As an Australian permanent resident, you have the right to remain in Australia indefinitely with full work and study rights.
What many people do not realise, however, is that a permanent residency visa comes with an initial five-year travel facility.
You can exit and re-enter Australia as many times as you wish during this period.
At the end of this validity period, you remain a permanent resident and can stay in the country; however, you will no longer be able to leave and return freely unless you become an Australian citizen or apply for a new travel facility.
Having Australian PR does not provide an automatic right to return to the country from overseas in the same way that Australian citizenship does.
To renew the travel facility, you must apply for what’s known as a resident return visa (RRV).
Generally, you must be:
The 155 RRV can be issued for one year or five years. The travel validity period granted depends on your individual circumstances.
In order to be eligible for a five-year RRV, you’ll need to have lived in Australia for at least two years (730 days total) out of the last five on a permanent visa.
The two years do not need to have been consecutive, but you cannot count time on a bridging visa or temporary visa towards this.
If you do not meet the criteria for a five-year RRV, but can demonstrate substantial ties to the country, you may be eligible for the one-year travel facility.
Applications are judged on a case-by-case basis, but ‘substantial ties’ may include family, business, cultural and employment links.
You may need to produce a detailed statement which outlines these ties and explains the reasons you were not living in Australia during this period. You would also need to provide evidence of your claimed ‘ties’, which must be shown to be of benefit to Australia. If your RRV application is managed by a Registered Migration Agent, they will help you to prepare this.
In some cases, people who do not meet the strict requirements of the 155 visa may be eligible for a 157 resident return visa.
You may be granted a three-month 157 visa if you were in Australia for at least one day within the five-year period that your initial PR visa was valid for. You must be able to provide compelling and compassionate reasons for wanting to depart Australia or, if outside Australia, for your most recent departure.
A three-month visa may be granted if, for example, you left Australia shortly after your permanent residency was granted to care for a sick relative and did not have time establish ties before leaving.
If you became an Australian permanent resident before 1987 and left the country between 1 March 1976 and 31 December 1986, you may have had your passport stamped with an ‘Authority to Return’ or a ‘Return Endorsement’.
These are not considered visas but allow a person to maintain their status as a PR so long as they enter Australia at least once every 3 years. If this is the case, you may not require an RRV to return to Australia. If not, you are no longer a PR and will need an RRV.
The usual health and character requirements do not apply to RRV applications. However, the application form does have questions relating to character and, depending on the answers provided, applicants may be required to provide police clearances and applications may be refused on character grounds.
Both the 155 and 157 are Australian permanent residency visas. You’ll be entitled to:
To determine your eligibility for an RRV, please contact True Blue Migration Services today.
Family members need to apply for RRVs separately and an application charge will apply to each individual.
If you apply for your resident return visa onshore and receive a refusal, you may be able to have the decision reviewed by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
Applications made offshore do not usually come with review rights; however, if you have a close family member living in Australia as a citizen or permanent resident, they may be able to request a review of the decision.
If you do not leave Australia, you can continue living here indefinitely with permanent residency status.
If you want to travel outside of Australia and re-enter once your travel facility has ended, you will need to apply for another resident return visa. We advise doing this before you leave the country, although you can apply offshore if necessary.