Resident return visa

It is important to distinguish between the right to reside in Australia and the right to travel to and enter Australia.

Resident return visa


It is important to distinguish between the right to reside in Australia and the right to travel to and enter Australia. Once your client has been granted a permanent visa he or she must be aware that the visa gives them the right to live in Australia indefinitely but only provides the right to travel in/out of Australia for a limited period of time.

Permanent visas are generally issued with a permission to travel to and enter Australia for five years.This time period begins at the date of grant rather than the date of first entry. This permission to reenter Australia on a visa is sometimes known as a ‘re-entry facility’ or a ‘return facility’.

After the five years the permission to travel and enter Australia will expire. Provided that the person is in Australia at that time their visa will still allow them to live in Australia for the rest of their lives.
However if they want to travel internationally they will need to apply for a Resident Return Visa (RRV), even if they have not travelled outside Australia since the original grant. This applies unless they have become Australian citizens, after which they will need to travel to Australia on an Australian passport


For applicants who meet the residence requirements (ie. 2 out of the last 5 years in Australia as the holder of a permanent visa) the five year RRV can generally be completed very quickly.
However in the case of an applicant with large absences from Australia wishing to claim substantial ties to Australia, the application may involve a detailed written submission to DIBP and comprehensive evidential documents. Substantial ties may consist of one or more personal, business, employment or cultural ties.
The more and stronger ties to Australia, the higher likelihood that the ties will be considered substantial. As from 15 February 2012, applicants who have applied for a subclass 155 visa and meet the criteria through substantial ties, will only be granted a resident return visa for 1 year.


Applicants who do not qualify for a Five-year Resident Return Visa,  may qualify for a Three-month Resident Return Visa  as the residence requirement is less.
To be eligible for this visa, the applicant must have been in Australia as a permanent resident less than two of the preceding five years and have a compassionate and compelling reasons for departing Australia and any absence from Australia of more than three months.
The return facility on this visa is only for three months from the date of grant.​
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