If you’re moving to Australia to start a business, you should consider the 163 Visa. The 163 Visa, also known as the Sponsored Business Owner visa is one of a subclass of visas that allows the holder to start a business in Australia after moving. Although a temporary visa (the end date will be attached to the visa when it is issued), it can be used as a pathway to obtain permanent residency.

Is the 163 Visa For You?

The 163 Visa is aimed at people who are successful business owners and would like to establish a company in Australia.

Are There Similar Visas to the 163?

There are other temporary entry visas, but the 163 Visa is comparatively easier and simpler.

What Will It Cost?

In addition to fees to apply for and obtain a 163 Visa, you should consider other expenses such as transferring funds internationally.

What Are the Requirements?

  1. English-speaking: If you are from a country where the primary language spoken is not English, you will need to a prove a level of fluency. You can do this by including a certification of an English speaking course that you have undertaken;
  2. Experience in senior management: You must have a minimum of four years working as a senior manager to show that you are capable of running a company;
  3. Ownership of business: You must show that you have owned or had a significant share in a business that was profitable (for this step, ‘profitable’ means that the company had a minimum annual sales revenue of AUD $300,000);
  4. Income: You must have made over AUD $300,000 in the last three years;
  5. Assets: Your personal assets must be greater than AUD $300,000;
  6. Investment in Australian economy: If successful you will have to deposit $300,000 in an Australian bank account and invest at least $100,000 in your own business; and
  7. Age: You have to be 55 years of age or younger.

Can I Bring Family?

The 163 Visa allows you to bring family members and you can add these to your application from the beginning of the process up until a decision has been made.

Where Do I Apply?

You must reside outside of Australia to apply unless you hold an Australian student visa, in which case you can start your application within Australia or abroad.

How Long Can I Stay?

The 163 Visa allows you to stay for three years. You may eventually be able to convert to a permanent visa, such as permanent residency, but you will have to meet additional requirements to do this.

If you are considering applying for permanent residency at a later point, keep in mind that you must:

  1. Have run a profitable business with annual sales revenue over AUD $200, 000; and
  2. Have lived in a particular state for more than one year to receive sponsorship.

Are There Any Risks?

If your business doesn’t steadily generate sufficient profit, you may be forced to close down the company and leave Australia if the time limit has passed. As you can see from the points listed above, there are also significant financial stakes involved.


If you are unclear about any steps involved in starting an application for a 163 Visa, or you just want to find out more information, you should speak with an immigration lawyer. Questions? Get in touch on 1300 544 755.

Annie Gunn

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