Resident Return visa (subclasses 155 and 157)

Features

This visa is for:

  • current or former Australian permanent residents
  • former Australian citizens.

It allows you to travel overseas and return to Australia as a permanent resident.  You need this visa if the travel period on your current permanent visa has expired or is about to expire.

Requirements

You might be able to get this visa if:

  • you are a current or former Australian permanent resident, or a former Australian citizen.

About this visa

The Resident Return visa (subclasses 155 and 157) is for current or former Australian permanent residents and former Australian citizens who want to travel overseas and return to Australia as permanent residents.

The Resident Return visa will let you keep or regain your status as an Australian permanent resident.

Only Australian citizens have an automatic right of entry to Australia. All non-citizens need a visa that allows them to enter and remain in Australia.

What this visa lets you do

The Resident Return visa lets you stay in Australia indefinitely as an Australian permanent resident. It is a permanent visa with a travel facility that lets you travel to and from Australia for up to five years from the date it is granted. Once the travel facility expires you will need to apply for, and be granted, another permanent visa if you want to leave Australia and return as a permanent resident.

For more information about being an Australian permanent resident, including eligibility for government services and benefits, refer to Australian permanent resident.

Before you apply

Your passport

If you are granted a visa, it will be linked to your passport. If you get a new passport before your visa ends, you should let us know to have your visa linked to your new passport.

You might be able to update your passport details using ImmiAccount.

Cost

The visa application charges are listed in Fees and charges.

Other costs

Generally there will be no additional costs associated with this visa, but if any additional costs are incurred, you are responsible for them.

Visa applicants

This information tells you what you need to do to apply for a Resident Return visa (subclass 155 and 157).

You can apply from in or outside Australia. If this visa is granted, any time that is left on your current visa will be lost.

Who could get this visa

You cannot apply for this visa if:

  • You were issued one of the following documents which still remains valid today:
    • an Authority To Return (ATR) between 1 March 1976 and 30 October 1979, or
    • a Return Endorsement (RE) between 1 November 1979 and 31 December 1986.

       These documents should still be valid today if:

    • they have not been cancelled
    • they have not been ceased by the grant of another visa since 1 September 1994 
    • you have returned to Australia within three years of each departure
    • you have not become an Australian Citizen.
  • You have been sent a notice regarding the possible cancellation of your most recent permanent visa under section 134 of the Act and no cancellation decision has yet been taken.
  • Your most recent permanent visa was cancelled under section 134 of the Act and the cancellation decision has not been set aside by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

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

  • an Australian permanent resident
  • a former Australian permanent resident whose last permanent visa was not cancelled
  • a former Australian citizen who lost or renounced your citizenship.

A 'former Australian permanent resident' includes anyone who was recognised as a permanent resident of Australia under the migration arrangements that applied at the time they were in Australia.

Subclass 155 Resident Return visa

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

  • have spent a period totalling two years in the last five years in Australia as either an Australian permanent resident or citizen (the 'residence requirement').
  • have not spent two of the last five years in Australia as a permanent resident or citizen, but can satisfy the processing officer that you have substantial business, cultural, employment or personal ties of benefit to Australia, and:
    • are lodging while in Australia and can show compelling reasons for any continuous absence from Australia of more than five years;
    • are lodging while overseas, were a permanent resident or citizen when you last departed Australia and can show compelling reasons for any continuous absence from Australia of more than five years;
    • are lodging while overseas, were a permanent resident or citizen in the last 10 years and can show compelling reasons for absence(s) over five years;
  • have not spent two of the last five years in Australia as a permanent resident or citizen, but are the partner or dependent family member of a person who holds a subclass 155 visa, or who has also applied for a Resident Return visa and satisfies criteria for grant.

Requirements for substantial ties of benefit to Australia

Business ties: If you are claiming business ties with Australia, you will need to provide proof of the ties and how they are of benefit to Australia. You will need to show that you have substantial ownership interests in the business and are personally involved at a senior level in the day-to-day operations and management of the business. The business activity needs to be ongoing, regular activity that is 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: There are a range of intellectual, artistic, sporting or religious pursuits which are not strictly of a business or employment nature but may be considered to be a cultural tie to Australia. In many cases it is likely that the reasons claimed as cultural ties would be consistent with the basis for the grant of your original permanent visa. If you are claiming cultural ties, you will need to provide proof your role is 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: To prove you have employment ties to Australia, 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 are able to show 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: Substantial personal ties may be of benefit to Australia if you are, or have been, a participating member of the Australian community and economy. Living in Australia for a substantial period of time or living overseas with an Australian citizen partner is taken into account. Proof of personal assets or family who live in Australia could also help to demonstrate personal ties if you are able to show they are both substantial and of benefit to Australia.

Subclass 157 Resident Return visa

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

  • have lawfully spent at least one day in the past five years in Australia
  • have spent less than two years in the past five years in Australia
  • have been a permanent resident or an Australian citizen for the entire period spent in Australia
  • can show a compelling and compassionate reason for having to leave Australia or, if you are outside Australia, for leaving when you did

If you have been living outside Australia for more than three continuous months immediately before applying, you must also show that you were absent for a compelling and compassionate reason.

Travel facility

If you have lived in Australia for at least two years of the past five years and are granted a Subclass 155 Resident Return visa it will have a five year travel facility from date of grant.

If you are granted a Subclass 155 Resident Return visa on the basis of your substantial ties of benefit to Australia, then your travel facility will be for a year from the date of the grant.

If you are granted a Subclass 155 Resident Return visa because you are a family member of a person who holds a Subclass 155, or who has also applied for Resident Return Visa and satisfies criteria for grant, then your travel facility will be for either a year or less than a year from date of grant.

If you are granted a Subclass 157 visa the travel facility will be for 3 months from date of grant.

How to apply

The following information tells you how to apply for a Resident Return visa. You can be inside or outside of Australia when you lodge your application. If you are inside Australia when you apply or you lodge your application online, you can be in or outside Australia when we decide your application. If you are outside Australia when you apply and you use a paper application form you will need to be outside Australia when we decide your application or we cannot grant you this visa.

Prepare your documents

You need to provide documents to prove the claims you make in the application. The documents are listed in the Document checklist.

Some documents could take some time to obtain. You should have them ready when you lodge the application to reduce any delays in processing.

Lodge your application online

Australian permanent residents can apply for this visa online at:

You must provide all relevant documents and pay the visa application charge by credit card when you apply.

Not all applicants are able to apply online. If you are one of these clients, you will receive a message advising you to contact the department.

Lodge your application by post or in person

Applying in Australia: If you are in Australia, and cannot apply online you can lodge an oral application over the telephone or at any of our offices, or you can use the following form:

  • Form 1085 Application for a Resident Return visa (295 kB PDF)

You must provide all relevant documents and pay the visa application charge when you apply.

Applying outside Australia: If you are outside Australia, and cannot apply online you can use the following form:

  • Form 1085 Application for a Resident Return visa (295 kB PDF)

Contact one of the immigration offices outside Australia for information about:

  • where and how to lodge your application and supporting documents
  • hours of operation for counter and telephone services
  • website addresses.

You can pay by credit card, bank cheque or money order made payable to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

More information

There is more information to help you prepare your application, such as certifying and translating documents into English, communicating with us, using a migration agent, authorising another person to receive information from us, and receiving assistance with your application.

After you have applied

After you have lodged your application and documents, we will let you know that we have received your information.

You can track and manage your application using ImmiAccount.

Note: If you submitted a paper application you can import your application into ImmiAccount.

Wait for a decision

We have visa processing times for each visa.

Your application could take longer if you need character checks, if you need to provide more information, or if your application is incomplete.

Outside Australia:
If you apply for this visa from outside Australia, do not make arrangements to travel to Australia until you are advised in writing that you have been granted a visa. Wait for a decision from us before you leave your job, sell your home or book your travel.

In Australia:
If you apply for this visa in Australia, you could be eligible for a Bridging visa that allows you to stay in the country lawfully while your application is processed. If you are given a Bridging visa A, you can apply for a Bridging visa B (BVB) to travel outside Australia while you wait for a decision.

Provide more information

You can provide more information to us, at any time until a decision is made on the application. If you want to correct information you provided, use:

We could also ask you for more information. You will have to respond by a set date. After that date, we can make a decision about your application using the information that we have.

You might be able to provide additional information, including Form 1023, using ImmiAccount.

If another person gives us information that could result in you being refused a visa, we will usually give you the opportunity to comment on the information.

You might also be interviewed. If you are asked to attend an interview in person, bring your passport or other identification and any requested documents to the interview.

Report changes in circumstances

Tell us if you get a new passport.

You can use the following form:

You might be able to update your address and passport details using ImmiAccount.

If you do not provide us with the details of any new passport issued to you, you could experience significant delays at the airport and may be denied permission to board your plane.

Withdrawing your application

You can withdraw the application at any time before we make a decision about it. To do this, send us a letter or email to ask for the withdrawal. Your request must include your full name and date of birth. You should also include the number we gave you when you applied, if you know it – this could be a file reference number, client ID, or a Transaction Reference Number.

If you are 18 years of age or older, you must sign the letter of withdrawal or send a separate email or letter.

Visa decision

If the visa is granted, we will let you know:

  • when you can use the visa
  • the visa grant number
  • any conditions attached to the visa.

You will not have a visa label placed in your passport.

If the visa is not granted, we will let you know:

  • why the visa was refused
  • your review rights (if any).
  • the time limit for lodging an appeal.

Document checklist

You must provide documents to support your application for this visa. Use Resident Return visa (subclasses 155 and 157) document checklist ​​ to make sure your application is complete.

Visa holders

This information is for people who have already been granted a Resident Return visa (subclasses 155 and 157). It explains your rights and obligations.

You can use Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) for free to check your visa details and entitlements.

How long your visa lasts

A Resident Return visa can have a travel facility that is valid for up to five years from the date it is granted. When your visa is granted we will tell you how long your travel facility lasts.

What this visa lets you do

This visa lets you live in Australia indefinitely. While the travel facility is valid, you can leave and enter Australia as many times as you want.

Resident Return visa labels

You do not need a Resident Return visa label or stamp in your passport to enter Australia, but other countries might require an Australian visa label or stamp in your passport as proof of your right to return to Australia.

You can get a visa label by completing:

  • Form 1405 Visa label request and payment (83 kB PDF)

You can lodge this form by post at one of our Australian offices or an immigration office outside Australia.

Your passport

If you get a new passport you should let us know so we can link it to your Resident Return visa to it.

You can apply to have your visa evidenced at one of our Australian offices or an immigration office outside Australia.

If you are lodging a paper application you can complete:

Report changes in circumstances

Tell us if you get a new passport.

You can use the following form:

You might be able to update your address and passport details using ImmiAccount.

Estimate the cost of your visa

Will you be lodging your application online?
* Price will be displayed in Australian dollars unless changed.
The Visa Pricing Estimator requires you to answer the questions as accurately as possible to provide you with an estimate for lodging a visa application. The estimator does not include the second instalment of the visa application charge which is payable for some visas. Please note this is an estimate for a visa application, if you have already lodged your application and you want to change/add applicants please refer to the Visa Pricing Table. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection Visa Pricing Estimator will give you an estimate of the charges you may need to pay to lodge a visa application. This is paid after you have made your application but before the visa can be granted. Read the department's full disclaimer. The Commonwealth of Australia does not guarantee the accuracy, currency or completeness of any material in the Visa Pricing Estimator.
Last modified Saturday 23 August 2014

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