application. If you want to correct information you provided, use:
    • Form 1023 - Notification of incorrect answer(s) (99KB PDF)

    We could also ask you for more information. You will have to respond by a set date. After that date, we can make a decision about your application using the information that we have.

    If another person gives us information that could result in you being refused a visa, we will usually give you the opportunity to comment on the information.

    You might also be interviewed. If you are asked to attend an interview in person, bring your passport or other identification and any requested documents to the interview.

    Provide Biometric

    The child might be asked to provide biometrics (a scientific form of identification) as part of the application. Countries and visa subclasses included in the biometrics program has more information.

    Tell us of changes

    You must tell us if your circumstances change. This includes a new residential address, a new passport, or a pregnancy, birth, divorce, separation, marriage, de facto relationship or death in your family.

    More information is available in the Tell us of changes tab.

Tell us of changes

How to tell us of changes

    Please report changes in your circumstances via ImmiAccount. If you are not able to use ImmiAccount, you can use the following forms:
  • Form 929 Change of address and/or passport details (86KB PDF) — if you move to a new address or change your passport
  • Form 1022 Notification of changes in circumstances (77KB PDF) — if there are other changes in your circumstances.

If you do not provide us with the details of any new passport issued to you, you could experience significant delays at the airport and may be denied permission to board your plane.

Withdrawing your visa application

You can withdraw the application at any time before we make a decision about it. To do this, send us a letter or email to ask for the withdrawal. Your request must include your full name and date of birth. You should also include your file reference number, client ID, or a Transaction Reference Number.

All applicants 18 years of age or older, wishing to withdraw, must sign the request for withdrawal.

Estimate the cost of your visa

* Price will be displayed in Australian dollars unless changed.
The following Visa Pricing Estimator requires you to answer the questions as accurately as possible to provide you with an estimate for lodging a visa application. The estimator might not include the second instalment of the visa application charge which is payable for some visas. Please note this is an estimate for a visa application, if you have already lodged your application and you want to change/add applicants please refer to the Visa Pricing Table. The Visa Pricing Estimator will give you an estimate of the charges you may need to pay to lodge a visa application. This is paid after you have made your application but before the visa can be granted. Read the department's full disclaimer. The Commonwealth of Australia does not guarantee the accuracy, currency or completeness of any material in the Visa Pricing Estimator.