Resident Return Visas

30 August 2016

Only Australian citizens have automatic right of entry into Australia. That is, all non-Australian citizens require a visa to lawfully enter and remain in Australia. The Resident Return Visa (RRV) is a permanent visa for current and former Australian permanent residents. It allows you to maintain or regain your Australian permanent resident status.

As an Australian permanent resident, once the travel facility on your visa expires, you will need to obtain a RRV in order to continue to travel to and from Australia.

The duration of the visa granted is dependent on residence requirements. To obtain a RRV Subclass 155 for five years, you must have lived in Australia as a permanent resident for at least two of the last five years. If you do not meet this requirement, you may be eligible for a one year visa if you can demonstrate substantial business, cultural, employment or personal ties which are of benefit to Australia.

If you do not meet the requirements of the Subclass 155 visa, you may be eligible for the RRV Subclass 157, which can be granted for three months. To be eligible for the Subclass 157 visa, you must:

  • Have spent at least one day in the last five years lawfully in Australia;
  • Have spent less than two years lawfully in the last five years in Australia;
  • Have been a permanent resident or an Australian citizen for the entire period spent in Australia;
  • Provide evidence that there was a compelling and compassionate reason for your departure;
  • If you have been outside Australia for more than three continuous months immediately before applying, you must also show there was a compelling and compassionate reason for your absence.

RRV is a great option for New Zealand citizens who visited Australia before 1 September 1994. Before this date, all New Zealand citizens were automatically granted permanent residency upon arrival in Australia. After this date, all New Zealand citizens entering Australia are automatically granted a temporary Special Category visa Subclass 444.

All New Zealand citizens who entered Australia prior to 1 September 1994, may be considered as former Australian permanent residents. Thus, they may be eligible to apply for a Resident Return visa.

If you need help understanding what you may be eligible for or need help with making an application, please contact our team on 07 5526 6869 or