How does a Resident Return visa (RRV) work? A permanent visa grant gives the holder the right to settle in Australia permanently. This includes the permission to depart and re-enter Australia within five years from the date of the visa grant.
Within the five-year period, the holder can choose to apply for Australian citizenship (if eligible), or continue to retain their original nationality while living in Australia with a PR. If the holder chooses the latter, they must renew their travel facility after five years to be able to return to Australia after international travels. Only Australian citizens enjoy the automatic right of entry into Australia.
Some permanent residents fail to realise that the travel validity of the permanent visa expires after five years. Often, permanent residents are not sufficiently informed about the need to apply for this type of visa. This article discusses things you need to know about Resident Return Visas.
How Does a Resident Return Visa Work?
Permanent residents living in Australia whose travel facility on their permanent visa expired must apply for the Resident Return visa. While permanent visa holders can remain in Australia indefinitely, the travel facility of their visa expires after five years. Therefore, should they plan to travel internationally after this period, the RRV ensures that they have a right of re-entry to Australia.
An RRV can also be granted to holders of a permanent resident visa who have been living outside of Australia for a longer period of time if there are compelling reasons for their absence. By applying for this visa, they acquire the chance to return to Australia and keep their status as Australian permanent residents.
A holder of the Resident Return visa may travel freely to and from Australia for up to another five years. The RRV holder remains an Australia permanent resident with the same rights as before; the visa merely renews the permission to travel.
When the travel facility of the RRV expires, you can apply for a new one. One must note that there is no limitation on how often you can consecutively apply for a Resident Return Visa.
Requirements and Conditions for the Visa
An applicant can apply for this visa while in or outside Australia. Generally, the requirements include:
- The applicant is an Australian permanent resident, former Australian permanent resident or former Australian citizen,
- Having a valid passport,
- Fulfilling residency requirements or alternatives (substantial ties), and
- The last permanent visa was not cancelled or Australian citizenship was not renounced or lost.
Applicants who meet the residency requirement may be granted a Resident Return visa for five years, whereas applicants who demonstrate substantial ties or have compelling and compassionate reasons for their absence may be granted this visa with a validity of up to 12 months.
The Residency Requirement
To meet the residency requirement, you must have lived in Australia for at least two out of the last five years. These two years do not have to be consecutive. However, it is crucial to note that in calculating the residency requirement, you can only count the time you spent in Australia as a permanent visa holder.
You cannot take into consideration any time you have held a temporary visa or bridging visa towards the two years. In addition, you must have been physically present in Australia for at least 730 days in the five-year period prior to the day you apply for the Resident Return visa.
What If I Don’t Meet the Residency Requirement?
Failing to meet the residency requirement does not automatically mean ineligibility. There are alternatives or other factors taken into consideration when determining eligibility for this visa. These alternatives are also known as the substantial ties requirement.
For example, if you had compelling reasons for your absence, like severe illness of a family member overseas or other obligations beyond your control, you may still qualify for the Resident Return visa.
In addition, an applicant who demonstrates substantial ties to Australia which are of benefit to the country may also be granted a Resident Return visa. The number of ways you can demonstrate your connection to Australia include showing:
1. Personal ties
Substantial personal ties include being 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.
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. Substantial personal ties to Australia also include spending your childhood in the country, studying at an Australian school or tertiary institution, and regarding Australia as your home.
2. Employment ties
To prove you have employment ties to Australia, you must show that you are currently employed by an Australian organisation in Australia or overseas; you have a formal offer of employment by an Australian business; or your employment by a non-Australian organisation has a demonstrable benefit to Australia (for instance, working as a representative of Australia for an international organisation).
3. Business ties
Business ties with Australia include showing that you have substantial ownership interests in an Australian business (or a business connected with Australia), and are personally involved in the management of the business.
The business activity needs to be ongoing, a regular activity that is commercial in nature, with an intention to make a profit. The business must have a system of record keeping and management that substantiates the business activity claimed.
4. Cultural ties
Cultural ties mean involvement in certain cultural activities and public recognition. An applicant who claims to have cultural ties needs to provide proof that the role adds to Australia’s cultural life. This can include publications they have written, their membership in cultural associations, any media articles about them or proof of their performances.
Other Concerns Regarding This Visa
- Age Requirement. There is no age requirement for RRV applicants.
- Character Requirement. You must not have a criminal record or history.
- Family members. Family members who qualify for this visa must apply separately. They cannot be included in your application as secondary applicants.
The Importance of Seeking Legal Advice
This article provides general advice on applying for this visa. Situations vary for each applicant. Thus, we highly advise staying updated on the Department of Home Affairs’ (DHA) latest announcements and seeking legal assistance.
JB Solicitors has a leading team of expert immigration lawyers that can help with your case. We provide legal services such as legal representation and legal advice. We always ensure that our clients’ legal matters are resolved.
Do you have any more enquiries? Contact us today.