First entry date to Australia and why you should not miss it


Congratulations! You worked hard, waited long and you have been granted a permanent visa to Australia. Each visa has it is own conditions that you have to comply with. One of them is the first entry date to Australia which requires you and your family members to come to Australia by a certain date. Why and what if the date is missed? This blog will answer these questions and explain what to do.

First Entry Date- initial entry required 

A permanent visa will usually have a date for: ‘first entry, arrive by’ which is a mandatory condition that needs to be complied with. This can be 12 months from the date of the grant letter or sometimes shorter than that. You should ensure to come to Australia before that date because otherwise it is a breach of this condition. 

The first entry date should not be confused with ‘must not arrive after’ as this is your travel facility in and out of Australia for 5 years from the grant date and independent from your initial entry.  Although the travel facility allow travel in and outside of Australia for 5 years, there is no legal power to amend the initial entry date visa condition if it is missed.

Why is the first entry date imposed

Generally, the department imposes a first entry date for you to come to Australia to ensure that the police and health checks are still within their validity period. If they expire and you have not yet travelled to Australia, you may have to provide new police clearances and undertake a new medical examination. 

What if I missed the first entry date?

Missing the first entry date may lead to the cancellation of your visa. This cancellation is up to the Department in Australia, i.e. discretionary in nature.  

The Department will first consider exceptional and compelling reasons that have prevented you or your family from entering Australia on the required date. For example, the Department will give more weight to reasons that have an element which is outside the control of the visa holder. Other factors they can generally consider at immigration clearance in particular include:

  • Whether you or your family contacted an overseas post before travelling (and the outcome of this contact), and if not, the reasons as to why they did not contact the department;
  • Whether the significant delay in entering is due to exceptional and compelling circumstances; 
  • How much time has elapsed since the initial entry date – generally the more time that has transpired between the initial and actual entry date, means the greater the breach;
  • Australia’s international obligations in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and family principles- i.e. what is the best interest of the children involved. 


What are my options if I missed my entry date?

Option 1

Travel to Australia unprepared hoping nothing will occur. This is a risky option as you may be stopped at the airport and denied entry. If you are denied entry. Your permanent visa might get cancelled and you may not be able to return to Australia again. 


Option 2

Travel to Australia prepared without first contacting the department but have all the documents required as to why you did not come to Australia prior to the first entry date. Must show strong compelling and compassionate reasons at the airport if requested.  You face cancellation of the visa at the airport if the case officer does not agree with your reasons. 


Option 3

Contact the Department ASAP to obtain a letter to allow you to come to Australia post your first entry date. Prior to travelling to Australia, contact the department and explain your compelling and compassionate circumstances why you were unable to meet the first entry date condition, and explain the situation to them with all the documents in relation to the delay. 

Strong documents should be provided. Only when the department decides not to cancel the visa and issue you with a letter to confirm ‘Exceptional and compelling circumstances for breach of first entry date’ then you can travel to Australia. The department may request the date of your travel back to Australia and include that date on the letter. You must then take this letter with you and provide it to the airline at the check in point as well as keep a copy for immigration clearance when you reach Australia. 


Useful tips

  • Always read the dates and conditions of your visa. 
  • Seek legal advice before taking an action. Make sure to contact experts in this area. 
  • You should not provide any wrong information or documents to the department at any time.


About the author 

This article was written by Marial Lewis, a Partner and a registered migration agent (MARN: 1575322) of Teleo Immigration Specialists. Marial is an admitted lawyer in Australia and holds a double degree in Commerce and Law as well as a Master degree in Legal Practice.She was a finalist in various awards in 2019 including, the prestigious 30 under 30 award in migration law, Australasian Law Awards as the Rising Star of the year and the Suburban Lawyer of the year as well as a finalist in the Australia Women in Law Awards. 

The other director of Teleo Immigration Specialists is Dr Etienne Hugo (MARN: 0004435) who is an accredited specialists immigration lawyers in New South Wales. Dr Hugo is a Fellow of the Migration Institute of Australia and regularly presents papers on Immigration Law. He has also taught at ANU in the graduate diploma for Immigration since 2006.

Teleo has successfully represented thousands of applicants over the past 13 years, including complex matters, visa cancellations and review applications. 

If you wish to seek advice or apply for an Australian visa or an immigration litigation matter, please contact us on

DISCLAIMER: Immigration law is complex and is subject to constant regulatory and policy change by the Department of Home Affairs.  The information provided here may therefore be out-dated and no longer accurate. The information provided above is a general guide only – it is not tailored for your specific circumstances or immigration purposes and you must under no circumstances rely on this information for immigration planning or the lodgement of an application with the Australian government or related bodies.  In order to ensure your eligibility is accurately assessed and to allow for tactical decision making that would best suit your desired immigration outcome, it is essential that you consult with a capable immigration advisor registered with the relevant Law Society and/or OMARA. We direct new client enquiries to schedule an initial consultation with our office – email: During an initial consultation we have the opportunity to obtain a complete set of facts that will allow us to explore all the available options.  Another reason we engage clients within the context of an initial consultation is to protect our firm from potential professional liability which may flow from providing a brief, unconsidered opinion. As a paying client you/ us have the benefit of professional indemnity insurance. Liability limited by a scheme approved under the Professional Standards Legislation.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: ImmiAdvisor recommends you obtain your own independent immigration, legal, accounting, financial or taxation advice as appropriate. It is solely your responsibility to evaluate the accuracy, completeness and usefulness of all information provided through this blog/website. In no event will ImmiAdvisor Pty Ltd be liable to you or anyone else for any decision made or action taken by you or anyone else in reliance upon any information contained on or omitted from this blog/website.

If you would like ImmiAdvisor to blog about a specific topic please email




  1. Where do people in the current situation of government imposed lockdowns stand ?

    Got my wife and sons PR but the date of first arrival is June 2020 (grant date June 2019)

    Given the UK and Australia lock down my actually go on for quite some time it may make travel impossible

    • Dear Peter,

      I am in similar situation with the country that I reside in total lockdown and Airports closed. Could you let me know if you have managed to find answers to your predicament or any advise on how to approach such an awkward situation.
      Thanks & Regards

      • Mr Peter Jaggard

        Hi mate

        I spoke to the department of home affairs and they told me to email

        They said that they can’t change the entry date but if accepted, I’ll get a letter that allows them to travel past that date

        Going to prepare a letter in the next day if so and see what I get back

        I assume they’re busier than normal so who knows when I’ll get a response

  2. Hi,
    I am currently facing same problem, as my son is in India, his first arrival date is June 2020. I am looking for extension of first arrival date. Please let me inform if anyone got right solution. Thanks

    • Email the address I put above. They won’t extend the entry date but said I should contact them when I’m able to travel and take it from there

      Not a concrete answer but it shows I’ve made contact and sounds like they’ve acknowledged my situation

  3. I am in different situation. When the CoronaVirus was announced pandemic i took a flight to Australia immediately as my First Entry Date is in September 2020. I stayed there 24 hours and then came back. Now, i am bit confused whether my First Entry was acknowledged or not. Any idea guys? Where should i check if they have acknowledged my First Entry?

  4. Hi Peter,

    I have sent an email to ‘’ explaining my situation and requesting First Entry Date extension but didn’t get a reply. Wondering if you received your letter from the department? Thanks


    • Not sure about that email address. My IED was to do with a subclass 100 partner visa so the email address I sent it to only deals with that subclass. It did say when I received an email that showed it has been received that if it wasn’t to do with that subclass I wouldn’t receive any follow-up.

      I did get a response but I wasn’t a concrete answer and I’ve since missed the date and will have to take my chances towards the new year. Can’t imagine I’m the only one affected by the international lockdown

      Call the global service center for more accurate advice about what email address you need to send your request to

      Good luck

  5. Hi,

    Does anybody know whether the first entry date requirement has been relaxed for VISA Subclass 189? My first entry date is 28th Jan, 2021. Howver, my flights got cancelled twice.

  6. Hi Hassan, if you send an email to skilled support, they reply immediately with an automated response that is applicable to Visa subclass 189,190 etc.


Leave A Reply