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A permanent residency visa gives the holder the right to remain in Australia indefinitely. The visa also gives the holder the right to re-enter Australia for a number of years (usually 5 years) from the date the visa was granted. The right to re-enter is sometimes described as a “travel or return facility”.

Before the travel facility expires, the holder should apply for and obtain a “return visa” prior to departing Australia, otherwise they could:

  • Lose their permanent residency status (which may affect their eligibility to apply for and obtain Australian citizenship);
  • Experience difficulties and delays securing a “return visa” from outside Australia.

The two resident return visas available, which are both permanent visas, include:

  • Subclass 155, which is granted for a period of 5 years or 12 months.
  • Subclass 157, which is granted for a period of 3 months.

If the applicant has resided in Australia as a permanent resident for 2 years within the last 5 years prior to applying for the resident return visa, they will be granted a subclass 155 visa for a period of 5 years. If the applicant does not meet this permanent residence requirement, they may still be eligible for a ”return visa” for a shorter period of time if the following circumstances apply to them:

  • they can demonstrate substantial business, employment, family or cultural ties to Australia; or
  • they are the family member of a Resident Return visa holder.

Some applicants, especially those who have spent significant periods outside Australia and/or may have let their permanent residency lapse, may need to demonstrate compelling and/or compassionate circumstances to be granted a resident return visa.

The resident return visa may also be available to former permanent residents, whose last permanent visa was not cancelled, and to former Australian citizens who lost or renounced their citizenship.

A resident return visa applicant must also meet the character requirement.

How can we help

Our professional services include:

  • Assessing eligibility and determining the appropriate visa pathway and lodgement plan;
  • Drafting submissions in support of the application, especially in cases where there have been significant periods of absence from Australia;
  • Advising on evidence required to support the application, especially evidence supporting substantial ties to Australia or compelling and/or compassionate circumstances;
  • Drafting and lodging the application.

To discuss how we can assist you with advice, as well as in preparing and lodging your resident return visa application, please click here to contact Visa Lawyers Australia.