The Former Resident Visa

The Former Resident visa (subclass 151) allows an individual to live in Australia as a permanent resident if they:

  • Spent most of their formative years in Australia as a permanent resident
  • Served in the Australian Defence Force before 19 January 1981.

This visa is a permanent visa.


An individual might be able to get this visa if they meet:

  • Either the ‘long residence’ requirements or the ‘defence service’ requirements
  • Health and character 

If they are in Australia when they apply, they must hold a current substantive visa or apply for this visa within 12 months of their substantive visa expiring. The last visa the individual held must not have been a Transit visa (subclass 771).

It is recommend that an individual should only apply for this visa if they believe they are likely to be successful. If their application is refused or withdrawn, they will not be refunded the cost of the visa application.

What this visa allows for:

The Former Resident visa allows an individual to stay in Australia indefinitely as an Australian permanent resident. It is a permanent visa with a travel facility that lets them 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. The individual can include their partner and dependent family members in the application if they meet the requirements.

An individual can apply for this visa when they are in or outside Australia:

Applying in Australia: If they apply in Australia, they must be in Australia when the visa is granted.

Applying outside Australia: If they apply outside Australia, they must be outside Australia when their visa is granted.

Long residence

To meet the long residence requirement for this visa the individual must:

  • Have spent nine years in Australia as a permanent resident before they turned 18 years of age
  • Be younger than 45 years of age
  • Have never been an Australian citizen
  • Have kept close business, cultural or personal ties with Australia during the period they have been living overseas.

Proof of their close business, cultural or personal ties with Australia could include:

  • Regular correspondence with relatives or friends in Australia
  • Frequent visits to Australia
  • Owning property in Australia
  • Active business interests.

Defence service

One of the following conditions must apply for the individual to meet the defence service requirement for this visa:

  • They must have completed at least three months of continuous service in the Australian Defence Force
  •  Served at least three months in the Australian Defence Force before 19 January 1981.
  • They must have been discharged from the Australian Defence Force before they completed three months of service after they became medically unfit because of that service.

Service in the Australian Defence Force means that the individual served in one of the following forces:

  • Military Forces of the Commonwealth under a notice served under section 26 of theNational Service Act 1951 as in force at any time before 26 November 1964
  • Permanent Forces before 19 January 1981. This includes serving as a member of the armed forces of a foreign country on secondment to or on duty with the Permanent Forces, if they were a permanent resident of Australia during their period of service.

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.