Your permanent visa allows you to travel to and from Australia for 5 years from the date of grant.

After your permanent visa expires in 5 years from the date of grant, you will no longer hold a visa to travel to Australia. If you are in Australia on that date you are allowed to remain in Australia indefinitely. However, to leave Australia and return, you will require a visa to return each time until you are an Australian citizen. In most cases, a permanent resident can obtain a ‘Resident Return Visa’ when they return to Australia.

Eligibility for an RRV

To be eligible for a Resident Return Visa (RRV), you must be present in Australia for at least 2 years the date of your application for an RRV.

However, there is an exemption available to this rule, provided you have visited Australia for at least one day in the five years preceding the date you apply for an RRV. You will need to show that you have substantial business, cultural, employment or personal ties with Australia which are of benefit to Australia.

  • Relationships with Australian citizen children and/or spouse
  • The compelling reason for living outside of Australia
  • Holding personal assets in Australia (eg. home ownership, investments)
  • The presence of close family members in Australia
  • Any community/ charity/volunteer work in Australia
  • Whether you have a business that employs people in Australia

If you are away from Australia for 5 continuous years, you may still be eligible for an RRV as per the above reasons, however, you will also need to show that you had a compelling reason for being away from Australia.

Needing to be overseas to care for a loved one or for work commitments by an Australian citizen spouse may be considered compelling.

There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to compelling circumstances or showing significant ties to Australia. Each case will be judged on its individual merits. For the best chance at gaining approval, engage a suitably qualified migration agent to write a persuasively written submission on your behalf.


In order to avoid having to obtain a Resident Return Visa each time, you must become a citizen of Australia.

One of the key criteria to become a citizen is that you will need to be a resident in Australia for 4 years and hold a permanent visa for at least 12 months. There are special exemptions to this residence requirement depending on your circumstances. For example, there is an exemption for permanent visa holders who are married to an Australian citizen. In this circumstance, you must only show that you had a ‘close and continuing association’ with Australia during the four years preceding your citizenship application date. The test for close and continuing association is similar to the tests for a Resident Return Visa discussed above.

To see if you are eligible for an exemption or whether you meet the citizenship requirements, speak with a registered migration agent, or call us on (08) 7226 2225.