Resident Return visa (subclasses 155 and 157)

Australian permanent visas are initially valid for five years. This period of validity effectively acts as a travel facility rather than a right of residence. What this means is that if you are in Australia at the point at which your five years expires you still retain the right to permanent residence, but you lose the ability to leave the country and then re-enter as a permanent resident.


A Resident Return Visa (RRV) is in effect a renewal of the five-year travel facility attached to Australian permanent residency. To be eligible for an RRV, applicants must have held a permanent visa and have been physically located in Australia for a minimum of two of the previous five years.


Individuals who do not meet the so-called ‘two in five’ requirement can still apply for a Resident Return Visa, but the renewed travel facility will be initially for only one year rather than five years. As with the initial permanent residence visa, it is only the travel facility that will expire after this additional year, and not the individual’s permanent residency status.

Applicants for a one year Resident Return Visa are required to show evidence that despite their not meeting the ‘two in five’ requirement, they still maintain substantial ties to Australia, such as:

  • Employment
  • Family ties
  • Cultural ties
  • Business ties


Individuals who have not yet been physically in Australia for two years but find themselves nearing the end of a travel facility (such as a migrant travel facility) may be eligible to apply for a three-month Resident Return Visa so that they can travel overseas and return to Australia within a three month period.


It is possible to submit an application online without needing to supply any supporting documentation, providing that:

  • you have permanent residency of Australia
  • you meet the ‘two in five’ rule i.e. a minimum two years physically in Australia out of the last five years
  • you have not changed your name since your previous visa was granted

Processing time

Stream 75% of applications processed within 90% of applications processed within
155 4 Days 21 Days
157 Unavailable due to low volume of applications. Unavailable due to low volume of applications.

The exact time to process each application will depend on caseworker workload and backlogs, as well as the precise circumstances of the applicant.


Residence status

Applicants should be either:

  • a permanent resident of Australia;
  • a former holder of permanent residence of Australia (whose previous visa was not cancelled by the Department of Home Affairs);
  • a former Australian citizen whose citizenship was renounced or lost


Applicants must be in possession of a valid passport.


Applicants should meet the standard good character requirements for Australian visa applications.


If your previous visa was cancelled, you will not be considered for a Resident Return Visa.

Applications will be rejected if the Department of Home Affairs has been advised that your permanent business visa could be cancelled

Permitted activities

The subclass 155 and subclass 157 visas are both permanent visas which permit the same activities as the holder’s original permanent visa, including:

  • the ability to remain in Australia permanently
  • the right to study or to work in Australia
  • the ability to sign up for Australia’s public healthcare system, Medicare
  • permission to act as a sponsor for eligible relatives’ own permanent residence applications
  • the ability to travel freely to and from Australia providing that the travel facility is active

Differences between the 155 and 157 visas

The difference between the two main subclasses of Resident Return Visa is the length of the travel facility.

Which RRV can I get?

Which RRV you will be able to get will depend on your circumstances and the details you provide in your application to the Department of Home Affairs.

Subclass 155 visa

You may be able to get a subclass 155 RRV providing that either:

  • you meet the necessary residence requirement (5 year travel facility)
  • you can demonstrate that you have ties with Australia which are of benefit to the country (1 year travel facility)
  • you have a family member with a current or prospective RRV (up to 1 year travel facility).

Subclass 157 visa

You may be able to get a subclass 157 RRV providing that:

  • you have been lawfully present in Australia as a permanent resident or citizen for between one day and two years in the previous five year period
  • you are or were required to leave Australia for a compelling compassionate reason
Applications for an RRV from outside Australia

Individuals seeking to apply for a Resident Return Visa from outside Australia after having been outside the country for more than three months are required to have a compelling compassionate reason for their having left Australia.​


The application fee for a Resident Return Visa is around AUD 465.

Applications submitted on paper rather than online will incur an additional charge of AUD 80.

Location when applying

Applicants in Australia should ensure that, if they wish to leave Australia, they apply for and are granted an RRV before they do so if their travel facility is due to expire.

It is permitted to apply for this visa from outside Australia, but you must wait for it to be granted before attempting to re-enter the country.

How long does a Resident Return Visa last?

Both the subclass 155 and 157 visas are classified as permanent visas, though this does not mean they will necessarily last forever.


  • The visa will last indefinitely provided you do not travel outside Australia once the travel facility has ended
  • If you do leave Australia after the travel facility ends, the visa will cease to be valid.


Family members must submit their own applications for this visa. It is not possible to add family members to your own application.