Resident return visa for Australia is a requirement for Australian permanent residents who want to travel freely without affecting their permanent visa status. Since holders of an Australian permanent visa have a limited time on their travel allowance, it’s important to know how to apply for a resident return visa and who can apply for one.

What Is an Australia Resident Return Visa- Subclass 155, 157?

An Australia Resident Return Visa is a type of visa that grants a travel facility to permanent visa holders. A travel facility allows persons, who have an Australia permanent visa, to travel in and out of the country as necessary.

Do I Need a Resident Return Visa for Australia?

You need this visa if:

  • You are an Australian permanent resident.
  • You are a former Australian permanent resident whose last visa is still valid.
  • You are a former Australian citizen who lost your citizenship.

You don’t need to apply for visas 155 and 157 if you are in Australia with a permanent visa and you don’t plan on traveling anywhere.

Resident Return Visa Eligibility

In order to qualify for this type of visa, you must meet one of the following:

  • You must have been living in Australia for at least 2 years during the last 5 years under a permanent residency.
  • Prove substantial ties with Australia, and prove that you were not absent for 5 continuous years since your permanent residence visa was issued. Substantial ties include:
    • Personal ties (family).
    • Business ties.
    • Employment ties.
    • Cultural ties.
  • Have substantial ties and prove that you were no absent for 5 continuous years since you were no longer an Australian citizen. Unless you have a very good reason, then you will be granted an RRV valid only for a year.
  • You are a family member of someone who already holds an RRV or has applied for an RRV, and meets the deadline for application alongside the requirements.
  • You must meet the criteria set for good conduct by the Immigration Office.
  • There mustn’t be an active cancellation process towards your business skill visa (subclass 132, 840-846, 188, 160-165, 888).
  • You must have not been refused a visa application before or have had a visa canceled.

If you are outside of Australia:

  • You must not have been away from Australia for 5 consecutive years or more prior to the date of application.
  • You must hold a permanent Australian visa or must have left Australia as a permanent resident or citizen.

Residency Requirement Calculation

Your period of residence is calculated like this:

  • Two years is counted as 730 days.
  • Five years are counted back from the date you lodged your resident return visa application.
  • Arrival and departure dates are also included in the day count. If you arrive and leave on the same day, that is counted as one single day.

How to Apply for a Resident Return Visa?

When you want to apply for a resident return visa (subclass 155, 157) follow these steps:

  1. Check eligibility.
  2. Gather the required documents.
  3. Pay the application fee.
  4. Apply for the visa.
  5. After you apply.

Check Eligibility

Make sure you check your visa eligibility before you apply for subclass 155, 157. You have to meet some eligibility criteria, as mentioned above, in order to receive a positive answer for this visa application.

Gather the Required Documents

For your visa application, you have to gather some important documents. This includes a valid passport, a national ID card, family certificates, and so on. If you get a new passport while your visa is in progress, then you must let the Department of Foreign Affairs know.

If you apply online, then you can update details through your ImmiAccount but, if you apply on paper, then you have to fill in the passport change form 929 and submit it to the Department. Any documents that are required should be in English or translated into English by a verified translator.

You might not need to submit any extra documents if:

  • You are an Australian permanent resident.
  • You have been living in Australia for at least two years during the last five years prior to applying for an RRV.
  • You haven’t changed your name or date of birth since your last visa was issued.
  • You meet the character requirements.

Pay the Application Fee

You must submit your application fee when you apply for your visa. Your visa won’t be processed until your fee has been paid. For online applications, you can do this as you go through the application process. For paper applications, you may be required to submit the fee the same day you submit your application-this varies from country to country.

Apply for the Resident Return Visa

Once all your documents are ready you can submit your application. There are two ways to apply for a resident return visa:

  • Online Application. You can apply online through the ImmiAccount. There you can select the visa type, submit the online application form, your scanned passport, and so on. You can also update your details easily through the ImmiAccount.
  • On Paper Application. You can also submit a paper visa application. You can do this if you are either in Australia or overseas. If you are overseas, you have to contact the closest Australian representative office to see how you can submit your visa application. Keep in mind, a paper application may require additional fees.

After You Apply

As soon as you submit your visa application the Department will begin the reviewing process. You can track the progress of your application via your ImmiAccount. If you want to travel overseas while your visa application is being reviewed, make sure you have a valid visa for your return to Australia. If you applied on paper for a resident return visa while you were out of Australia, then you must wait outside of Australia until your visa is finished.

In case your visa request is rejected, you will receive an email notification explaining why your visa has been denied and if you can apply for a review of the decision.

How Long Does It Take to Process a Resident Return Visa?

If everything is in order with your application, you will receive a resident return visa within 5 days.

However, a resident return visa can take anywhere from 83 days to three months to get processed if you:

  • Don’t fill the application form correctly.
  • Don’t submit all the documents.
  • You take longer in providing extra information.
  • It takes the Department of Foreign Affairs a long time to verify your information.

Resident Return Visa Cost

The cost for a resident return visa changes whether you apply online or on paper:

  • Resident return visa fee online applications: AUD405.
  • Resident return visa fee for paper applications: AUD485.

How Long Is a Resident Return Visa Valid For?

A resident return visa is valid for five years if you meet the residence requirement. The residence requirement means that you have lived in Australia for 2 years during the past five years as a permanent resident.

A resident return visa will be issued for a year if:

  • You do not meet the residency requirement, but you have substantial ties with Australia.
  • You applied as a member of a family unit who already has a previous RRV or has recently applied for an RRV.

If you fail all of these requirements but, have strong reasons why you need this visa you may be granted a resident return visa valid only for three months.

How Do I Renew My Resident Return Visa?

In order to renew your resident return visa, you have to apply for a new visa from the beginning. As mentioned previously, if you meet the requirements you may not be required to submit any additional documents at the time of the application. There are no limitations on how many times you can apply for a resident return visa.

What Is the Difference Between Visa 155 and 157?

The difference between visa 155 and 157 is that visa 157 is usually granted only for a short period of time, up to three months whereas visa 155 is granted for up to 5 years.