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The Ultimate Guide To Australian Resident Return Visas

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A Resident Return Visa is a permanent visa to reinstate a travel facility that can be granted in various circumstances to different groups of permanent residents and in some occasions, former Australian permanent residents. If you have been granted a permanent visa to Australia and you are not a citizen yet, or if you lived outside of Australia as a former permanent resident and wish to return to Australia, you will find this article helpful.

This visa is mainly applied for by non-citizen permanent residents of Australia who wish to temporarily leave the country beyond the initial five year travel facility allowed on any permanent visa. Only Australian citizens have the right to travel and live outside of Australia without restrictions. Otherwise, even if you have or had a permanent visa at some stage, you have to check your travel facility rights before departing Australia.

Who is eligible for a Resident Return Visa?

  • If you are the holder of a permanent resident visa for Australia, you will have two distinct rights. Firstly the right to remain and live in Australia permanently and secondly the right to travel and enter Australia for a period of 5 years from the grant of your permanent visa. If you pass this 5 years period (or about to reach it and) you are not an Australian citizen, you will have to obtain an RRV visa to allow you to travel and return to Australia.
  • If you were a permanent resident of Australia previously and your visa has expired, you will require an RRV to re-enter Australia.
  • If you were formerly an Australian citizen you will require an RRV if you either lost or renounced your citizenship.

If you have either an Authority to Return (ATR) or Return Endorsement (RE) document, you will not require a Resident Return Visa.

Subclasses of Resident Return visa

Subclass 155- RRV

You will be eligible to apply for this Subclass if any of the following circumstances apply to you:

You must meet the residence requirement or show sufficient ties to Australia.

  • The residence requirement: You must have spent two years in the last five years in Australia as either an Australian permanent resident or a citizen; or
  • If you do not meet this residency requirement, you must have substantial business, cultural, employment or personal ties of benefit to Australia, and:
  • If you are lodging your application while you are in Australia, you must show compelling reasons for any continuous absence from Australia of more than five years;
  • If are lodging your application while overseas, were a permanent resident or citizen when you last left Australia and can show compelling reasons for any continuous absence from Australia of more than five years;
  • If are lodging your application while overseas, you must have been a permanent resident or citizen in the last 10 years and can show compelling reasons for absence(s) over five years.

If you meet the residence requirement you should be granted a 5 years travel facility. If you do not meet residence requirement and can prove substantial ties for the benefit of Australia, then your travel facility will be for one year.

If you are the partner of a person who holds a Subclass 155 visa, or who has also applied for a Resident Return visa, you can apply for this visa if you satisfy the criteria for grant. You will then be granted a travel facility for one year or less.

Subclass 157- RRV

This is a less desirable Subclass in the RRV group but if you do not meet the requirements for Subclass 155, you may be able to possibly apply for a Subclass 157.

You might be able to be granted this visa if you:

  • have lawfully spent at least one day and less than 2 years in the past five years in Australia as a permanent resident or an Australian citizen; and
  • can show a compelling and compassionate reason for leaving Australia or, if you are outside Australia, for leaving when you did; and
  • If you spent more than three continuous months outside of Australia immediately before applying, you must show that you were absent for a compelling and compassionate reason, only.

A Subclass 157 only grant you a travel facility for 3 months from the day of grant.

Substantial ties of Resident Return visa

If you do not meet the residence requirement for a Subclass 155, you must establish that you have one or more of the following substantial ties to Australia to be granted the visa.

Business ties

You must:

  • have substantial ownership interests in an Australian business and
  • be personally involved at a senior level in the day-to-day operations and management of the business, and
  • show you are a benefit to Australia.

The business activity needs to:

  • be ongoing,
  • regular activity,
  • 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

Include a range of intellectual, artistic, sporting or religious activities pursuits and you need to provide proof your role in adding to Australia’s cultural life. This can include publications you have written, your membership of cultural associations, any media articles about you or proof of your performances.

Employment ties

You must show that

  • you are currently employed, or
  • have a formal offer of employment in Australia, or
  • are employed overseas by an Australian organisation, or
  • that your 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

Personal ties include substantial ones that could benefit Australia if you are, or have been, a participating member of the Australian community and economy.

For example, living in Australia for a long time or living overseas with an Australian citizen partner is taken into account. You can prove that you have personal assets or family who live in Australia if they are both substantial and of benefit to Australia.

Useful tips

  • Australian visas are more complex than what you may think. We recommend you seek legal advice before lodging an application.
  • All your family members who will also be travelling outside of Australia will also require their own RRV and separate applications must be made for each person.
  • You might not have to apply for RRV and maybe applying for Australian citizenship is a better option. Please contact us for more information.

About the authors

This article was written by Marial Daniel, a solicitor and a registered migration agent (MARN: 1575322) of Teleo Immigration Specialists.

Teleo has successfully represented thousands of applicants over the past 10 years, including complex matters, visa cancellations and review applications.

The director of Teleo Immigration Specialists, Dr Etienne Hugo (MARN: 0004435) has over 17 years of Australian immigration experience and is one of only 35 accredited specialists immigration lawyers in New South Wales. Etienne is admitted as a lawyer in NSW and also the High Court of Australia. He was awarded both his BLC and LLB degrees with distinction and subsequently completed a LLD (Doctor of Law degree) from the University of Pretoria. He obtained his Immigration Law certification from UTS with distinction. Dr Hugo is a Fellow of the Migration Institute of Australia and regularly presents papers on Immigration Law. He has also taught at ANU in the graduate diploma for Immigration since 2006.

If you wish to seek advice or apply for an Australian visa, please contact us on reception@teleo.com.au

 DISCLAIMER: Immigration law is complex and is subject to constant regulatory and policy change by the Department of Immigration. The information provided here may therefore be out-dated and no longer accurate. The information provided above is a general guide only – it is not tailored for your specific circumstances or immigration purposes and you must under no circumstances rely on this information for immigration planning or the lodgement of an application with the Australian government or related bodies. In order to ensure your eligibility is accurately assessed and to allow for tactical decision making that would best suit your desired immigration outcome, it is essential that you consult with a capable immigration advisor registered with the relevant Law Society and/or OMARA. We direct new client enquiries to schedule an initial consultation with our office – email: reception@teleo.com.au. During an initial consultation we have the opportunity to obtain a complete set of facts that will allow us to explore all the available options. Another reason we engage clients within the context of an initial consultation is to protect our firm from potential professional liability which may flow from providing a brief, unconsidered opinion. As a paying client you/ us have the benefit of professional indemnity insurance. Liability limited by a scheme approved under the Professional Standards Legislation.

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