False statements and bogus documents on visa applications


False statements and bogus documents in Australian visa applications are something we come across far too often at Down Under Visa.

Public Interest Criteria 4020 is part of the Migration Regulations (Cth) 1994, and is the law that covers:

  • False or misleading statements or information
  • Bogus documents




This is what the law says:

[4020] (1) There is no evidence before the Minister that the applicant has given, or caused to be given, to the Minister, an officer the Migration Review Tribunal, a relevant assessing authority, or a Medical Officer of the Commonwealth, bogus document or information that is false or misleading in a material particular in relation to:

(a) the application for the visa; or

(b) a visa that the applicant held in the period of 12 months before the application was made.


Penalty? Refusal of the visa application, and a 3 year ban from lodging another application!


“Material Particular?”

Material particular is a legal term means that the material is significant, ie. whilst you still must be absolutely accurate, they’re not going to give you a three year ban if you misspelled the name of the town your brother was born in, because it can/will have no effect on the outcome of the visa. However if you hide the fact that you are already married, or if you invent employment to make yourself appear more stable to influence the Case Officer in making a decision, then that IS “material particular”.

Note that you can be in trouble for false documents, statements or information in relation to the CURRENT visa application, or for a visa that you held within 12 months of the current application.

So not only do you need to be careful in the application now, we need to know if you made any false statements in previous visa applications! We had someone recently who had made up a non-existent job in their last tourist visa application. What do you think will happen when they lodge another application and it asks about employment? They will look at the previous application, and will see that the applicant made a false statement in the last application! If they held that visa in the last 12 months, then they are at risk!


Bogus Documents

Section 71 of the Migration Act (1958) says:

bogus document, in relation to a person, means a document that the Minister reasonably suspects is a document that:

(a)      purports to have been, but was not, issued in respect of the person; or

(b)      is counterfeit or has been altered by a person who does not have authority to do so; or

(c)      was obtained because of a false or misleading statement, whether or not made knowingly;


So a bogus document is one which has been:

  • Not actually issued to that person, eg a diploma that the person was not supposed to have
  • Is counterfeit or has been altered by someone not authorised to do so, ie, by a “fixer”
  • Was obtained through a false or misleading statement, ie through a lie or through withholding some information, ie. by lying or by not saying something. And note that saying you didn’t know, this isn’t an excuse. Saying “my ex-husband did it”, or “the attorney did it” is not an excuse.


“Flexible” Truth and Carelessness

People can be a bit more “flexible” with facts here in the Philippines. And sometimes people are just forgetful and careless. These lines can often be crossed too.

  • Sometimes it’s just that people couldn’t be bothered putting something on the Questionnaire
  • Or they don’t think it’s important (or somebody else told them it’s not important)
  • Or they can’t remember the dates or the address, etc
  • Or they could be trying to make their situation look better, by inventing a job, or leaving a child off
  • Or they could be trying to avoid getting a police clearance from a country where they worked, so they left it off
  • Or they could be embarrassed by having worked in a bar, so they leave it off
  • Or they could be committing serious fraud by trying to hide that they are married, or that they’ve been in prison!
  • Or there are mistakes in documents like birth certificates where they’re pretended the parents were married when they were not, or they’ve stated that they weren’t married to their estranged husband when in fact they were!


Always be honest with us. We don’t judge! And please don’t be lazy, and don’t leave things off because of what someone else told you. Careless mistakes can lead to refusals and three year bans. And if you’ve made mistakes before, whether in previous applications or in any documents, you must tell us!

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Filed under Australian Visa Applications, Character Requirements, Practical Issues

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