Are You Barred From Making A Visa Application Due to Section 48?


Are you barred from making a further visa application due to Section 48 of the Migration Act? This is an issue which you may need to consider if DIAC has refused a previous visa application which you lodged, or if your visa was cancelled.

Section 48

If you do not hold a substantive visa, then this section will bar you from making a further ‘substantive visa’ application in the following circumstances:

  1. If since you last entered Australia, you have lodged a visa application and this application has been refused by DIAC. Exceptions: Section 48 does not apply if the refusal was in relation to a bridging visa application or if the basis of the refusal was due to character issue (i.e. a refusal under Sections 501, 501A or 501B of the Migration Act) or
  2. If your visa was cancelled under sections 109 (incorrect information), 116 (general power to cancel), 134 (business visas), 137J (student visas) or 137Q (regional sponsored employment visas) of the Migration Act.

A ‘substantive visa’ is defined as any visa that is not one of the following: 1) bridging visa, 2) criminal justice visa and 3) an enforcement visa.

Under Section 48(3), if you leave and re-enter Australia while holding a bridging visa, then you are deemed to have been continuously in Australia despite the international travel. This prevents bridging visa holders from using international travel has a means to avoid the application of Section 48.

Exceptions to the application of Section 48

Even if you’ve had a visa application refusal or visa cancellation, you can still lodge a valid application for the following types of visas: partner visas, bridging visas, Subclass 444 for New Zealand citizens and child visas (as well as a few other types of visas).

DIAC’s policy does not provide much further information in relation to the operation of Section 48. This is probably because the operation of Section 48 is pretty clear. This also means that except for the exception outlined above, there is really no way to get around the application of Section 48 if you’ve had a refusal or cancellation.

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746 thoughts on “Are You Barred From Making A Visa Application Due to Section 48?

  1. Raj

    Good morning Peng,
    I had a student visa refusal in 2014 and I won that student visa through MRT and again I extended student visa. currently I am in student visa bridging BVA. I have invited regional skilled visa from Tasmanian government 489 visa.
    but when I try to apply through immi account. it won’t allow me to continue saying that you have wither previous visa refusal or don’t have substantive visa or location can not be confirmed.
    can’t I apply 489 from Australia?
    I have not visit overseas after visa cancellation.

    1. Peng Cheng Post author

      Hi Raj,
      Sorry but this sounds like an issue with the Department’s website/IT – you would need to contact the Department for this.


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