Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403)

Features

This visa allows you to come to Australia on a temporary basis:

  • in relation to a bilateral agreement (Government Agreement stream)
  • to represent a foreign government or to teach a foreign language in an Australian school (Foreign Government Agency stream)
  • to do domestic work for a diplomat (Domestic Worker stream)
  • as a person with statutory privileges and immunities (Privileges and Immunities stream).

Requirements

You might be able to get this visa if:

  • you meet the requirements for one of the streams within this visa.

About this visa

The Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403) allows you to come to Australia under one of four streams:

  • Government Agreement stream: to come to Australia under the terms and conditions of a bilateral agreement between the Australian Government or an Australian state or territory government and the government of another country
  • Foreign Government Agency stream: for a representative of a foreign government who will not be given official status in Australia by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), or a person who is to be employed as a foreign language teacher by a foreign government in an Australian school
  • Domestic Worker (Diplomatic or Consular) stream: to do domestic work in the household of someone who holds a Diplomatic (Temporary) visa (subclass 995)
  • Privileges and Immunities stream: for a person with privileges and immunities under the International Organisations (Privileges and Immunities) Act 1963 or the Overseas Missions (Privileges and Immunities) Act 1995.

This is a temporary visa.

Applying in Australia: If you apply in Australia, you must be in Australia when the visa is granted.

Applying outside Australia: If you apply outside Australia, you must be outside Australia when your visa is granted.

What this visa lets you do

This visa allows you to:

  • enter Australia temporarily
  • do the work or activity specified in your visa application
  • enter and leave Australia while your visa is valid.

Before you apply

This visa is not for representatives of foreign governments or foreign government agencies who are accredited by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), such as diplomats, United Nations agency executives and consular officials.

The following visas are now closed to new applications:

The privileges and immunities stream of the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) is also closed to new applications.

If you have been granted a Government Agreement visa (subclass 406) or a Foreign Government Agency visa (subclass 415), a member of your family unit can apply for a Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403). If you already hold one of these visas, it will still be valid until the expiry date you were given when it was granted.

Your passport

If you plan to get a new passport, you should do so before applying for your visa. In most cases, you and your family members must have valid passports to be granted this visa.

Cost

The visa application charges are listed in Fees and charges.

You might not need to pay the visa application charge if any of the following apply:

  • you hold a valid diplomatic, official or service passport and have a Third Person Note from your government
  • you have been accorded, or expect to be accorded, privileges and immunities and be recommended by the Foreign Minister for the grant of a visa
  • you are in a class of persons specified by the Minister in a legislative instrument, such as a Fulbright scholar coming to Australia as part of your scholarship.

You must provide evidence to show that your application is exempt from the application charge.

Other costs

You might have to pay other costs, such as the costs of health assessments, police certificates, or any other certificates or tests. You are responsible for making the necessary arrangements.

Visa applicants

This information tells you what you need to do to apply for a Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403).

Who could get this visa

You might be able to get this visa if you:

  • have a genuine intention to stay temporarily in Australia
  • have adequate financial support for you and your family while you are in Australia
  • have adequate arrangements for health insurance for you and your family while you are in Australia
  • meet health and character requirements
  • meet the requirements of the stream in which you are applying for the visa
  • if you are in Australia when you apply for the visa, you must hold a qualifying visa.

Financial support

  • Evidence of your financial capacity to support yourself and your family while you are in Australia, such as:
    • bank statements
    • a letter from your financial institution stating your financial position
    • employment contracts
    • documents showing allowances, accommodation and stipends from your sponsor while you are in Australia.

Health requirements

You must meet certain health requirements. The health examinations you need will depend on your personal circumstances, including your period of stay, country of citizenship, time spent in another country during the last five years and your intended activities in Australia. The results of your health examinations are generally valid for 12 months.

Applying in Australia

Contact Bupa Medical Visa Services to arrange your health check. Tell them you are applying for this visa and ask for a reference number. Keep a copy of the reference number and provide it with your application. If you live in a regional area, contact Bupa Medical Visa Services for the details of a local doctor who is approved to do the required examination.​​

Health insurance

You are responsible for all your health costs while you are in Australia. You will not be covered by Australia's national health scheme (Medicare) unless your country has a reciprocal health care agreement with Australia.

You must have adequate health insurance unless you are covered by Medicare. You should ensure that your insurance will provide at least the level of coverage required for the purpose of your stay. Your health insurer could be in either Australia or your home country.

Attachment A in thehealth insurance standard template letter (138 kB RTF) is a guide to the level of health insurance we will accept as adequate.

This applies to you and any dependent family members listed in the application.

If you are not entitled to Medicare benefits, you can ask for an exemption from Australia’s Medicare levy in your end-of-year tax return.

Character requirements

You must meet certain character requirements. If you are applying for a stay in Australia of longer than 12 months, you must provide a police certificate from each country you have lived in for 12 months or more during the past 10 years after you turned 16 years of age.

This also applies to all dependent family members in the application who are 16 years of age or older.

Debts to the Australian Government

You must have no outstanding debts to the Australian Government or have arranged to repay any outstanding debts to the Australian Government before this visa can be granted.

This applies to you and any dependent family members in your application who are 18 years of age or older.

Provide biometrics

You might be asked to provide biometrics (a scientific form of identification) as part of the application. Countries and visa subclasses included in the biometrics program has more information.

Government Agreement stream

To apply for this visa in the Government Agreement stream, you must:

  • be engaged in Australia under a bilateral agreement between Australia and another country
  • provide evidence that you meet the terms and conditions of the agreement and that your stay in Australia has the support of both the Australian signatory and the foreign signatory to the agreement
  • provide evidence that the Australian signatory is satisfied that you will be employed or engaged in accordance with Australian labour laws and practices, unless that requirement is stated in the agreement
  • comply with all necessary licensing or registration requirements associated with your employment or engagement
  • have evidence from either the Australian or the foreign signatory indicating how long the position lasts.

If the foreign signatory is not the national government of the relevant foreign country, you could be asked to provide evidence that the national government of that country does not oppose your stay in Australia.

If family members are coming to Australia with you, the bilateral agreement must allow them to enter Australia, the Australian signatory must agree to their stay in Australia, and your family members must meet the requirements of any terms and conditions of the relevant agreement that apply to them.

We might ask you for a copy of the government agreement after you apply. The agreement must be written in English.

Foreign Government Agency stream

To apply for this visa in the Foreign Government Agency stream, you must be either:

  • a representative of a foreign government agency who will not be given official status in Australia by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and have a letter of support from your government ministry or agency naming you as a foreign government agency representative
  • a foreign language teacher who will be employed by a foreign government in an Australian school, have a letter of support from your government ministry or agency naming you as a foreign language teacher, and have a letter of support from the Australian school.

You must provide a statement as evidence that your employment in Australia will benefit Australia (the statement can be part of the statement of support from your government ministry or agency).

Letter of support

If you are applying as a foreign government employee, you must provide a letter of support from your government ministry or agency detailing support for your visa application. If you are applying in Australia, the letter can be provided by your embassy or consulate in Australia.

The letter of support must confirm:

  • the job title and or duties you will undertake in Australia
  • support for your visa application
  • your period of stay
  • that you will be representing your government or agency.

If you are applying as a foreign language teacher, you must provide:

  • a statement from the Australian school or educational authority supporting your intention to work in an Australian school
  • a letter from your government's foreign ministry or relevant government agency supporting your intention to work as an employee of that government in Australia (if you are applying in Australia, the statement can be provided by your embassy or consulate in Australia).

Benefit to Australia

You must provide a statement as evidence that your employment in Australia will benefit Australia. The statement can be part of the statement of support from your government ministry or agency. It must include reasons why it is necessary to employ you. It must also establish that your employment will not disadvantage Australian residents and will contribute to at least one of the following:

  • the expansion of local business and export activity
  • the generation of employment
  • the promotion and maintenance of good international trade relations
  • the introduction and transfer of new skills and technology
  • improved employment and training opportunities for Australians.

Domestic Worker stream

To apply for this visa in the Domestic Worker stream, you must:

  • have turned 18 years of age, if you are outside Australia when you apply
  • intend to perform full-time domestic duties exclusively in the household of an eligible holder of a Diplomatic visa (subclass 995) in Australia
  • have a letter of support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

You must provide written declarations about your employment terms and conditions:

Privileges and Immunities stream

To apply for this visa in the Privileges and Immunities stream, you must:

  • be a person to whom privileges and immunities will be accorded under the International Organisations (Privileges and Immunities) Act 1963 or the Overseas Missions (Privileges and Immunities) Act 1995
  • have a letter of support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) recommending that you should be granted the visa.

Including family in your application

You can bring dependent family members with you to Australia only if you apply for this visa under one of the following streams:

  • Government Agreement stream, if:
    • they are listed in the agreement and in the letter of support from the relevant supporting agency
    • the Australian signatory agrees to their stay in Australia
    • they comply with all the terms and conditions listed in the agreement that apply to them.
  • Foreign Government Agency stream
  • Privileges and Immunities stream.

Dependent family members include:

  • your partner (married or de facto)
  • your or your partner’s dependent children
  • other dependent relatives who live with you.

If you add a dependent child to your application, that child must meet the requirements for including family members in your application. The application needs to include documentary evidence of the child's relationship to you.

Your family members must apply separately if you do not include them in your application for this visa.

You cannot bring your family if you apply under the Domestic Worker stream.

If you hold a Government Agreement visa (subclass 406) or a Foreign Government Agency visa (subclass 415) and you did not include your family members in your visa application, they can apply for a Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403) to join you in Australia as your family member.

How to apply

This information explains what you need to do to apply for a Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403).

If you apply in Australia, you must be in Australia when the visa is granted. If you apply outside Australia, you must be outside Australia when it is granted.

Prepare your documents

You need to provide documents to prove the claims you make in the application. The documents are listed in the Document checklist.

Some documents could take some time to obtain. You should have them ready when you lodge the application to reduce any delays in processing.

Lodge your application

Apply for this visa using the following form:

  • Form 1403 Application for a Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (305 kB PDF).

You must provide all relevant documents and pay the visa application charge by when you apply.

In Australia:
If you are in Australia, lodge your application at the Canberra office in the Australian Capital Territory - attention Specialist Temporary Entry Processing Centre. You can pay by credit card, bank cheque or money order made payable to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

Outside Australia:
Lodge your application at one of the immigration offices outside Australia, which will tell you how you can pay. There is also information at Method of Payment Accepted at Australian Missions.

Email enquiry form: Specialist Temporary Entry Centre Enquiry Form - ACT

More information

There is more information to help you prepare your application, such as certifying and translating documents into English, communicating with us, using a migration agent, authorising another person to receive information from us, and receiving assistance with your application.

After you have applied

After you have lodged your application and documents, we will let you know that we have received your information.

Wait for a decision

We have visa processing times for each visa.

Your application could take longer if you need character or health checks (including x-rays), if you need to provide more information, or if your application is incomplete.

Outside Australia:
If you apply for this visa from outside Australia, do not make arrangements to travel to Australia until you are advised in writing that you have been granted a visa.

In Australia:
If you apply for this visa in Australia, you could be able to get a Bridging visa that allows you to stay in the country lawfully while your application is processed. If you are given a Bridging visa A, you can apply for Bridging visa B (BVB) to travel outside Australia while you wait for a decision.

Provide more information

You can provide more information to us, at any time until a decision is made on the application. If you want to correct information you provided, use:

We could also ask you for more information. You will have to respond by a set date. After that date, we can make a decision about your application using the information that we have.

If another person gives us information that could result in you being refused a visa, we will usually give you the opportunity to comment on the information.

You might also be interviewed. If you are asked to attend an interview in person, bring your passport or other identification and any requested documents to the interview.

Report changes in your circumstances

You must tell us if your circumstances change. This includes a new residential address, a new passport, or a pregnancy, birth, divorce, separation, marriage, de facto relationship or death in your family.

You can use the following forms:

If you do not provide us with the details of any new passport issued to you, you could experience significant delays at the airport and may be denied permission to board your plane.

Withdrawing your application

You can withdraw the application at any time before we make a decision about it. To do this, send us a letter or email to ask for the withdrawal. Your request must include your full name and date of birth. You should also include the number we gave you when you applied, if you know it – this could be a file reference number, client ID, or a Transaction Reference Number.

If you are 18 years of age or older, you must sign the letter of withdrawal or send a separate email or letter.

Visa decision

If the visa is granted, we will let you know:

  • when you can use the visa
  • the visa grant number
  • any conditions attached to the visa.

You will not have a visa label placed in your passport.

You can use Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) for free to check your visa details and entitlements.

If the visa is not granted, we will let you know:

  • why the visa was refused
  • your review rights (if any). Where applicable, your sponsor can apply for the decision to be reviewed
  • the time limit for lodging an appeal.

Document checklist

You need to provide documents to support your application for this visa. We can make a decision using the information you provide when you lodge your application. It is in your interest to provide as much information as possible with your application.

Provide certified copies of original documents. Do not include original documents unless we specifically ask for them. Police certificates should be original documents. Documents not in English must be accompanied by accredited English translations.

Use this checklist to make sure your application is complete.

Complete this checklist and attach it, with your documents, to the front of your application when you lodge it.

Forms

  • Form 1403 Application for a Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (393 kB PDF).
  • For anyone included in the application who is 18 years of age or older and is not your partner:
    • Form 47a Details of child or other dependent family member aged 18 years or over (238 kB PDF).

Receiving assistance

Charges

  • If you are not seeking an exemption from the visa application charge: pay the charge.
  • If you are seeking an exemption from the visa application charge: one of the following:
    • evidence that you have a valid diplomatic, official or service passport and Third Person Note from your government
    • a written statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) that you have or are expected to be accorded privileges and immunities
    • evidence that you are in a class of persons specified by the Minister in a legislative instrument, such as a Fulbright scholar coming to Australia as part of your scholarship.

Financial support

  • Evidence of your financial capacity to support yourself and your family while you are in Australia, such as:
    • bank statements
    • a letter from your financial institution stating your financial position
    • employment contracts
    • documents showing allowances, accommodation and stipends from your sponsor while you are in Australia.

Personal documents

Your identity

  • Certified copies of the biographical pages of the current passports or travel documents of all people included in the application (these are the pages with the holder's photo and personal details and the issue/expiry dates).
  • Two recent passport-sized photographs (45 mm x 35 mm) of each person included in the application.
    • These photographs should be of the head and shoulders only against a plain background.
    • Print the name of the person on the back of each photograph.
  • Certified copies of birth certificates for you and any other person included in the application. The certificates must show the names of both parents of your dependent children.
  • A national identity card if you have one.
  • If your name has changed or the name of anyone included in your application has changed: a certified copy of evidence of the name change.

Your relationships

  • Certified copies of marriage certificates or relationship registrations for you and anyone else included in your application, even if they are not joining you in Australia.
  • If you are living in a de facto relationship: independent evidence of your relationship (for example, joint bank account statements or billing accounts in joint names).
  • If you or anyone included in the application has been widowed, divorced or permanently separated: a certified copy of the death certificate, divorce documents, or statutory declaration separation documents.
  • Evidence of financial dependency for all your family members aged 18 or older:
    • a certified copy of their birth certificate and proof of their relationship to you
    • proof that they live in your household
    • proof that they have been financially dependent on you for at least the 12 months immediately before you lodge your application.

Your children

  • If any dependent child included in the application is adopted: certified copies of the adoption papers.
  • If you want to bring a child younger than 18 years of age with you to Australia, and that child’s other parent is not included in the application: documentary evidence that you have the legal right to bring that child to Australia, such as:

Character requirements

  • If anyone included in the application has served in the armed forces of any country: certified copies of their military service record or discharge papers.
  • Police checks for everyone included in the visa application who is 16 years of age or older and intends to stay in Australia for more than 12 months:
    • an Australian National Police Check for anyone who has spent a total of 12 months or more in Australia since turning 16 years of age
    • police certificates from each country in which anyone in your application has spent a total of 12 months or more in the past 10 years since turning 16 years of age.

Provide the original certificates and keep a copy for yourself.

Health insurance

  • Evidence of adequate health insurance for you and your family members for the duration of your stay in Australia, such as:
    • a certification letter from your health insurer or broker
    • evidence that you have enrolled with Medicare if your country has a reciprocal health arrangement with Australia
    • thehealth insurance standard template letter completed by your insurance provider (106 kB RTF).

Attachment A of the health insurance standard template letter is a guide to the level of health insurance you need.

Government Agreement stream

  • Evidence that you meet the terms and conditions of the relevant agreement and that your stay in Australia has been agreed to by both the Australian and foreign signatories to the agreement
  • If not stated in the agreement: evidence that the Australian signatory is satisfied that you will be employed or engaged in accordance with Australian labour laws and practices
  • Evidence that the Australian signatory is satisfied that you will be employed or engaged in accordance with Australian labour laws and practices
  • Copies of your qualifications and curriculum vitae (CV) and, if required, a copy of registrations or licences required for your employment or engagement.

Foreign Government Agency stream

  • A letter of support from your government ministry or agency, covering you and family members coming with you to Australia
  • If not included in the letter of support: a statement from your government ministry or agency that your employment in Australia would benefit Australia
  • If you are applying as a foreign language teacher: a letter of support from the Australian school
  • A copy of your qualifications and curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Copies of any registrations or licences required for your employment or engagement.

Privileges and Immunities stream

  • Written statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) recommending that you and any family members coming with you to Australia be granted the visa
  • A copy of your qualifications and curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Copies of any registrations or licences required for your employment or engagement.

Domestic Worker (diplomatic or consular) stream

  • An Employer's declaration signed by your employer. You may use the sample declaration below as a template.
  • An Employee's declaration signed by you. You may use the sample declaration below as a template.
  • A letter of support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • A copy of your qualifications and curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Copies of any registrations or licences required for your employment or engagement.

Visa holders

This information is for people who have already been granted a Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403). It explains your rights and obligations.

You can use Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) for free to check your visa details and entitlements.

How long your visa lasts

Government Agreement stream:
Your visa is valid for a maximum of two years, or a shorter period approved by your Foreign Ministry or government agency or the Australian signatory to the bilateral agreement.

Foreign Government Agency stream:
Your visa is valid for a maximum of four years, or a shorter period approved by your Foreign Ministry or government agency.

Privileges and Immunities stream:
Your visa is valid for the period of your status as an international representative with privileges and immunities.

Domestic Worker stream:
Your visa is valid for the duration of your employer’s posting to Australia.

Renewing your visa

If you want to stay longer once you are in Australia, you might be able to do so by completing a new visa application, providing appropriate evidence, and paying the visa application charge.

What this visa lets you do

This visa allows you to:

  • enter Australia temporarily
  • do the work or activity specified in your visa application
  • enter and leave Australia while your visa is valid.

You might be able to bring dependent family members with you to Australia if you apply for this visa under the:

  • Government Agreement stream, provided:
    • your family members are listed in the bilateral agreement and in the letter of support from the your government department or agency
    • the Australian signatory agrees to their stay in Australia
    • your family members comply with all the terms and conditions listed in the agreement that apply to them.
  • Foreign Government Agency stream
  • Privileges and Immunities stream.

If you are applying in the Domestic Worker stream, you cannot bring dependent family members with you to Australia.

Your obligations

You and your family must comply with all visa conditions and Australian laws.

During your stay in Australia, you and your family must:

  • maintain adequate health insurance
  • continue to meet the requirements of the visa stream in which you were granted the visa
  • meet Australian taxation obligations if you work in Australia.

You must continue to work in the activity for which the visa was granted.

Report changes in circumstances

Tell us if your circumstances change. This includes a new residential address, a new passport, or a pregnancy, birth or death in your family.

You can use the following forms:

Employers

This information is for diplomatic visa holders who want to employ domestic workers from outside Australia to work in their households in Australia on a Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403).

You can use Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO for Organisations) to check the visa details and entitlements of a person that you have sponsored.

Who can employ a domestic worker

To employ a domestic worker under this visa, you must:

  • hold a Diplomatic visa (subclass 995) and be accredited as a diplomat or consular officer in Australia
  • not be a permanent resident of Australia
  • have formal support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to employ a domestic worker, before the worker applies for their visa
  • intend to employ the worker to perform domestic duties in your private household
  • enter into an employment agreement with the worker
  • complete and sign an Employer's declaration
  • employ the domestic worker in accordance with the standards for wages and working conditions under relevant Australian award legislation and awards.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has further information about Australian employment standards. This is not an exhaustive list and other legislation and awards might also apply.

Employer obligations

You must:

  • ensure the domestic worker is employed only to perform domestic duties in your private household
  • tell the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade when your domestic worker first arrives in Australia and when they finally leave
  • ensure that the domestic worker leaves Australia when they finish working for you.

Estimate the cost of your visa

The Visa Pricing Estimator requires you to answer the questions as accurately as possible to provide you with an estimate for lodging a visa application. The estimator does not include the second instalment of the visa application charge which is payable for some visas. Please note this is an estimate for a visa application, if you have already lodged your application and you want to change/add applicants please refer to the Visa Pricing Table. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection Visa Pricing Estimator will give you an estimate of the charges you may need to pay to lodge a visa application. This is paid after you have made your application but before the visa can be granted. Read the department's full disclaimer. The Commonwealth of Australia does not guarantee the accuracy, currency or completeness of any material in the Visa Pricing Estimator.

Last reviewed Wednesday 16 July 2014

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