In this 3 part series, we will be looking at the issue of visa overstay. In particular, we will consider what are the immediate and long-term consequences of overstaying your visa.
What happens when you overstay a visa?
Your Visa is valid up to a specified date. You would have been advised about this date in the visa grant letter, which was issued when your visa was granted. If you remain in Australia beyond your visa validity date, without being either on a bridging or substantive visa, then you have overstayed your visa.
The immediate consequence of overstaying the visa is that you become an “unlawful non-citizen” (sometimes referred to as an alien). This means the Immigration Department must detain and remove you from Australia – unless of course you are able to make an application for another visa.
Is there a “grace” period?
The short answer is “no”. This means if you overstay your visa even just buy one day, this will still be considered a serious issue, and can have potentially significant consequences for you. That being said, if you don’t overstay for longer than 28 days, you have more options when it comes to applying for a new visa, and you may not be subject to a re-entry ban, which we discuss in part 3.
There are times when people overstay their visa due to circumstances that are beyond their control. Again, this does not mean that you are off the hook, but in some cases it is possible to avoid the otherwise significant consequences, if the circumstances of the case are compelling.
Of course, one of the main issues for people who overstay their visa is whether they can apply for a new visa while they’re still in the country. We discuss this in the next part of this series.