Regaining your Australian Permanent Residence

I used to hold a permanent residence visa for Australia, can it be reinstated?

If you once held Permanent Residence but have since left Australia and spent a significant time outside Australia, you may still be able to apply for a Resident Return Visa, regaining your Permanent Residence.

How Long is too long?

You will need to have held a Permanent Residence visa within the last 10 years.

If it has been longer than 10 years but you are eligible to be granted a 601 electronic travel authority visa, you may still be able to apply.

What do I need to show?

If your last visit to Australia was more than 5 years but less than 10 years ago, you will need to show compelling reasons for your time outside Australia and your substantial ties to Australia.

If your last visit to Australia was less than 5 years ago, you won’t need to show compelling reasons for your time outside Australia, but will need to show your substantial ties to Australia.

What sort of PR visa will I get If granted?

A 12-month Resident Return Visa Subclass 155 (RRV) is granted to applicants outside Australia who held a Permanent Residence Visa in the last 10 years and who meet the requirements.

This is a Permanent Visa and can be renewed.

If it has been longer than 10 years since you held a Permanent Residence visa and you enter Australia on a 601 electronic travel authority, you may be able to meet the requirements for 12-month Resident Return visa Subclass 155 (RRV) if you can demonstrate substantial ties which are of benefit to Australia AND there are compelling reasons for your absence from Australia.

RRV for family unit

If you are eligible for a resident return visa, and your spouse or dependent does not meet the residency requirement (i.e. 2 out of 5 years or compelling reasons for absence), they can still apply for the resident return visa.

Substantial ties

Substantial ties to Australia must be both substantial and beneficial to Australia. There can be different ties to Australia. These include:

  • Business – e.g. owns an Australian company
  • Cultural – e.g. program listing your artistic or cultural performances
  • Employment– e.g. employment contract with an Australian company
  • Personal – e.g. have an Australian partner and child

You would have to provide documents to evidence your ties.

Compelling reasons for absence

The term compelling is not defined in the Migration Act. However, it implies that the reason for departing Australia is outside the control of the applicant. Some examples of compelling and compassionate reasons include:

  • severe illness or death of an overseas family member
  • work or study commitments by the applicant or the applicant’s partner that are of a professional nature, in circumstances where the acquired experience results in a benefit to Australia
  • the applicant is living overseas in an ongoing relationship with an Australian citizen partner
  • the applicant or the applicant’s accompanying family members have been receiving complex or lengthy medical treatment preventing travel
  • the applicant has been involved in legal proceedings such as sale of property, custody, or contractual obligations and the timing was beyond the applicant’s control
  • the applicant has been caught up in a natural disaster, political uprising or other similar event preventing them from travel
  • the applicant can demonstrate they have been waiting for a significant personal event to occur that has prevented them from relocating to or returning to Australia. The period of time for any such event would have to be reasonable in its context

You would have to provide documents to evidence your compelling reasons for absence.


Be sure to check your visa grant letter for your travel validity before you travel!

Ensuring that you spend at least 2 years in Australia out of each 5 year period is the best way to maintain your permanent residence in Australia. This way, you will obtain a 5-year travel facility and are not subject to any discretionary requirements (eg close ties to Australia or compelling reasons for absence).

Angela Parmeter

Senior Immigration Consultant- MARN: 1387039

If you would like to discuss your matter or have questions on the above please book a consultation here.

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