Orphan Relative (subclass 837)

Sunday 5 November 2023

Orphan Relative Visa (subclass 837)

The Orphan Relative Visa (subclass 837) is designed to allow a child who is single and already in Australia to stay with a relative when their parents are deceased, unable to care for them, or cannot be found. This visa provides an opportunity for the child to have a stable and supportive environment while living in Australia.


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

  • Be under 18 years of age, single, and have no parent available to care for them
  • Have a relative who is a settled Australian citizen, eligible New Zealand citizen, or Australian permanent resident
  • Be in Australia but not in immigration clearance when the application is made and when a decision is made

It is important to note that the child must be sponsored by an eligible sibling or step-sibling, grandparent or step-grandparent, aunt, uncle, step-aunt or step-uncle. The sponsorship must be approved, and certain requirements must be met, such as providing adequate accommodation and financial support for the child's first two years in Australia.

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 granted the Orphan Relative Visa can freely travel to and from Australia for a period of 5 years from the date of visa grant. However, after the initial 5-year travel facility expires, the child will need to apply for a Resident Return Visa (RRV) to re-enter Australia as a permanent resident. Alternatively, they can consider applying for Australian citizenship, which eliminates the need for a visa to enter Australia.

How long the child can stay

The Orphan Relative Visa is a permanent visa, allowing the child to stay in Australia indefinitely. The child becomes a permanent resident on the day the visa is granted, which also counts towards their eligibility for Australian citizenship.

Including other children

If the child has siblings who also wish to apply for the visa, a separate application must be made for each sibling. The child's dependent children can be included in their application at any time before a decision is made, provided they meet the health requirement. Family members who are not coming to Australia may also need to meet the health requirement.


The visa application for the main applicant is free of charge. However, there may be additional costs for health checks, police certificates, and biometrics. It is advised to use the Visa Pricing Estimator to determine the total cost of the visa application, excluding any additional expenses.

Applying for the visa

The application for the Orphan Relative Visa must be made on paper. The following forms must be completed:

  • Form 47CH: Application for migration to Australia by a child
  • Form 40CH: Sponsorship for a child to migrate to Australia

These forms, along with all supporting documents, must be sent by post or courier to the Child and Other Family Processing Centre in Perth. The application charge must be paid before submitting the application.

After applying

After submitting the application, it is important to keep track of the status of the application. Updates on the progress of the application may not be available within normal processing times. The child must stay lawful by holding a valid visa while the application is being processed. Health examinations and biometrics may be required, and additional information may be requested. It is crucial to provide any requested documents or information promptly to avoid delays in processing.

Visa outcome

Once a decision has been made on the visa application, the child will be notified in writing. If the visa is granted, the child will receive a grant notification letter containing the visa grant number, the date the visa starts, and any applicable visa conditions. If the visa is refused, the reasons for refusal will be provided, along with information on the right to review the decision. Please note that the application fee will not be refunded in the case of visa refusal.

Sponsor obligations

As a sponsor, your obligations last for 2 years from the date the visa is granted. You must provide support, adequate accommodation, and financial assistance to the child and any dependent children granted the visa. Withdrawing as a sponsor is not permitted after the visa has been granted.

By following the step-by-step guide and meeting all the eligibility criteria, the child can have the opportunity to stay in Australia and benefit from the various rights and privileges provided by the Orphan Relative Visa.

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