pop-up content starts
pop-up content ends

Balance of family test

The balance of family test measures a Parent visa applicant's family links to Australia.

The test determines the extent of the parent's links to their children or stepchildren in Australia and ensures only those with close ties to Australia are eligible for a Parent visa.

A parent meets the balance of family test if:

  • at least half their children and stepchildren are eligible children, or
  • there are more eligible children than children living in any other single country

We will not waive this test, even in compelling or exceptional circumstances.

You need to pass the test if you are applying for one of these visas:

  • 103 – Parent
  • 143 – Contributory Parent
  • 173 – Contributory Parent (Temporary)
  • 804 – Aged Parent
  • 864 – Contributory Aged Parent
  • 884 – Contributory Aged Parent (Temporary)

Children counted in the balance of family test

You and your partner's children, including stepchildren and adopted children, are counted in the balance of family test.

Children are not counted if they:

  • are deceased
  • have been removed from their parents' exclusive legal custody by adoption, court order or operation of law
  • are registered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as refugees and live in a camp operated by the UNHCR
  • live in a country where they suffer persecution or human rights abuse and can't be reunited with their parents in another country

A stepchild is:

  • your current partner's child, or 
  • your former partner's child who is under 18 years of age and in relation to whom you have guardianship, custody or a parenting order in force under the Family Law Act 1975. Stepchildren born from polygamous or concurrent relationships are not counted in the balance of family test

 Meaning of ‘eligible child' and 'ineligible child'

 A child is an eligible child if they are:

  • an Australian citizen, or 
  • an Australian permanent resident usually resident in Australia, or
  • an eligible New Zealand citizen usually resident in Australia

Any other child of the parent is an ineligible child. An ineligible child is taken to be resident overseas.  

We don't consider children who are in Australia on a temporary visa as usually resident in Australia.

If a child’s whereabouts are unknown, we consider they are resident in their last known usual country of residence.

Eligible New Zealand citizens

You are an eligible New Zealand citizen if you arrived in Australia on a New Zealand passport and were:

  • in Australia on 26 February 2001 and were a special category visa (SCV) holder on that day, or
  • in Australia for a period or periods totalling 12 months in the 2 years immediately before 26 February 2001, and returned to Australia after that day
  • assessed as protected SCV holders before 26 February 2001
Table 1: Examples of calculating when a parent would pass the balance-of-family test
Total number of childrenChildren living permanently in AustraliaChildren in country AChildren in country BChildren in country CChildren in country DPasses test?