Understanding the Process of AAT Review for Refused Student Visas


Navigating the visa application process can be challenging, and receiving a refusal for a student visa can be disheartening. However, if an application has been refused, and the application was lodge in Australia, there is an option to request a review from the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). 


Understanding this process can significantly improve the applicant’s chances of a successful outcome. 


We have prepared a comprehensive guide to help understanding the AAT review process for refused student visas. Please note that this process differs from any other visa refusals and AAT review.


What is the AAT?

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) is an independent body that reviews decisions made by the Australian government, including visa refusals. The AAT’s role is to reconsider the decision and determine whether it should be affirmed, varied, or set aside and substituted with a new decision.


Eligibility for Review

Not all visa refusals are eligible for review by the AAT. To be eligible, you must:

  1. Have received a visa refusal notification from the Department of Home Affairs (usually via email or a letter).
  2. Be within the timeframe specified in your refusal notification to lodge a review application (usually within 21 days).
  3. Have the right to a review, as indicated in your refusal notice (the review rights must be specified in the notification).


Steps in the AAT Review Process

Lodging an application:

Submit your application for review to the AAT through their portal .

Pay the application fee. If you are succesfull you can receive up to 50% refund from your fees.

Preparing for the Review:

Gather all relevant documents and evidence that support your case. This may include new evidence that was not previously considered.

Consider seeking advice from a migration agent or lawyer to help prepare your submission.

The Review Process:

The AAT will designate a case officer who will examine your application and the Department of Home Affairs’ decision.

You may be required to attend a hearing, where you can present your case in person, provide further evidence, and answer questions from the tribunal member.

The Hearing:

Hearings are generally informal, and you will have the opportunity to explain why you believe the visa refusal was incorrect.

You can bring a representative, such as a migration agent or lawyer, to assist you during the hearing.


After considering all the information, the AAT will make a decision to either affirm, vary, or set aside the original refusal decision.

You will be notified of the decision in writing, along with the reasons for the decision.


Tips for a Successful Review

  1. Timely Submission: Ensure your review application is submitted within the specified timeframe to avoid automatic dismissal.
  2. Comprehensive Documentation: Provide all necessary documents and evidence to support your case. This can include academic records, financial statements, and letters of support.
  3. Professional Assistance: Consider engaging a migration agent or lawyer who specializes in visa appeals to guide you through the process.
  4. Preparation for Hearing: Be well-prepared for your hearing by understanding the key points of your case and being ready to address any questions the tribunal member may have.



The AAT review process offers a second chance for those who have had their student visa applications refused. By understanding the process and preparing thoroughly, you can increase your chances of a positive outcome. Remember, seeking professional advice and presenting a well-documented case are crucial steps in navigating the AAT review process successfully.