Resident return 155/157 visa – Visa requirements

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In order to apply for a Resident return visa, you must be either:

 

  1. A current Australian permanent residency visa holder
  2. A former Australian citizen who has lost or renounced Australian citizenship
  3. A former Australian permanent resident, other than a former Australian permanent resident whose most recent permanent visa was cancelled

 

The key eligibility requirements for the 155 and 157 Resident Return visas are outlined below:

 

  • 155 visa which is valid for 5 years – in the last 5 years that precedes the lodgement of your Resident Return Visa application, you have been in Australia as a permanent resident for at least 2 years out of the 5. You must satisfy this requirement to obtain a 155 Resident Return Visa that is valid for 5 years and there are no exemptions to satisfying this requirement

 

  • 155 visa which is valid for 1 year – you have been in Australia for at least 1 day in the last 5 years as the holder of a permanent residency visa and you have substantial, business, cultural, employment and/or personal ties to Australia which are of benefit to Australia

 

  • 155 visa which is valid for 1 year – since the grant of your last permanent residency visa, you have been absent from Australia for a period of 5 years or more and there are compelling reasons for your absence and you have substantial, business, cultural, employment and/or personal ties to Australia which are of benefit to Australia

 

  • 157 visa which is valid for 3 months – if you are outside of Australia, then you have been in Australia for at least 1 day in the last 5 years as the holder of a permanent residency visa, and you have compelling reasons that caused your last departure from Australia. Also, if you have been outside of Australia for more than three continuous months immediately before lodging your application, then you need to demonstrate compelling reasons for your current/recent absence from Australia. If you are in Australia and need to travel, then you need to demonstrate compelling and compassionate reasons for having to leave Australia

 

International travel with your initial permanent residency visa

 

Generally speaking, once you are granted an Australian permanent residency visa, this visa will allow you to travel in and out of Australia for a period of 5 years from the date of grant. This is referred to as your ‘international travel facility’. This does not mean that you are only allowed to lawfully remain in Australia for 5 years. As a permanent resident, you are allowed to lawfully remain in Australia indefinitely as a permanent resident as long as you arrive in Australia before your current permanent residency visa expires.

 

Resident return visa Ron

 

155 visa – 5 years visa

 

In order to obtain a 5 year 155 visa, you must live in Australia as a permanent resident for at least 2 years out of the 5 years that precedes the lodgement of your Resident return visa application.

 

Two years is defined as 730 days in total. You do not have to complete two consecutive years of residence in Australia. You can accumulate the required two years over the 5 year period that precedes the lodgement of your application.

 

You can only count the time that you have spent in Australia as a permanent resident or Australian citizen (i.e. you cannot count any time that you held a temporary visa or a bridging visa towards the 2 years). You can count both your date of arrival and departure from Australia, assuming that these dates are different days.

 

You must satisfy the above requirement in order to obtain a 155 Resident Return visa that is valid for 5 years. There are no exemptions that will get you around satisfying this requirement.

 

If you do satisfy this requirement, then you can apply for your Resident Return Visa online. You can lodge your application while you are inside of Australia, or outside of Australia. The process should be pretty straight forward, and the Department should be able to grant the visa within days or weeks of lodgement.

 

If you need to find out the number of days that you have been in Australia, then you can request this information from the Department by completing the Request for international movement records form and emailing or posting this form to the Department as per this form’s instructions.

 

155 visa – 1 year visa

 

If you are in Australia when you lodge your Resident return visa application, then you need to satisfy the following requirements:

 

  1. You have substantial, business, cultural, employment and/or personal ties to Australia which are of benefit to Australia
  2. You have not been absent from Australia for a continuous period of 5 years or more since the grant of your last permanent residency visa, or you will need to demonstrate compelling reasons for your absence

 

If you are outside of Australia when you lodge your Resident return visa application, then you need to satisfy the following requirements:

 

  1. Your current permanent residency visa is still valid, or the last time that you departed from Australia, you departed as a permanent residency visa holder or Australian citizen
  2. You have substantial, business, cultural, employment and/or personal ties to Australia which are of benefit to Australia
  3. You have not been absent from Australia for a continuous period of 5 years or more since you last departed from Australia as a permanent residency visa holder or Australian citizen, or you will need to demonstrate compelling reasons for your absence

 

If you are outside of Australia when you lodge your Resident return visa application, and when you last left Australia, you did not hold a permanent residency visa or Australian citizenship (i.e. last departed Australia as a temporary visa holder), then you need to satisfy the following requirements:

 

  1. Your were an Australian permanent residency visa holder or Australian citizen sometime in the last 10 years before the date of lodgement of your Resident return visa application
  2. You have substantial, business, cultural, employment and/or personal ties to Australia which are of benefit to Australia
  3. You have not been absent from Australia for a total period of 5 years or more since you last departed from Australia as a permanent residency visa holder or Australian citizen, or you will need to demonstrate compelling reasons for your absence

 

Documents checklist

 

You will need to upload clear scanned copies for all supporting documents. You do not need to provide certified or notarised copies unless the case officer specifically asks for this which is generally rare.

 

Generally speaking, you do not need to provide police clearances (unless you have any character issues such as prior criminal conviction/s) or complete a health examination for this visa application.

 

Depending on your application and circumstances, you will need to upload the following documents to your visa application (and also the visa applications for your family members if applicable):

 

155 visa – 5 years visa

 

  • Passport for visa applicant (generally speaking, you do not need to provide any other documents if you have lived in Australia for at least 2 years in the last 5 years before the lodgement of your Resident return visa application, which would entitle you to a 5 year visa)

 

155 visa – 1 year visa

 

  • Passport for visa applicant
  • Documents demonstrating your substantial ties with Australia, such as:

 

Relevant tie Supporting documents can include
Personal ties
  • Australian passports of family members who are living with the visa applicant
  • Marriage certificate if married with Australian citizen spouse
  • Birth certificates for Australian citizen children
  • School/university/other education enrolment evidence for your child or children’s education in Australia
  • Property/assets/land titles etc. demonstrating your asset ownership in Australia
  • Lease or property ownership evidence for current residence in Australia
Employment ties
  • Letter of appointment and/or employment contract
  • Payslips for current work in Australia
  • Tax records for current work in Australia
  • Payslips if assigned to work temporarily overseas by an Australian business entity
Business ties
  • Annual financial reports
  • Business transaction documents such as invoices, receipts etc.
  • Bank statements
  • Contracts obtained or awarded
  • Business, superannuation and/or personal records –e.g. payroll tax, PAYG summaries
Cultural ties
  • Publications
  • Newspaper articles
  • Programs from concerts, events, exhibitions etc., demonstrating your arts, sports or other cultural contributions to Australia

 

  • If you need to demonstrate compelling reasons for your absence from Australia for a period of 5 years or more, then relevant documents in relation to this requirement, such as:
    • Medical records to demonstrate your need to care for a family member outside of Australia
    • Court and/or legal documents to demonstrate that you have been involved in on-going legal affairs/disputes outside of Australia
    • Demonstrate that you have been living outside of Australia with your Australian citizen partner, and your Australian citizen child or children if applicable

 

  • We also suggest preparing your own statement in which you outline your ties to Australia (and compelling reasons for absence if applicable). You can refer the Department to relevant supporting documents which demonstrate the circumstances and claims outlined in your statement. This will help the Department understand your application, circumstances and documents, and may help avoid the situation where the Department is misunderstanding or misinterpreting your application and documents

 

157 visa – 3 month visa

 

  • If you are in Australia when you lodged your application, then documents demonstrating your compelling reasons to need to leave Australia. Possible examples can include:
    • Attending overseas funeral, wedding or other significant event for family or close friend
    • Temporarily leaving Australia to finalise overseas affairs such as property and assets sales before returning to Australia
    • Assisting family member or friend with medical treatment overseas

 

  • If you are outside of Australia when you lodged your application, then documents demonstrating that you have compelling reasons that caused your last departure from Australia. Also, if you have been outside of Australia for more than three continuous months immediately before making the application, then you also need to demonstrate compelling reasons for your current/recent absence from Australia as well. Possible examples can include:
    • Medical records to demonstrate your need to care for a family member outside of Australia
    • Court and/or legal documents to demonstrate that you have been involved in on-going legal affairs/disputes outside of Australia
    • Demonstrate that you have been living outside of Australia with your Australian citizen partner, and your Australian citizen child or children if applicable

 

  • We also suggest preparing your own statement in which you outline your compelling reasons. You can refer the Department to relevant supporting documents which demonstrate the circumstances and claims outlined in your statement. This will help the Department understand your application, circumstances and documents, and may help avoid the situation where the Department is misunderstanding or misinterpreting your application and documents

 

Substantial ties requirement

 

You can show substantial ties by having business, cultural, employment and/or personal ties. The Department’s policy does recognise that the longer that you have been away from Australia, the more difficult it may be for you to establish ‘substantial ties’. The Department’s policy guidelines stateIn general, it becomes increasingly difficult to demonstrate substantial ties of benefit over extended periods of absence. This is in part because the longer the period of absence the more difficult it is to continue to maintain ties of sufficient import to be considered ‘substantial’.

 

Generally speaking, if you were in Australia when you lodged your Resident Return visa, and you are settled in Australia on a long term and permanent basis, then your on-going residence and intention to stay in Australia should be sufficient for you to satisfy the requirements for a 1 year visa. Such an application should be straight forward for the Department to assess, as you just need to upload documents to demonstrate your (and your family if applicable) on-going residence and settlement in Australia such as your lease or property ownership certificate, invoices/receipts for household utility expenses, payslips for your work if applicable, bank statements etc.

 

Employment ties

 

If you have an employment opportunity in Australia, then you may be able to establish ‘substantial ties’ on this basis. The nature of the work is a relevant consideration (i.e. is it permanent, temporary or contract? Is it full-time, part-time or casual?). The Department’s policy guidelines state that ‘casual work would not normally be considered to be a substantial tie unless the applicant had been living in Australia for a significant period in the last 2 years’.

 

The Department can consider the following in assessing whether your employment ties are of benefit to Australia:

 

  1. Whether the role aligns with your qualifications and experience
  2. Whether the role is due to commence immediately
  3. Whether you can demonstrate an intention to stay in Australia for the long term by providing evidence such as a lease agreement, or enrolling your children in school

 

The Department may also need to consider the ‘genuineness’ of your claim of employment ties (to stop people from forming fraudulent employment ties in order to apply for a Resident Return visa).

 

 

 

Resident return visa Miriam

 

Personal ties

 

The Department’s policy states that allowing you to live with your family can be considered to be of benefit to Australia if there is evidence that you and your family have imminent plans to live in Australia permanently. The following examples are given:

 

  1. If your partner is an Australian citizen and you’re living with your partner outside of Australia
  2. If you’re living overseas with your family and your family includes children (or a child) who are under 18 and are Australian citizens, and you provide evidence to show that you have immediate plans to return to Australia
  3. If you are an Australian citizen and your child is an Australian permanent resident and you need to apply for a Resident Return Visa for your child

 

Other basis for personal ties that are mentioned in the Department’s policy include:

 

  1. If you have a history of long term residence in Australia prior to the last 5 years, particularly if you have spent your formative years in Australia or has spent a significant amount of time in Australia since first being granted a permanent visa. The longer that you’ve been in Australia since you were granted permanent residency, the more weight is placed on this factor
  2. Personal assets in Australia such as a family home or investment property. However, whether this personal tie is of benefit to Australia is dependent on whether it is occupied, for example, by a close family member or actively being rented
  3. Having family members (e.g. your partner and/or child or children) who are Australian citizens or permanent residents and these family members have substantial residence in Australia

 

Business ties

 

Under the Department’s policy, the applicant needs to ‘have substantial ownership interests in a business and be involved in the management of the business, however they do not need to have physical residence in Australia. This business should be an Australian business or a branch of a business which has connections with Australia’.

 

When the Department assesses whether your business ties are of benefit to Australia, the Department can consider the following:

 

  • Your business has led to the creation of employment opportunities in Australia, or for Australian citizens or permanent residents outside of Australia
  • Whether your business generates revenue in or for Australia
  • Size of the business
  • Whether your business enhances links with other countries
  • Whether your business has resulted in the transfer of Australian knowledge and/or technologies offshore and/or evidence of introducing new technologies into Australia.

 

If you have business ties to Australia (i.e. you have substantial ownership interests in a business), then you should have a think about the benefits and relationships that your business is delivering to Australia and Australians, and whether you can evidence these benefits and relationships.

 

Cultural ties

 

Below is the Department’s policy extract in relation to what constitutes cultural ties:

 

A substantial cultural tie of benefit to Australia may exist if the applicant’s cultural pursuits are conducted at a professional level or with a degree of public recognition. Some examples of persons who may have substantial cultural ties include, but are not limited to:

 

  • A person who is accepted as a member of a cultural community within Australia who is actively involved in traditional activities
  • A person involved in the Arts at a professional level
  • Members of religious communities in Australia or
  • Sports persons or professional support staff who are members of Australian sporting associations.

 

Evidence to support a claim of cultural ties of benefit to Australia may include:

 

  • Publications
  • Contracts
  • Evidence of membership of cultural associations
  • Newspaper articles
  • Programs from concerts, etc.

 

As a general observation it is likely that the reasons claimed as cultural ties would be consistent with the basis for the grant of their original permanent visa.

 

Compelling reasons for absence from Australia

 

If you have been absent from Australia for a continuous period of 5 years or more since the grant of your last permanent residency visa, then you will need to demonstrate ‘compelling reasons’ for your absence.

 

The Department’s policy guidelines do provide examples in relation to what may constitute ‘compelling reasons’. Examples include severe illness or death of an overseas family member or been caught up in a natural disaster, political uprising or other similar event.

 

It is not always easy to demonstrate compelling reasons. Generally speaking, ‘every day’ reasons for not being in Australia such as work or study commitments are generally not considered to be ‘compelling’.

 

Satisfying your case officer that there are ‘compelling reasons’ for your absence can be difficult, and whether your case officer accepts your reasons is discretionary. Hence if you want to retain the right to travel in and out of Australia as a permanent resident, then we would strongly suggest that you try and avoid this situation where you are absent from Australia for a continuous period of 5 years or more since the grant of your permanent residency visa.

 

157 visa – 3 month visa

 

When you lodge a Resident return visa application, the Department will automatically consider and assess your eligibility for both the 155 and 157 visas, so you do not need to lodge a separate 157 visa application.

 

If you do not have sufficient substantial ties with Australia, you may still be able to apply for the 157 visa because you do not need to demonstrate substantial ties with Australia for this visa.

 

If you are outside of Australia when you lodged your application, then you must have been in Australia for at least 1 day in the last 5 years as the holder of a permanent residency visa, and you have compelling reasons that caused your last departure from Australia. Also, if you have been outside of Australia for more than three continuous months immediately before making the application, then you also need to demonstrate compelling reasons for your current/recent absence.

 

If you are in Australia and need to travel, then you need to demonstrate compelling and compassionate reasons for having to leave Australia.

 

If you are granted this visa, then it is valid for a period of 3 months. This is a permanent residency visa, and you will be allowed to remain in Australia indefinitely if you return to Australia before your visa expires.

 

You can return to Australia during this 3 month period, form stronger ties with Australia and apply for the 1 year 155 visa on the basis of your residence in Australia (and work if applicable) as your substantial ties with Australia.

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Family members

 

With your first or initial permanent residency visa application, you probably included yourself and all your family members in the same visa application and form.

 

With a Resident Return visa application, each individual is required to lodge his or her own separate visa application, even for children under 18.

 

Each individual applicant and application will be assessed by the Department separately to determine if the applicant satisfies the requirements for the 5 years, 1 year or 3 month visa.

 

You do need to pay separate government lodgement fees for each individual family member and visa application.

 

If you are granted a Resident Return visa, then your partner and your dependant family members can also be granted a Resident Return visa that is valid for a maximum period of 1 year, and the period granted cannot exceed the time remaining on your current Resident Return visa. This is assuming that your family member is a current or former Australian permanent residency visa holder or citizen (like yourself), and your family member is not eligible for the 5 year 155 visa.

 

Permanent residency visa holders that are not eligible for Resident return visas

 

Please note that you are not eligible for a Resident Return visa if your most recent permanent visa was one of the following Business Skills visas and it has been cancelled, or is subject to a notice of intention to cancel from the Department:

 

  • Subclass 130 – State or Territory Sponsored Senior Executive visa
  • Subclass 843 – State or Territory Sponsored Senior Executive visa
  • Subclass 128 – Senior Executive visa
  • Subclass 841 – Senior Executive visa
  • Subclass 129 – State or Territory Sponsored Business Owner visa
  • Subclass 842 – State or Territory Sponsored Business Owner visa
  • Subclass 840 – Business Owner visa
  • Subclass 127 – Business Owner visa
  • Subclass 132 – Business Talent visa
  • Subclass 131 – Investment Linked visa
  • Subclass 884 – Investment Linked visa

 

Post visa lodgement and Department decision

 

Please see our new posts which covers post 155/157 visa lodgement issues such as:

 

 

Resident return visa application process

 

You can apply online for the 155/157 Resident Return visa by creating an Immiaccount with the Department’s website. Once you have created your account, use the New application link (top left), and then the Resident Return visa form link:

 

Resident return visa online application

 

If you have issues with lodging the online application, then you can post a paper form application instead if you wish, although the government fees will be higher for the paper form application (AUD $365.00 for online application, or AUD $445.00 for posting a paper form application).

 

Please see the Department’s PDF form and instructions for posting a Form 1085 155/157 visa application, and your relevant supporting documents, to the Department.

 

We would suggest lodging an online application if you can, since the government fees are lower and the online application form has a lot less questions then the PDF form. In terms of the Department’s processing time and post-lodgement handling of your application, these administrative steps should be similar for both online and posted applications following lodgement.

 

If you need to follow-up with the Department in relation to your 155 or 157 visa application, then you can by email or phone.

 

If you were outside of Australia when you lodged your 155/157 visa application, then you also need to be outside of Australia at the time that the Department decides your application.

 

If you were in Australia when you lodged your 155/157 visa application, then you can be in or outside of Australia at the time that the Department decides your application.

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Department’s current processing times (updated 22 June 2018)

 

The Department’s processing time for the 155/157 Resident Return visa increased significantly in around early 2018. The Department’s current processing times are approximately:

 

5 years 155 visa: 3-10 days from the date of lodgement

1 year 155 visa: 3-5 months or potentially longer depending on the complexity of your application

3 month 157 visa: 3-6 months or potentially longer depending on the complexity of your application

 

Please note that the above information is only providing estimated processing time information based on our recent experience, and actual processing times will vary for each individual application. Generally speaking, more complicated applications which may have issues satisfying the relevant legal requirements may take the Department longer to assess and decide.

 

However, we have also had a few instances where the Department has taken 4-5 months or longer to decide and approve straight forward 1 year 155 visa applications. Hence, the Department’s long processing time for your application does not necessarily mean that the Department has any issues with your application.

 

Please also see the Department’s website in relation to current processing time information:

 

Stream 75 per cent of applications processed 90 per cent of applications processed
155 5 days ​12 days
157 ​​Unavailable due to low volume of applications. ​​Unavailable due to low volume of applications.

 

Last updated 19 June 2018 (for month ending 31 May 2018)

 

Applications that do not meet the residence requirement will take longer to finalise than the published processing times advertised above. Processing timeframes for these applications can be up to 12 weeks.

 


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Wing

Hi Peng,

I have applied for a RRV on 9 March 2018 (15th week since then) and still waiting for the visa. This is my 2nd RRV application. I have provided compelling reason and relevant documents.
I have 2 kids and husband they are holding Australia passports. I have an own house in Australia currently letting out.
Do you think I have high chance to get a new RRV visa grant?

Thanks
WL

Iranthi

Hi, My PR 5 yr travel period expires in 18/11/2018. I have spent about 7 months in Aus and during this time I was employed. Due to personal reasons I had to return back to my home country. Need to apply for RRV. Could you please advise by when I should apply for the RRV? Thanks

Gavin Thomson

Hi I have a subclass 189 Visa since 29/05/2014, and from 12/06 require a RRV. I permanently moved to AUS in Feb 2017. I have applied online for this on 22/05/18, and it shows a Received Status.
I called up to discuss , but have been told up to 12 weeks for a decision, as I resided permanently in AUS for less than 2 years in last 5 years.
I am booked to travel with my son to visit family in 2 weeks time. Do I have any options?

Mayank Chitnis

Hi Mr Peng,
I applied for RRV 12 weeks ago and still my status shows received. I live overseas in Dubai and have last been in Australia 4 years ago living slightly less than two years and Pr expired. I have shown personal ties to Australia as my brother who is an Australian citizen working in the Army and only given a statement letter of the reason why I was absent for this long as my father was sick. Is is this compelling enough? I can’t contact the department by any way.
Regards, Mayank

Chai

Hi Peng, My husband applied RRV on 31/3 when he was in Australia and no news yet. He doesn’t fulfill the requirements of staying 2 years. But we moved here last year and stay permanently ever since. My Son goes to school here and daughter is born after moving here. The application process seems taking ages and three young children need the Father. He left Australia before RRV granted but now he needs to come back. Is border visa and bridging visa the option?is the success rate high?

Milan

Hi,
I have lived in Australia for 23 years and never left the country until 3 weeks ago due to compelling circumstances. I had to obtain a certificate of identity as I was from Yugoslavia which no longer exists. I applied for a resident r visa before I left. I had to return to aus as serbia do not recognise cert of identity and only allowed me 14 days to stay and bury my father. I returned to aus to get stopped at border force and given a 733 visa for 30 days and told to apply for a rrv. Help?

Meenakshi

Dear Peng,

My PR Visa expired on 08th March 2016. I was last in Australia on 03rd April 2016. I can only apply for RRV 157, because I don’t have enough time spent in Australia. If I cannot lodge my RRV 157 application by 03rd April 2021 (which is 5 years after I was last in Australia under the PR Visa), which other way could I apply to come back to Australia, if I can only apply, say, by 2024 or 2025?

Kind Regards
Meena

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