What is a Resident Return Visa (RRV) and can I lose my permanent residency again?

The two Resident Return Visas are probably the most misunderstood visas in Australian immigration legislation. However, every permanent resident must know about them. Understanding what a RRV is and what it does, means understanding the circumstances in which you can lose your permanent residency status.

So let me try and shed some light on this topic…

If you’re granted a permanent visa, you’ll notice that it will allow you to remain in Australia indefinitely, and leave and re-enter as many times as you like until a certain date, which is usually 5 years after the issue date.

So, a lot of people think their visa carries an expiry date, which is incorrect. The actual visa is valid indefinitely, but it has attached a travel facility (RRV) which does expire. So given you never leave the country, you needn’t worry about the expiry date at all. You could stay in Australia for as long as you like with your permanent visa. But that’s not very realistic, right?

If you hold a PR visa and plan on going overseas you need to know about the status of your RRV.

There are two Resident Return Visas available to permanent residents: subclass 155, which is valid for 5 years and 157, which is only valid for 3 months.

When your permanent visa is granted, it automatically comes with a 5 year, s/c 155 RRV attached to it. If you want to leave Australia past the specified expiry date, you need to reapply for another RRV. Which RRV you can apply for, will depend on which requirements you can meet.

– RRV subclass 155:

A RRV 155 is usually (not always – see below) valid for five years. The requirement is that you must have spent two years within the past five years in Australia. The two years can be accumulative – as long as your time in Australia adds up to 24 months within the past five years.

If you are unable to meet the required two years residency, you may still be able to apply for the 155. However, in this case, you’d need to show that you have compelling reasons why you can’t meet the residency requirement and that you have substantial ties to Australia.

Substantial ties can be business, cultural, employment or personal ties. If a 155 RRV is granted on compelling grounds, the travel facility will only be one year, though, instead of five years.

– RRV subclass 157

If you can’t meet the 2-year residency requirement and don’t have substantial ties to Australia, you may still be able to apply for a s/c 157. This RRV has only a 3-month travel facility, so it’s not a long-term solution but rather a fix for those who have been absent from Australia for an extended period of time and are now ready so settle in Australia before losing their permanent residency for good.

For the 157 you need to show that you have been in Australia one day within the past five years and that you have compelling and compassionate reasons for your absence.

You can apply for the 157 onshore as well as offshore. If you apply onshore you need to explain why you need to leave Australia (and your reason should be better than wanting to go on a holiday!). If you apply offshore you need to explain and provide evidence as to why you had to leave.

If you can meet the 2-year residency requirement, applying for a new RRV is easy. You just submit the form, pay the fee and you should be fine. However, if you haven’t been in Australia 2 years and need to apply on compelling and compassionate grounds things can get tricky. If in doubt it’s better to seek professional advice. You most likely spent a lot of time, effort, and money on gaining permanent residency, so better not jeopardize it.

11 thoughts on “What is a Resident Return Visa (RRV) and can I lose my permanent residency again?

  1. Hi there ,I have my rrv with 1 years , because we don’t live in australia for 2 years, and I realize my rrv expire 10 days ago… it still possible for me to apply renewal rrv because we need back to australia in 1 month time .. please can you help me


    1. Hi Nila,
      Please send us an email or use the contact form to get in touch with your details and someone will be in touch with you.
      Best RegardsMigration Adviceinfo(at)migration-advice.com


  2. Hi There,
    I got the visa Australian PR on 24th of May 2013 and it is about to expire on 24th May 2018 .I activated the visa within one year on April 10th 2014 , stayed in sydney for 5 days and came back to India.Now i am planning to move to Australia in first of August 2018.
    Currently my PR is valid for another two months but i want to go on first week of Aug 2018.Can someone advise if i would get the RRV 157 , i delayed because there was a death of my brother in law in 2016 and my mother is not keeping well since last one year.
    As my visa expires on May 24th 2018 and am in india, so question is how many days before my visa expires i need to apply for RRV 157 and providing the death certificate of my brother in law and medical records of my brother would suffice for the visa officer to issue the RRV ?


    1. Hi Ashok,
      Please send us an email or use the contact form to get in touch with your details and someone will be in touch with you.
      Best RegardsMigration Adviceinfo(at)migration-advice.com


    2. Did you issue resolve? or if you can update whatever the situation happened? Would appreciate your response.


  3. My hubby is a British subject with permanent residency in Australia. He has previously applied for the RRV’s to go on overseas holidays, but how can we check when the 5 yr expiry is due ??


  4. hi,
    I have lived in Australia on a permanent visa for 5 years. I applied for my citizenship last year, passed the test and waiting for the next step. 2 months ago i decided to go for holiday in June so i applied for residents return visa. Now that i’m having my flight next week, i have not yet heard back in relation to my visa . I have called the home affairs several times and every time i got the same response: wait as you’re application is in progress. I’m not sure what to do, should i cancel my 8-day trip or there is any other action that i can take?ThanksEllie


  5. If you were on a protection visa before, now you have a RRV155. Can you travel to your home country for a family emergency and than travel back to Australia without any problems?


  6. We had permanent residence visas which expired in February 2010. In 2005 we activated our visas and spent 10 days in Oz. I desperately want to move to Oz but the problem is that my husband is now 44 and we do not qualify. Is there anyway we can do something with the residence return visa?


  7. Hi all , Could anyone provide me guidance what is the best way to deal , I applied citizenship last year , invited to act however I have to travel overseas in Dec , Could I applied RRV or in next two months I will complete my process of changing passport?


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