Only Australian citizens have an automatic right of entry to Australia. If you hold a permanent visa you have the right to remain in Australia indefinitely. Normally, permanent residents can use their permanent resident visa to travel abroad and return to Australia for up to five years from the date the visa was granted. After five years, permanent resident must obtain a Five Year Resident Return visa in order to re-enter the country. If you want to return to Australia after your current visa expires, you should apply for a visa before you leave Australia.
RESIDENT RETURN VISA (SUBCLASSES 155 AND 157)
As a permanent resident you have the right to remain in Australia indefinitely however your travel facility on your visa is only for 5 years. If your travel facility expires whilst you are overseas you will need to apply for a resident return visa to be able to travel back to Australia. The automatic right of entry into Australia is reserved for Australian citizens alone.
Many permanent residents don’t realise that the travel validity of the permanent visa runs out after five years. It is one of the more puzzling stipulations of the Australian permanent resident visa that applicants are often not sufficiently informed about when applying for their permanent residency.
Who is eligible for a Resident Return Visa?
A Resident Return visa is granted to permanent residency holders living in Australia whose travel facility on their permanent visa has expired. A Resident Return visa can also be granted to holders of a permanent resident visa who have been living outside of Australia for a longer period of time if there are compelling reasons for their absence. By applying for a Resident Return visa, they get the chance to return to Australia and keep their permanent residency status.
As a holder of a Resident Return visa, you are allowed to travel freely to and from Australia for up to another five years. You remain to be a permanent resident with the same rights as before, it merely renews your permission to travel. When the travel facility of your Resident Return visa expires, you can apply for a new Resident Return visa. There is no limitation on how often you can consecutively apply for a Resident Return visa.
Types of Resident Return Visas
FIVE YEAR RRV
To obtain a new five (5) year travel facility (called a resident return visa, or RRV) the basic criteria is that you have spent at least two (2) years out of the last five (5) physically present in Australia as the holder of a permanent visa.
ONE YEAR RRV
If you cannot meet the ‘2 in 5’ requirement you may be eligible for a resident return visa with one year travel validity. As noted above, if you remain in Australia beyond the one year validity period your permanent residence does not expire, only your ability to depart and then re-enter Australia as a permanent resident is affected.
THREE MONTH RRV
Permanent residents who have less than 2 years’ physical presence in Australia and who have not yet established substantial ties of benefit to Australia may be eligible for a three month RRV. For example, you may have settled in Australia when nearing the end of your migrant travel facility and need to travel overseas before you have established substantial ties.
As above, if you remain in Australia beyond the 3 month validity period your permanent residence does not expire, only your ability to depart and then re-enter Australia as a permanent resident is affected.
A Resident Return visa can be granted to Australian permanent residents if they meet certain requirements.
You can apply for this visa while in Australia or from overseas.
- Applicant is Australian permanent resident, former permanent resident or former Australian citizen
- Valid passport
- Meet the residency requirement or alternatives
- last permanent resident visa was not cancelled/citizenship was not renounced or lost
If you have not spent two years in Australia within the last five, you may still be eligible for a Resident Return Visa. However, the Australian Department of Home Affairs will assess each application on a case by case basis and this can also affect the validity period of an RRV.
Reasons why an RRV application may be granted include:
- Being able to prove a compassionate and/or compelling reason why the residency requirement could not have been met
- Having personal ties to Australia
- Having employment or other business ties to Australia
- Having a partner or family member in possession of a valid Resident Return Visa
Ineligible Visa Holders
If the last visa you were in Australia on was one of the following business visas, you are not eligible for a Resident Return Visa:
- Business Owner visa (Subclasses 127 and 840)
- Senior Executive visa (Subclasses 128 and 841)
- State/Territory Sponsored Business Owner visa (Subclasses 129 and 842)
- State/Territory Sponsored Senior Executive visa (Subclasses 130 and 843)
- Investment-Linked visa (Subclasses 131 and 844)
- Business Talent visa (Subclass 132)
If you are unsure of whether you meet the above requirements, or believe you may have a compelling reason to be granted a Resident Return Visa, please contact us to discuss your circumstances further.