5 Steps: Administrative Appeals Tribunal Process

Has your visa been refused?

Follow these easy steps for the Administrative Appeals Tribunal process

It is often disheartening to receive a letter from the Department of Home Affairs, that your visa has been refused. Often refusal of the visa can be attributed to several reasons, but these reasons may not be communicated or transparent to you. If you feel that you have been incorrectly denied a visa, then you have the right to appeal the refusal.

How to appeal? is a common question that we are asked, hence, we describe below a few easy steps that you can follow to implement an appeal.

If you want to appeal your refused visa, then please read on.

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) is the government agency whereby you can lodge your request for your refused visa to be reviewed.

In considering a lodgement please note the following:

1. Time Bound

Once you have received the letter of refusal, you must act quickly. Within the letter that you receive, advising of the refusal it will advise the length of the time that you have to appeal. Often the period of time is 21 days, however it can vary. Nevertheless, whether it is 21 days or not, you must act quickly.

2. Evidence of Error

When you lodge an appeal, it may be clear to you that there has been a procedural error. In knowing this, you must submit all supporting documents and statements, clearly outlining why you believe an error has been made. The AAT will then consider your supporting documents and statements to review the refusal of the visa.

3. Further Evidence after Lodging

After you have lodged your appeal, you still have the opportunity to provide further supporting documents, statements or any other evidence to augment your appeal. This therefore means, if you have been provided with limited time to lodge an appeal, do not OVER spend time preparing your supporting documents. Make sure that you have lodged first, then proceed with providing further evidence to support your appeal.

The priority is NOT to allow the refusal period to expire without making a lodgement.

4. Your existing Visa remains active

The importance of appealing urgently and lodging with the AAT is that it keeps your existing visa (if you are already onshore in Australia) active. Should you allow the refusal period to pass, your existing visa may expire and you will be required to leave Australia. Therefore it is imperative to lodge immediately and/or within the time period outlined in the refusal letter that you receive, in order for your existing Visa to remain active.

5. Appeal outcome

Having lodged your appeal, and submitted all the evidence required, you must wait for the AAT to then formally respond to your appeal.

Their outcome will be in the form of either:

a) They confirm that the Department of Immigration has correctly refused your visa applications. If this outcome has been given, you have exhausted all avenues to appeal, except for one, and that is appealing to the Minister of Home Affairs requesting of the decision to be overturned. OR;

b) The AAT advises that your case will be returned to the Department of Home Affairs, and that they are to review your application again. OR;

c) The AAT rules that you have been incorrectly refused a visa, and they grant you the visa that you have applied for.


It is extremely important to act quickly if you choose to appeal a refused visa decision by the Department of Home Affairs. Should you wish to appeal, and you are residing onshore in Australia, by lodging your application to have your visa reviewed, your existing visa will remain active until a decision is made by the AAT. Also, by lodging quickly, you still have the opportunity to submit further evidence to strengthen your case.

Migration Essentials has supported many applicants with their appeal process, guiding them to receiving a result that has led to the original refusal being overturned.

If you would like to know more regarding the appeals process, please contact us.