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Appeal Against a Visa Cancellation or Citizenship Cancellation

What You Need To Know About Visa Cancellations or Citizenship Cancellations


Your Australian visa (or citizenship) can only be cancelled by the Minister for Immigration or a Minister's delegate. It cannot be cancelled by your spouse, nominator, employer, or university.


Your visa may be cancelled if the Department receives adverse information concerning your visa and where it is satisfied that such adverse information is correct. Likewise, in other circumstances, your visa may be cancelled under provisions that make it mandatory for the Department/Minister to cancel your visa, for example, where you fail to pass the ‘character test’ [s501(3A)]. Such visa cancellation is often known as s501 visa cancellation or visa cancellation on character grounds.


Whatever the reason for the cancellation of your visa, you must understand that you will become an unlawful non-citizen in Australia upon such cancellation if you do not hold any other visa. Your visa cancellation is likely to result in the cancellation of visas held by your other dependent family members (if they were included in your own visa application as secondary applicants). Cancellation of your current substantive visa will also result in the cancellation of any Bridging visa (A, B, or C) that is linked to your application for another visa which is being processed by the Department.

Moreover, a visa cancellation may seriously negatively impact your ability to apply for another substantive visa. It may also have implications concerning your ability to apply for Australian citizenship and the 'residence requirements’ of Australian citizenship.

A visa cancellation becomes a permanent part of your immigration history and can cause problems and nuisance in many respects. For example, from time to time, you may find yourself disclosing and explaining your visa cancellation in governmental applications, forms, and to government agencies. Again, when applying for visas to other countries, you will probably be required to disclose and explain the circumstances in which your visa was refused. In short, you will have to carry a record of your visa cancellations with you.

If the Department of Home Affairs is considering cancellation of your visa, they will generally send you a Notice of Intention to Consider Cancellation (‘NOICC’). In general terms, NOICC is a letter from the Australian Department of Home Affairs notifying you that the Department has some adverse/negative information concerning you (or your visa application); and, because of that adverse information, the Department is going to consider whether or not your visa should be cancelled. What You Can Do If You Have Received A NOICC.

Examples of situations in which your visa may be cancelled


Well, a visa may be cancelled for various reasons. For example, the following scenarios may lead to a visa cancellation:

  • You fail to pass the ‘character test’ mentioned in section 501 of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth). You will fail the ‘character test’, for example, if;

    • You have ever been sentenced to 12 months imprisonment (or a period which equals 12 months or more in total);

    • You have been charged with, or found, guilty of a sex-related crime involving a child.

      • It does not matter whether you were sentenced by, or found guilty by, an Australian court or a court of a foreign country.

  • Your Employer/Sponsor or your Spouse withdraw their Sponsorship;

  • If you ‘purchase’ a sponsorship for your visa;

  • If you were granted a visa based on certain grounds and those grounds no longer exist.

    • For instance, the Department may cancel your Student visa if, after arriving in Australia holding a Student visa, you apply for an Onshore Protection Visa (subclass 866) and discontinue your studies. This is because you were granted a Student visa to study in Australia and now do not intend to study.

  • If you do not comply with your visa conditions.

  • If you provided false or incorrect information in your visa application (or otherwise) or provided bogus documents to the Department of Home Affairs, your visa may be cancelled. Moreover, you may also be banned from entering Australia for 3 or 10 years.

  • If you fail to answer questions of a biosecurity officer about goods or baggage in your possession, or you provide false or misleading information or fake documents to an Australian biosecurity officer.

  • […]

What You Need to Do If Your Australian Visa or Citizenship Is Cancelled


If you have only received a NOICC at this stage, then you must start devising a ‘damage control’ strategy.

  • Consider whether you have any dependant family members included in your current visa application. Try to find out if your family members may qualify for another visa as independent applicants to avoid having their visas cancelled as a result of your visa cancellation.

    • For example, your family members may be eligible to apply for a Resident Return Visa which is often granted very quickly. If they secure their visa before a decision on your visa cancellation matter is made, then they will be safe even if your own visa is cancelled. These family members may be of great help in future even if your visa is cancelled.

  • Consider whether the department's concerns are accurate. Try to find a reasonable way to convince the Department that your visa must not be cancelled. Make sure your request to not cancel the visa is genuine, honest, and sincere.

  • Consider whether you will have Merit Review Rights at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal if your visa is cancelled. Also, consider whether you will have sufficient evidence, a good and convincing explanation, and reasonable justification to justify your failure that resulted in the Cancellation of your Visa.

  • Consider if you can apply for another suitable visa even if you fail to have the visa cancellation ‘revoked’ at appeal. Apart from a few exceptions (for example a Protection Visa), generally, there is not much a visa holder can do if they fail to successfully challenge their visa cancellation.

Consider This


Visa Cancellation-related challenges may require you to provide a significant amount of evidence and explanations at every stage, if you wish to fight your visa cancellation to the end (from the Department level to Federal Circuit Court and above). However, a (persuasive) explanation or supporting documents may or may not be available to provide to the Department of Home Affairs or AAT, etc.  In any case, the importance of a well-thought, well-planned, detailed yet honest response to a NOICC as well as any requests of the AAT (or courts) cannot be overrated. While dealing with your visa cancellation you must consider every chance to submit a persuasive explanation/evidence to be your last chance. You may never know which chance to convince a decision-maker may be your last chance. So, stay focused and work hard.


Seeking assistance from an Immigration lawyer in similar circumstances is always a reasonable thing to do. 


Practical Tips

  • Before responding to your visa cancellation issues, you must consider and collect all the information and evidence that may strengthen your response/explanation. Always provide correct, accurate, and up-to-date information and only genuine documents.

  • Before submitting the information and documents to an authority, title/name them properly. Also, anticipate how the case officer will look at that information and how will he/she interpret it. Remember, provide what is required. Avoid providing irrelevant information/documents.

  • When completing any relevant applications and forms (if there are any), you must think about why you are expected to make a particular statement in your response/explanation. Why has a particular question been asked?


Again, seek professional assistance to maximise your chances of success in securing your desired outcome.


See Our Blogs On Visa Cancellation To Learn More

  • Search: Appeal Against Visa Cancellation Australia, Cancellation of Australian Visa, What should I do if my Australian visa is cancelled? or Challenging Australian Visa Cancellation, or Australian Visa Cancellation on Character Grounds, on our Blogs Page


If you need our assistance with your Australian Visa Cancellation, Ahmad Migration Services is here to help! To discuss your circumstances and options with us, please click on Contact Us.

Warning! Please note that Australian immigration laws and policies are highly complex and dynamic. Therefore, no information provided on this website in relation to Australian immigration laws and policies (or on any other matter) is intended to be legal advice. Please read our Terms and Conditions.

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