To be eligible to apply for any of the parent visas the applicants must meet what is called the 'Balance of Family' (BOF) test. This means the applicants must have:
Children of both parents are counted in the test, including any children of previous relationships of either parent.
Parents may apply for an Aged Parent visa in Australia (onshore) only if one parent is old enough to be granted an Australian age pension. This is 64.5 years of age for women (depending on date of birth) and 65 for men. If neither parent is old enough, the application must be lodged offshore.
All applicants applying for parent visas require an Assurance of Support (AoS). An AoS is a legal commitment by the assurer to repay the Commonwealth of Australia any benefits paid to those applicants covered by the assurance. This is for a set period after the applicants migrate from overseas or are granted permanent residence in Australia. However, an AoS bond is only payable for adult applicants.
There is also a second Visa Application Charge (VAC) payable for all Parent visa applications. This is in addition to the initial lodgement fee and is paid before grant of a visa.
The Contributory Parent visa category has the additional advantage of the ability to apply for a temporary visa first, helping to 'split up' the significant second Visa Application Charge (VAC) fees.
During the two year period on the temporary visa, parents may apply at any time for their permanent visa at which time the balance of the VAC payment would need to be paid.
The Assurance of Support bond must be paid before approval of the PERMANENT visa application. This means that if you apply for the temporary visa first you will have more time before you have to pay the bond.
Currently, the applications for a Contributory Parent visa take around 18 to 20 months to process from lodgement to decision (depending on onshore or offshore lodgement).