Return of the prodigal resident: resident return visas subclass 155

Publish Date: Sep 05, 2011

Are you a current or former Australian permanent resident whose travel validity period of your permanent visa has expired or is about to expire? The Five Year Resident Return Visa (Subclass 155) is for you.

So tell me about yourself - What is the Resident Return visa?

The Resident Return (subclass 155) visa is a permanent visa for current or former Australian permanent residents, which allows you to maintain or regain your status as an Australian permanent resident on your return to Australia.

Are you available? When to apply for the Resident Return visa

It is recommended to seek legal advice to find out if you should apply for this visa. Usually, people apply for this visa before leaving Australia if they intend to return to Australia after their current visa expires.

What’s your potential? What the Resident Return visa allows

This visa allows you to leave and enter Australia as often as you want, within the validity period of the visa, while maintaining your status as a permanent resident.

This visa lasts up to five years from the date of grant. After this time, you must obtain another Resident Return visa if you want to continue travelling to and from Australia as a permanent resident.

Eligibility of Resident Return visa

To be eligible for a five-year Resident Return visa you must be:
• an Australian permanent resident;
• a former Australian permanent resident whose last permanent visa was not cancelled; or
• a former Australian Citizen who lost or renounced their citizenship.

You are not eligible for this visa if your most recent permanent visa was one of the following Business Skills visa and it has been cancelled, or is subject to a notice of intention to cancel:
• Business Owner visa (subclasses 127 and 840);
• Senior Executive visa (subclasses 128 and 841);
• State/Territory Sponsored Business Owner visa (subclasses 129 and 842);
• State/Territory Sponsored Senior Executive visa (subclasses 130 and 843);
• Investment-Linked visa (subclasses 131 and 844);
• Business Talent visa (subclass 132).

There are other eligibility requirements depending if you live inside or outside of Australia. It is recommended to speak to a lawyer to be informed of all requirements and to ensure you are eligible. For example, you must have spent two of the last five years in Australia as a permanent resident, or provide evidence of substantial business, cultural, employment or personal ties of benefit to Australia.

Second choice – three-month Resident Return visa

If you do not meet the requirements for a five-year Resident Return visa, your application will be assessed against the criteria for a three-month Resident Return visa. The three-month visa requires you to have spent at least one day in the last five years in Australia as a permanent resident or an Australian citizen, and you must provide evidence of compelling and compassionate reasons for your departure.

Please note if you have been outside Australia for more than three continuous months immediately before making the application, you must also have compelling and compassionate reasons for the absence. It is advised to always seek information from a lawyer.

Are you family oriented? Family members and the Resident Return visa

Family members travelling on your passport should be included on your application form. Family members with separate passports must apply separately and pay a separate visa application charge. Immediate family members may be eligible – please speak to your lawyer about your specific circumstances. 

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