Resident Return Visa-Australia

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A Resident Return Visa (RRV) allows permanent residents of Australia to leave Australia and re-enter as a permanent resident. Migration visas normally have a 5 year re-entry facility attached. After this time, you need a Resident Return Visa to travel, if you are not an Australian citizen.

It is strongly recommended to have a valid passport and Resident Return Visa at all times, in case you need to travel urgently.

General rules

  • Eligibility is explained on the the DHA website [1]
  • If you have spent a total of 2 years in Australia as a permanent resident (730 days in the last 5 years) then as long as your details are on DHA systems, you can get a 5 year multiple entry RRV online.
  • You should not leave Australia without a valid RRV. If you do, there may be options to get a visa to allow you to return but it's a lot more difficult and in certain circumstances you could be stranded offshore.
  • Former Australian citizens may also qualify for an RRV
  • The application fee is A$410, per person (at June 2022). It is not possible to "combine" applications for a single fee.
  • Rules could be changed anytime. They would not revoke valid RRVs, but it could become a lot harder to get a new one.

Concessional 1 year RRV

  • If you don't have 2 years in Australia, but can demonstrate substantial ties of benefit to Australia you may be eligible to be granted the visa for one year.
  • If you're living in Australia you should have few problems to show substantial ties. Your job, home, medical insurance, children in school, relatives in Australia, etc. all count.
  • If you're living overseas it's more difficult. But you should normally be able to show substantial ties if you have ties such as:
    • Australian citizen spouse
    • Australian citizen dependent children
    • If employed by an Australian corporation and sent overseas.
    • Visits to Australia
    • Property held in Australia
    • Close family in Australia
    • Any other evidence that shows that Australia is your "home" and your absence is temporary.
  • "5 year absence rule" is applied differently if you apply onshore or offshore.
    • If offshore, and you have continually held a permanent visa, you are ok provided no more than 5 years has passed since most recent departure from Australia. For this purpose, short visits to Australia are ok.
    • If offshore, and you last left Australia as a temporary resident, you must have spent a total of 5 years in Australia in the last 10 years.
    • If onshore, you are ok as long as you did not spend a continuous period of 5 years or more outside Australia since your last permanent visa was granted.
  • If you don't meet the "5 year absence rule" then you need to show "compelling" reasons for your absence. These are a lot more difficult to demonstrate.

Family members

  • If you get a 1 year or 5 year RRV, your spouse and dependent children may also get an RRV with validity up to one year.
  • Of course, they may qualify for an RRV in their own right.
  • Be careful, if you are in different countries then DHA may not consider that there is a continuing spouse relationship.

3 month RRV

  • A 3 month RRV is also available for emergency situations. You apply for it at the same time as the 5 year RRV, and if refused the 5 year visa, they will look at your eligibility for the 3 month RRV.
  • Contrary to myth, the 3 month RRV is not a "consolation prize" if you don't get the 5 year RRV.
  • The requirements for the 3 month RRV are:
    • you've spent 1 day in the last 5 years in Australia;
    • you had compelling AND compassionate reasons for your departure from Australia
    • if absent for more than 3 months, you have compelling and compassionate reasons for your continued absence.
  • It is not an easy visa to obtain

Australian Citizenship - Spouses & Partners with Permanent Visas

  • If you are the spouse or partner of an Australian citizen and have a permanent visa, time outside Australia may count for Australian citizenship provided you maintain a "close and continuing association" with Australia.
  • Normally, under current policy, DIAC will expect a total of 1 year's residence in the 4 years prior to application, including at least 3 months as a permanent resident.
  • If the permanent visa was granted offshore, you must have validated it.
  • The citizenship process (ceremony, test, etc) can be done offshore.