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Can I travel to my home country on a protection visa?

Sharing Li
Sharing Li
Australian Migration Agent
July 3, 2024
minute read

What are the rules for me and my family members ?

"Can I travel to my home country on a Protection visa?" is a common inquiry among visa holders seeking clarity on their travel rights. The protection visa, aimed at safeguarding individuals from persecution, imposes travel restrictions aligned with Australia's protection obligations. Revisiting the country one seeks protection from entails intricate legal considerations, particularly for individuals with a well-founded fear of persecution. Travel condition 8559, inherent in the visa, underscores the limitations on visiting one's home country, emphasizing the potential risk to the visa holder's safety.

Engaging with the Department of Home Affairs is essential for seeking written approval before contemplating travel back to the country of origin. This process requires meticulous documentation and adherence to specific criteria, such as compelling or compassionate reasons for the visit, like attending to a seriously ill family member. Failure to obtain prior approval may result in visa cancellation, jeopardizing one's protected status in Australia. Navigating these complexities necessitates engaging with migration agents for personalized guidance tailored to individual circumstances, ensuring compliance with visa conditions and preserving one's right to protection.

Can I use the passport from my home country?

For individuals holding a refugee or humanitarian visa, it is strongly recommended not to utilize the passport from their home country as a travel document for overseas journeys to any destination. Doing so may inadvertently engage Australia's protection obligations, potentially raising concerns with the Department regarding the legitimacy of the protection sought. This action could result in the cancellation of their protection visa, jeopardizing their lawful status in the country.

It is essential to ensure that the travel document used is a valid visa or passport issued by the relevant authorities. Obtaining a "Convention Travel Document" is advised for international travel until one becomes an Australian citizen or secures a permanent protection visa. This measure helps fulfill Australia's security requirements and mitigates the risk of facing legal repercussions. Additionally, it is imperative to adhere to Australian laws and regulations governing travel and immigration, including those pertaining to systematic and discriminatory conduct. Seeking guidance from an Australian Migration Agent can provide valuable assistance in navigating the complexities of migration law and ensuring compliance with all relevant criteria. 

What if I get an Australian passport? 

Once you attain Australian citizenship, you become eligible to obtain an Australian passport, which enables you to travel internationally and seek the protection of the Australian government abroad. However, even with an Australian passport, it's important to exercise caution when considering a return to your country of origin, especially if there are lingering safety concerns for you or your family members. Australian citizenship provides a sense of security, as it can only be revoked under specific circumstances, such as fraudulent activities during the citizenship application process or upon acquiring citizenship from another nation, unless dual citizenship is permitted

Is a Convention Travel Document different from a passport or travel document ? 

A Refugee Convention Travel Document (CTD) functions similarly to a passport for international travel purposes. To obtain a CTD, individuals can initiate the application process by reaching out to the Australian Passport Office and completing Form PC5. Typically, a CTD remains valid for a duration of one to two years.

Before embarking on your travels, it's advisable to verify with the embassy of your destination country whether they recognize and accept CTDs, as well as whether you require a visa for entry. Australia may issue a CTD to individuals holding the following visa types: 

  • Refugee visa subclass 200; Special humanitarian program subclass 201; Emergency rescue subclass 203; Woman at Risk subclass 204; Second Movement Offshore entry subclass 447; Secondary Movement Relocation subclass 451; Temporary protection visa subclass 785; Safe haven enterprise visa subclass 790; Resolution of status visa subclass 851.

What travel conditions do refugee visas have?

The provided information is pertinent for individuals currently holding a refugee or protection visa:

  • Protection visa (subclass 866): For holders of a protection visa (subclass 866) granted within Australia, it is imperative to obtain written approval from the Department of Home Affairs before returning to their home country. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in the cancellation of the visa. However, travel to any other country does not necessitate such approval. It's advisable to acquire a Convention Travel Document for international travel instead of using the home country passport, if available.
  • Onshore Refugee visa (subclass 200-204): While onshore Refugee visas (subclasses 200-204) do not explicitly mandate Department approval for travel to the home country, there might be potential risks to the visa if such travel occurs. Seeking legal counsel before undertaking such travel is advisable to assess safety concerns and potential visa implications.
  • Resolution of Status visa (subclass 851): For holders of a Resolution of Status visa, there are no travel restrictions imposed for overseas travel. However, ensuring safe travel to the home country is essential.
  • Temporary Protection visa (subclass 785) or Safe Haven Enterprise visa (subclass 790): Individuals with a TPV (subclass 785) or SHEV (subclass 790) cannot travel to any country, including their home country, without prior permission from the Department of Home Affairs. Unauthorized travel may result in visa cancellation and potential restrictions on re-entering Australia.

How can Australian Migration Agents help once you engage Australia's protection obligations?

Australian Migration Agents play a pivotal role in assisting individuals with various aspects of immigration and visa matters, including re-entering Australia after international travel. They provide guidance on gathering necessary supporting documents and ensuring compliance with visa conditions to meet Australia's security requirements. In cases where individuals seek permanent residence or permanent visa status, agents offer expert advice on fulfilling certain legal criteria and providing the requisite supporting evidence. Moreover, they navigate complex procedures related to administrative appeals tribunal hearings and advocate for clients in matters concerning protection claims and humanitarian concerns. Agents also provide assistance with preparing financial documents and addressing bodily or mental functions assessments required for visa applications. By offering personalized support and expertise in navigating Australian laws and foreign affairs, Australian Migration Agents play a crucial role in helping individuals achieve their immigration goals and stay in Australia permanently.

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What is the process of obtaining a protection visa in the first place?

In applying for a protection visa, the primary visa holder must ensure all identity documents are in order, especially if they have a de facto partner or dependent child. Eligible family members under the same family unit may also be included in the visa application, provided they meet the protection visa requirements set by Australia. Understanding the provisions of the Migration Act is essential, particularly regarding the temporary safe haven visa for those seeking protection due to essential and significant reasons. Personal details, including offshore humanitarian program travel history and valid travel documents, must be accurately provided to the department of foreign affairs. Those granted protection under the 866 visa are safeguarded against fear of persecution, with health exams and all relevant documents, including the child's birth certificate, being crucial in ensuring their well-being as they embark on their journey towards a new life in Australia.

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