Resident Return Visa (RRV) Australia: Your full guide

Aman Saxena
29.03.21
5 minute read

If you are a permanent resident of Australia and wish to travel overseas and back, it is likely you will need a Resident Return Visa.

Read on to learn more about what a Resident Return Visa is, eligibility requirements and what to expect as you go through the process. Don’t forget to check the Frequently Asked Questions for answers to common questions on the Resident Return Visa.

📝 Table of contents

🚦Each person’s immigration journey is unique so it is best to consult an immigration specialist or professional for advice on your particular needs. The Australian Department of Home Affairs website is another genuine source for up to date information on Australian immigration. This article should not be taken as professional advice for your immigration to Australia.

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✈What is a Resident Return Visa?

A Resident Return Visa lets permanent residents of Australia travel in and out of the country until its expiry. A Resident Return Visa is required for any travel outside Australia after the first 5 years of your permanent residency is complete.

If you are a permanent resident but not intending to travel outside of Australia, you do not need a Resident Return Visa.

If you’re outside of Australia and your visa travel facility expires, you can not return to Australia as a permanent resident and will first require a Resident Return Visa.

A Resident Return Visa can only be applied for and renewed individually. Family members can not be added to another’s application and instead need their own. Including children and babies.

You can apply for a Resident Return Visa if you are outside Australia or if you are in the country.

The visa is digitally linked to your passport as an e-visa, and you will not be receiving a physical label for it. Instead it can be pulled up by Australian immigration authorities when you are at the airport based on your passport number.¹

✅ Eligibility for a Resident Return Visa

First, to be eligible for a Resident Return Visa, you must be either²:

  • A current permanent resident of Australia
  • A former Australian citizen who renounced or lost their citizenship
  • A former permanent resident of Australia with a permanent visa that wasn’t cancelled

Next, you have to meet the residency requirements of either:

  • Having lived in Australia for at least 730 days (2 years) of the last 5 years as a permanent visa OR
  • Ability to show substantial ties that benefit Australia

Substantial ties is defined by the Department of Home Affairs as³:

  • Business ties such as company reports, business transactions, contracts with your signature, partnership agreements or records
  • Cultural ties like evidence that you benefit Australian society through press or media of your art or cultural performances, publications, associations or memberships in Australia.
  • Employment ties through employment contracts or employment identification
  • Personal ties showing residence in Australia or having an Australian citizen as a partner or child who is a minor through utility bills, marriage certificates, school reports from an Australian school or birth certificates

There are no age restrictions to be eligible for a Resident Return Visa. You however may not be granted a Resident Return Visa if you don’t meet the character requirement or have had a visa cancelled or refused by Australian authorities in the past.

💵 How much does a Resident Return Visa for Australia cost?

A Resident Return Visa costs A$405 each time for each applicant if you apply online. It is A$485 each time for each applicant if you apply using a paper application. ⁴

You can use the Department of Home Affairs’ Visa Pricing Estimator to calculate your visa costs. Keep in mind that this does not include additional circumstantial costs that may be applied when there is a need for a health check, police verification or biometrics.

⏰ How long is a resident return visa valid for?

That depends on how long you have lived in Australia in the past 5 years⁵.

If you meet the residency requirements as a permanent resident, are a former Australian citizen or a former permanent resident, then you may be given a 5 year travel Resident Return Visa.

If you’ve lived for less than 730 days in Australia within the last 5 years as a current or former permanent resident, for a former citizen, you may only be given a Resident Return Visa for 12 months. You may need to show evidence of substantial ties however.

There may be additional unique circumstances where you may be granted a Resident Return Visa for 3 or 12 months by the Department of Home Affairs. It is best to check with them if you qualify.

Keep in mind that you will need to stay on top of when your Resident Return Visa expires, as you will not be alerted or notified when it has lapsed. You can do so by checking your visa conditions on the Visa Entitlement Verification Online, VEVO, system.

💻 How do I renew my resident return visa?

You will need to apply for a Resident Return Visa new every time after it has expired.

If you are an existing permanent resident of Australia, have spent at least 2 of the past 5 years as a resident of Australia and your name and date of birth have not changed since your last visa, you may be granted a Resident Return Visa automatically.

If this is your first time applying, here is a step by step guide on applying for a Resident Return Visa online:

Step 1: Ensure you have a valid passport and scan the pages in color that show your photo, name, details and passport issue and expiry dates. At this point also gather any documents that support evidence of substantial ties to Australia if necessary.

Step 2: Apply online using your existing ImmiAccount or sign up for it by creating a new account. You can also apply by paper application by using the Form 1085 and mailing it to the address given.

Step 3: You can create applications for each family member and attach the respective documents to each application.

Step 4: Make the payment for each application. Your application will not be processed until the visa charge is paid.

Step 5: Submit the application.

You will be notified by the Department of Home Affairs if your Resident Return Visa is granted or refused. You will not receive any refunds for your application if it is refused.

You can apply for as many Resident Return Visas as you need as there is no cap on the number that can be granted to you as long as you are eligible during the time⁶.

⌛ Resident return visa processing time

About 90% of Resident Return Visa applications are processed within 3-4 months. But the Department of Home Affairs has highlighted that if you meet the residency requirements and your application is properly completed, you could have an answer within 5 working days from submission.

Inaccurate information, incomplete applications or non-payment of fee can prolong a response or rejection of the application.⁷

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🔎 Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to renew my Australian permanent residency visa?

A Permanent Residency visa in Australia allows for indefinite stay in Australia. However, after the first 5 years of your permanent residency your ability to travel in and out of the country becomes restricted. At that point you can apply for a Resident Return Visa which can be granted for another 5 years or begin the process for Australian citizenship.⁸

What happens if my permanent resident card expires?

A permanent resident can stay in Australia indefinitely, but after the first 5 years your ability to travel on it will expire. You will have to either apply for a Resident Return Visa or for Australian citizenship.⁹

Can I renew my Australian visa before it expires?

This will depend on the nature of your Australian visa. It is suggested to renew any visa that you may be using or will use in the near future before the expiration date. However, check the details of your particular visa on VEVO and speak to an immigration specialist for any assistance.


Sources
  1. Resident Return Visa
  2. Eligibility
  3. Substantial ties
  4. RRV Cost
  5. Validity
  6. Applying for an RRV
  7. Processing time
  8. Permanent resident
  9. Travel facility on permanent resident visas

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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