Administrative Appeals Tribunal

Administrative Appeals Tribunal ("AAT") is an independent merits review tribunal that reviews the Department of Home Affairs' decisions within its jurisdiction. The AAT, in its merits review process, will reconsider the facts, law, and policy aspects of the original decision. AAT also has powers to review new information unavailable to the original decision-maker.

Options Available

If you have received a visa refusal, you can either:

1. Lodge Another Visa Application

If your offshore visa was refused, you might not (further assessment is required to confirm this) have any AAT review rights. In this case, you may need to lodge another application with additional supporting evidence with legal submissions addressing the refusal.

2. Appeal your application to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal

If your visa refusal/cancellation falls within the jurisdiction of AAT, the tribunal is within its power to review this decision. The AAT has a range of powers to review decisions made under the Migration Act 1958 to:

  • refuse or cancel different types of visas
  • refuse or cancel visa sponsorship and nomination; 
  • and many more. 

Features of the AAT Appeals Process

AAT can review DHA's decision to refuse or cancel visa/sponsorship

AAT may allow you to stay back in Australia during the appeal period through a bridging visa (based on individual circumstances)

AAT can set aside decisions made by the Department of Home Affairs

Administrative Appeals Tribunal Eligibility

To be eligible for the appeal process, you must:

  • Be currently in Australia;
  • Have recently had a decision from the Department of Home Affairs;
    • to refuse or cancel different types of visas
    • to refuse to approve a nomination of an occupation, activity or position
    • to bar, refuse to approve or cancel the approval of a sponsor
    • relating to requiring a security
  • Have received the refusal letter in less than 28 days.  

What outcomes can the AAT make?

When the AAT reviews a decision, AAT can choose to affirm, vary, set aside or remit the decision. 

Set aside/Remit the Decision

If AAT set aside a decision, it means the AAT agree or partially agree the original decision was wrong. The AAT might replace it with a new decision or remit the decision. In case of remission, the AAT will send the matter back to the department to make a new decision in accordance with AAT's instruction.

Affirm the Decision

If the AAT affirm the decision, it means that the Department decision will remain unchanged. 

Vary a decision

If AAT vary a decision, it means the Department's original decision is changed or altered in some way.

How to Apply for an AAT Appeal

Step 1: Create an AAT Action Plan

Our team of Registered Migration Agents will assess your refusal/cancellation letter and determine the reasons behind your visa/nomination/sponsorship being declined.

Following a case conference to identify the cause of refusal, we will provide you with an AAT Action Plan that will guide you towards achieving your desired migration goals in Australia.

STEP 2: Lodge your AAT Application

Upon completion of your AAT Action Plan, our Agents will provide assistance in lodging your appeal prior to the deadline. Following submission, AAT will issue an acknowledgment letter to our organisation as confirmation of receipt.

Step 3: Prepare your AAT Case Submission

Once the AAT case has been lodged, our agents will proceed to prepare a legal submission that addresses the grounds of the Department's refusal.

In our submission, our agents will provide a detailed overview of the case, including the reasons for refusal, the facts of the case, and the specific Migration Regulations that the Department deemed unsatisfactory. We will also examine the relevant policy and case law pertaining to your case, and present compelling arguments as to why the initial decision was incorrect.

In addition to the above, we will also submit any new information or evidence that is available for the AAT's consideration.

Step 4: Prepare the AAT Hearing

After receiving your application by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), it will be assigned to an AAT member for review. They will examine all submissions and documents provided and then schedule a hearing.

Upon receiving a hearing date from the AAT, we will arrange a case conference to discuss the matter and help you prepare for the hearing.

STEP 2: Attend the Hearing

The AAT hearing allows you to present information and arguments about the Department's decision under review.

The hearing is relatively informal and will usually be conducted by one Tribunal Member.  The Member will explain what will happen during the hearing.

  • You may be asked to take an oath or affirm that you will tell the truth at the hearing.
  • Any witnesses will be asked to give evidence. 
  • You and the AAT member will also have an opportunity to summarise all the main arguments in the review briefly.

The length of the hearing varies from case to case. Many hearings are finished in under 3 hours but can be longer.

Step 6: Wait for AAT Outcome

Once the hearing is completed, the member will either:

  1. Request for further documents to support your case
  2. Make a decision at the end of the hearing or in writing within two months of the hearing. 


The AAT can make the following decisions:

  • Affirm the decision: the decision is not changed
  • Vary the decision: the decision is changed
  • Set aside the decision and substitute a new decision: the decision is replaced with a new decision
  • Set aside and remit the decision: the matter is sent back to the decision-maker to make a new decision

Something else ?


    We are happy to answer
    any queries you may have

    Can I stay back in Australia when my AAT is being processed?

    Yes, you can stay back in Australia, if you have a substantive visa or have received a bridging visa, while your refusal is being processed at the AAT. We advise you to do a VEVO check to review your Immigration status. 

    Can I work while my AAT Application is being processed?

    You may be able to work when the AAT application is being processed, depending on the condition on your current visa/bridging visa. If you are on a bridging visa, you most likely would need to apply for work rights. Check your visa conditions here.

    Can I travel outside Australia while the AAT is being processed?

    Yes, you may travel overseas if you have a valid visa to return with or if you have an approved Bridging Visa B during your time overseas.  

    What can I do if the time limit has expired?

    The AAT has no power to extend the time limit to lodge an application for a review.

    When do I need to apply for a review by?

    The decision letter sent by the department should state the time limit that applies to making an application to AAT. The time limit to apply for a review is usually 28 days after you receive the decision from the Department. 

    How do I lodge a review application?

    To apply for review, you must complete and lodge an ‘Application for Review’ form and pay the application fee (or 50% of the application fee together with an application for fee reduction) within the time limit to the AAT.

    Can I appeal the AAT decision if I am not satisfied with it?

    Yes, you must lodge an appeal with the Federal Court on a question of law within 28 days after receiving AAT’s decision, should you wish to appeal it further. 

    Can I have an interpreter during the hearing?

    Yes. If you need an interpreter, AAT will arrange for a qualified interpreter to assist, free of charge.

    Can I withdraw the review?

    Yes, you can withdraw an application for review at any time before a decision is made if you are the applicant. You will need to fill in the withdrawal form and send it to AAT.

    What is an AAT Hearing?

    The hearing is an opportunity for you, a representative of the decision-maker and any other party, to present information and arguments about the decision under review.

    Can AAT refund my fees?

    AAT will refund:

    • the whole amount if the AAT Application was invalid
    • 50% of the full application fee if you paid the full fee and AAT decide that you can pay the reduced fee.

    If the review is decided in your favour, AAT will refund:

    • 50% of the reduced fee amount you paid; or
    • 50% of the full application fee if you paid the full fee.
    Can I access documents AAT has about me?

    You can formally request access to documents AAT hold under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act). AAAT can also give you information about some AAT cases without a formal request under the FOI Act.

    Summary of cost estimates
    for your application

    The AAT application fee is $3,374 (as of 01 July 2023). 

    The AAT fee may be reduced by 50% if AAT is satisfied that the full payment has caused, or is likely to cause, severe financial hardship to the review applicant.

    AAT Processing Updates

    Online Hearing

    The quickest and easiest way to apply to the AAT and submit case documents is through AAT Online Services. While AAT accept emailed lodgements and document submissions, recent changes to AAT security protection measures may lead to delays in receiving emails or emails being blocked.

    If you apply or submit documents using AAT online services, you will receive an automatic confirmation that the process has been completed successfully. You can also track your case and documents via the online services portal. 

    You can still apply and submit documents in person or by post.


    AAT will give priority to cases that:

      1.  don’t need a hearing, or
      2.  can have a hearing by telephone or video conference.
    Contact Us

    Have questions about AAT Proceedings?

    Ask us here

      Melbourne Office
      Shop 7, 401 St Kilda Road
      Melbourne VIC 3004
      Caroline Springs Office

      Unit 7, 242-244 Caroline Springs Blvd
      Caroline Springs VIC 3023

      +613 9654 8611

      AAT Processing Times

      Processing times in calendar days for reviews finalised between 1/07/23 and 30/12/23

      Case category

      50% of cases finalised within (days)

      95% of cases finalised within (days)

      Nomination/Sponsor approval13061464
      Permanent business12951491
      Skill linked7221132
      Student cancellation393502
      Student refusal435608
      Temporary work9031408
      Total for migration case categories7011604
      Total for protection case categories15772212

      Send Us Your Migration Enquiry