Orphan Relative (subclass 117)

Sunday 5 November 2023

Orphan Relative Visa (Subclass 117)

The Orphan Relative Visa (Subclass 117) is a visa that allows a single child to come to Australia to live with a relative if their parents are deceased, unable to care for them, or cannot be found.


In order to be eligible for the Orphan Relative Visa (Subclass 117), the child must meet the following criteria:

  • Be under 18 years of age, single, and have no parent to care for them
  • Have a relative who is a settled Australian citizen, eligible New Zealand citizen, or Australian permanent resident
  • Be outside of Australia when the application is made and when a decision is made

If the child requires assistance with their visa application, it is important to ensure that the person providing assistance is authorized to do so. More information on who can help with the visa application can be found on the Department of Home Affairs website.

With this visa, the child can:

  • Stay in Australia indefinitely
  • Work and study in Australia in accordance with Australian law
  • Enroll in Australia's public healthcare scheme, Medicare
  • Sponsor relatives to come to Australia
  • Apply for Australian citizenship, if eligible

Travel to and from Australia for 5 years

The child is able to travel to and from Australia as many times as they want for 5 years from the date the visa is granted, as long as the travel facility on the visa remains valid. If the child wishes to travel beyond the initial 5-year period, they will need to apply for a Resident Return (RRV) visa to re-enter Australia as a permanent resident. Another option to consider is Australian citizenship, which would eliminate the need for a visa to enter Australia.

For information on the duration of the travel facility, the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) can be used.

How long the child can stay

The Orphan Relative Visa (Subclass 117) is a permanent visa, allowing the child to stay in Australia indefinitely. The child becomes a permanent resident on the day they enter Australia on the visa for citizenship purposes.

Including other children

If the child has siblings who also wish to apply, a separate application must be made for each sibling. Dependent children of the child who apply for the visa can be included on the application at any time before a decision is made. These dependent children must also meet the health requirement. Family members who are not coming to Australia may also need to meet the health requirement.


The visa application fee for the main applicant is AUD [cost]. There is also a charge for each dependent child included in the application. Additional costs may include health checks, police certificates, and biometrics. The Visa Pricing Estimator can be used to determine the total cost of the visa, excluding other associated costs.

Applying from

The child must be outside of Australia when the application is made and when a decision is made.

Processing times

For an estimate of processing times for the Orphan Relative Visa (Subclass 117), the visa processing time guide tool can be used. This tool provides general processing times for recently decided applications and is not specific to individual applications. It is important to note that the application may take longer to process if it is incomplete, does not include all necessary documents, or requires additional information for verification.

The child's obligations

Once granted the Orphan Relative Visa (Subclass 117), the child and any dependent children granted the visa must abide by all Australian laws.

Visa label

The child's visa will be digitally linked to their passport and will not have a physical label. A grant notification letter containing the visa grant number will be sent, which can be used to access the digital visa record.

Sponsoring a child

In order to sponsor a child for the Orphan Relative Visa (Subclass 117), the sponsor must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a settled Australian citizen, eligible New Zealand citizen, or Australian permanent resident
  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Be a relative of the child, which includes a sibling or step-sibling, grandparent or step-grandparent, aunt, uncle, step-aunt, or step-uncle

The sponsorship must be approved, and the sponsor may not be approved if they or their partner have been charged or convicted of offenses involving children.

Sponsor obligations

As a sponsor, there are certain obligations that must be met for a period of 2 years from the date the child enters Australia on the visa. These obligations include providing adequate accommodation and financial support to meet the child's reasonable living needs during their first 2 years in Australia. The sponsor is also responsible for assisting any dependent children granted the visa.

It is important to gather all necessary documents to support the sponsorship application and provide accurate information. Any changes in circumstances should be promptly reported to the Department of Home Affairs.

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