Visa Summary

Only Australian citizens have an automatic right of entry to Australia. If you hold a permanent visa you have the right to remain in Australia indefinitely, however if you choose to travel outside Australia, you must ensure you have authority to return. Generally a permanent visa will allow the holder to travel into Australia for up to five years from the date of grant.

The Resident Return visa (subclass 155) is a permanent visa for current or former Australian permanent residents and former Australian citizens. This visa will allow you to maintain or regain your status as an Australian permanent resident.

If you want to return to Australia after your current visa expires, you should apply for a visa before you leave Australia.

Who is this visa for?

This visa is for you if the travel validity period of your permanent visa has expired or is about to expire.

What does this visa let me do?

This visa allows you to remain in Australia indefinitely. It also 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.

How does this visa work?

Most applicants for the Resident Return visa are granted a visa which allows them to travel for up to five years.

To be granted a visa for five years, you must have lived in Australia as a permanent resident for at least two of the last five years. Alternatively, if you do not meet this residence requirement but you can demonstrate substantial ties of benefit to Australia you may be eligible to be granted the visa for one year.

If you do not meet the requirements of the subclass 155 visa you will be assessed for the subclass 157 visa which can be granted for three months.

If you want to continue travelling to and from Australia as a permanent resident you will need to obtain another Resident Return visa.

Family members

Family members must apply separately and pay a separate visa application charge.

Authority to Return or Return Endorsement

You do not need to obtain a Resident Return visa if you hold one of the following documents in your passport:

  • they have not been cancelled
  • they have not been ceased by the grant of another visa since September 1994
  • you have returned to Australia within three years of each departure
  • you have not become an Australian Citizen

Visa application process

Application checklist

The application checklists details the information and supporting documents that you must provide with your application. If you do not provide all of the necessary documents, a decision may be made on the information that you have provided.

Application information

This information helps you with the requirements for certifying and translating documents, communicating with the department, using a migration agent, and more.

Applying for this visa

You can apply online, by post or in person. Once you start your online application, you will be asked a series of questions to determine whether you are eligible to continue. If the eVisa system indicates you are not able to continue to apply online, you will need to apply by post or in person.

Note: You are not able to apply online if you are a former Australian permanent resident or former Australian citizen.

Processing times

Online applications are normally processed without delay. If you are required to attend an interview, the department will contact you in writing.

Note: You may apply online for this visa if you have not spent two of the last five years in Australia as a permanent resident. However, this may take longer as your application will be processed at a departmental office.

Visa Decision

Your application will usually be processed straight away. If you are required to provide additional documentation, a decision will take longer.

If your visa is approved

You will be notified by the department. Your visa and passport details will be electronically recorded on departmental systems. This means that you are not required by the department to have a visa label in your passport.

If your visa is not approved

You will be notified in writing of the reasons for the decision. You will also be provided with information about your review rights.

Applicants in Australia have review rights and must lodge the review application themselves.

Applicants outside Australia only have the right to seek a review if they have a parent, partner, child, brother or sister who is an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident. The application for review must be lodged by the Australian relative. It cannot be lodged directly by the applicant.

Visa Requirements

You should be meeting the requirements for a Five Year Resident Return visa (subclass 155), your application will be assessed against the criteria of ‘Three Month Resident Return visa’ (subclass 157).

To be eligible for a Resident Return visa you must be one of the following:

  • 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

Note: A former permanent resident includes any person who was recognized as a permanent resident of Australia within the context of the migration legislation that applied at the time they were living in Australia.

You must also meet one of the following eligibility requirements.

Length of visa Eligibility requirements
Five years

You must have spent two of the last five years in Australia as a permanent resident or citizen.

One year (for applicants in Australia)

You must provide evidence that proves you have substantial business, cultural, employment or personal ties of benefit to Australia.

If you have been absent from Australia for more than five continuous years since the grant of your most recent permanent visa or since you ceased being a citizen, you must provide evidence that there was a compelling reason for your absence.

One year (for applicants outside Australia)

If you hold a permanent visa or your last departure from Australia was as a permanent resident or Australian citizen:

  • you must provide evidence that proves you have substantial business, cultural, employment or personal ties of benefit to Australia
  • if you have been absent for more than five continuous years since your last departure from Australia as an Australian permanent resident or Australian citizen, you must provide evidence that there was a compelling reason for your absence

If you do not hold a permanent visa and when you last left Australia you were not an Australian permanent resident or Australian citizen, you must meet all of the following:

  • have been an Australian citizen, or an Australian permanent resident, less than 10 years before lodging your application
  • provide evidence that proves you have substantial business, cultural, employment or personal ties of benefit to Australia
  • if you have been absent from Australia for a total period of more than five years since last departing as an Australian permanent resident or citizen you must provide evidence that there was a compelling reason for your absence
Three months

You must:

  • have spent at least one day in the last five years lawfully in Australia
  • have spent less than two years in the last five years in Australia
  • have been a permanent resident or an Australian citizen for the entire period spent in Australia
  • provide evidence that there is a compelling and compassionate reason for your departure

If you have been outside Australia for more than three continuous months immediately before making the application, you must also show that there is a compelling and compassionate reason for the absence.

Maximum one year

If you do not meet the requirements above you may be eligible for a Resident Return visa if you are the partner or dependent family member of a Resident Return visa holder.

If this is your situation, you can only be granted a visa for up to one year and the period granted cannot exceed the time remaining on your family member's visa.

You cannot apply for a Resident Return visa if your most recent permanent visa was one of the following Business Skills visas 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)

Conditions and obligations for holders of visa subclass 155

If you change your passport after you have been granted this visa you must notify the department. If you do not provide us with details of any new or additional passport you use to travel to Australia, you are likely to experience delays when trying to re-enter Australia. For example, you may be made to wait a significant period at the airport while the matter is resolved and could even be denied permission to board your plane.

If your passport is lost, stolen or expired you can have your Resident Return visa re-evidenced into your new passport.

You can apply to have your visa evidenced at any departmental office in Australia or Australian mission outside Australia:

  • in person by presenting a valid passport, completed Form 1405 and payment
  • by post by sending your passport with a completed form 1405 and payment