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The Resident Return Visa

The Resident Return visa (subclasses 155 and 157) is for current or former Australian permanent residents and former Australian citizens who want to travel overseas and return to Australia as permanent residents.

The Resident Return visa will let an individual keep or regain their status as an Australian permanent resident.

Only Australian citizens have an automatic right of entry to Australia. All non-citizens need a visa that allows them to enter and remain in Australia.

It allows an individual to travel overseas and return to Australia as a permanent resident.  An individual will need this visa if the travel period on their current permanent visa has expired or is about to expire.

Eligibility: 

An individual cannot apply for this visa if:

  • They were issued one of the following documents which still remains valid today:
    1. An Authority To Return (ATR) between 1 March 1976 and 30 October 1979, or
    2. A Return Endorsement (RE) between 1 November 1979 and 31 December 1986.

These documents should still be valid today if:

  • They have not been cancelled
  • They have not been ceased by the grant of another visa since 1 September 1994
  • They have returned to Australia within three years of each departure
  • They have not become an Australian Citizen.
  • They have been sent a notice regarding the possible cancellation of their most recent permanent visa under section 134 of the Act and no cancellation decision has yet been taken.
  • Their most recent permanent visa was cancelled under section 134 of the Act and the cancellation decision has not been set aside by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

An individual might be able to be granted this visa if they are:

  • An Australian permanent resident
  • A former Australian permanent resident whose last permanent visa was not cancelled
  • A former Australian citizen who lost or renounced their citizenship.

A ‘former Australian permanent resident’ includes anyone who was recognised as a permanent resident of Australia under the migration arrangements that applied at the time they were in Australia.

Subclass 155 Resident Return visa:

An individual might be able to be granted this visa if they:

  • Have spent a period totalling two years in the last five years in Australia as either an Australian permanent resident or citizen (the ‘residence requirement’).
  • Have not spent two of the last five years in Australia as a permanent resident or citizen, but can satisfy the processing officer that they have substantial business, cultural, employment or personal ties of benefit to Australia, and:
    1. Are lodging while in Australia and can show compelling reasons for any continuous absence from Australia of more than five years;
    2. Are lodging while overseas, were a permanent resident or citizen when they last departed Australia and can show compelling reasons for any continuous absence from Australia of more than five years;
    3. Are lodging while overseas, were a permanent resident or citizen in the last 10 years and can show compelling reasons for absence(s) over five years;
  • Have not spent two of the last five years in Australia as a permanent resident or citizen, but are the partner or dependent family member of a person who holds a subclass 155 visa, or who has also applied for a Resident Return visa and satisfies criteria for grant.

What does this visa allow for: 

  • The Resident Return visa lets an individual stay in Australia indefinitely as an Australian permanent resident.
  • It is a permanent visa with a travel facility that lets an individual travel to and from Australia for up to five years from the date it is granted. Once the travel facility expires they will need to apply for, and be granted, another permanent visa if they want to leave Australia and return as a permanent resident.

Requirements for substantial ties of benefit to Australia

Business ties: If an individual is claiming business ties with Australia, they will need to provide proof of the ties and how they are of benefit to Australia. They will need to show that they have substantial ownership interests in the business and are personally involved at a senior level in the day-to-day operations and management of the business. The business activity needs to be ongoing, regular activity that is commercial in nature, has an intention to make a profit and has a system of record keeping and management that substantiates the business activity claimed.

Cultural ties: There are a range of intellectual, artistic, sporting or religious pursuits which are not strictly of a business or employment nature but may be considered to be a cultural tie to Australia. In many cases it is likely that the reasons claimed as cultural ties would be consistent with the basis for the grant of their original permanent visa. If an individual is claiming cultural ties, they will need to provide proof their role is adding to Australia’s cultural life. This can include publications they have written, their membership of cultural associations, any media articles about them or proof of their performances.

Employment ties: To prove an individual has employment ties to Australia, they must show that they are currently employed, or have a formal offer of employment in Australia, or are employed overseas by an Australian organisation, or are able to show that their employment by a non-Australian organisation has a demonstrable benefit to Australia, for example, working as a representative of Australia for an international organisation.

Personal ties: Substantial personal ties may be of benefit to Australia if an individual is, or have been, a participating member of the Australian community and economy. Living in Australia for a substantial period of time or living overseas with an Australian citizen partner is taken into account. Proof of personal assets or family who live in Australia could also help to demonstrate personal ties if they are able to show they are both substantial and of benefit to Australia.

Subclass 157 Resident Return visa

An individual might be able to be granted this visa if they:

  • Have lawfully spent at least one day in the past five years in Australia
  • Have spent less than two years in the past five years in Australia
  • Have been a permanent resident or an Australian citizen for the entire period spent in Australia
  • Can show a compelling and compassionate reason for having to leave Australia or, if they are outside Australia, for leaving when they did.

If an individual has been living outside Australia for more than three continuous months immediately before applying, they must also show that they were absent for a compelling and compassionate reason.

Travel facility

If they have lived in Australia for at least two years of the past five years and are granted a Subclass 155 Resident Return visa it will have a five-year travel facility from the date of grant.

If they are granted a Subclass 155 Resident Return visa on the basis of their substantial ties of benefit to Australia, then their travel facility will be for a year from the date of the grant.

If they are granted a Subclass 155 Resident Return visa because they are a family member of a person who holds a Subclass 155, or who has also applied for Resident Return Visa and satisfies criteria for grant, then their travel facility will be for either a year or less than a year from date of grant.

If they are granted a Subclass 157 visa the travel facility will be for 3 months from the date of grant.

In addition to the above-mentioned conditions, there are other factors and criteria to be taken into consideration.

For more information and eligibility requirement please Contact us or complete the Assessment Form and email us.