When it comes to the Resident Return Visa, or full name: Class BB, Five Year Resident Return (Subclass 155) visa, there is always quite a bit of confusion…

In fact even the name itself is confusing, is this visa for 5 years? I thought it could be for 1 year as well? Does that mean my permanent residency expires with it too?

All valid questions – which I will clear up in this article.

How ‘Permanent’ Is Permanent Residency?

When your initial visa is granted (subclass 189, 190 and other permanent visas), you are given permanent residency from the day stated on your visa grant letter.

You are also given something called a ‘travel authority’ which is usually valid for 5 years – this is also stated on your visa grant letter.

It’s important to know the difference between these two.

Basically if you enter Australia while your ‘travel authority’ is valid, you will have arrived in Australia as a permanent resident….

That means you can live in Australia permanently (they did after all call it a ‘permanent’ visa) from that point on.

If you decide to never leave Australia again, you would be allowed to live there forever without having to renew anything.

In short:

  1. Visa granted
  2. Arrive in Australia within travel authority period (most visas would also ask you to make 1 entry before a certain date)
  3. Arrive as permanent resident
  4. Can live in Australia permanently without renewing anything

If That’s The Case, Why Do I Need A Resident Return Visa?

Although having your permanent residency (PR) allows you to remain in Australia indefinitely, anytime you want to leave Australia and return as a permanent resident, then you need to have your travel authority intact.

For most permanent residencies, your initial travel authority is valid for 5 years.

Once that runs out, you’ll need to apply for a resident return visa (RRV) to renew your travel authority.

In short:

  • Living in Australia – no renewal needed
  • Want to leave Australia (or remain outside Australia) and return as a PR – valid travel authority required or valid RRV

How Long Is An RRV Valid For?

The title of the visa type can be a bit confusing – you’ll notice it is labelled ‘five year’ resident return, however that’s not always the case.

An RRV can be granted based on 2 criteria and depending on which you fulfil will determine how long your RRV is valid for:

  1. If you’ve lived in Australia for any 2 years in the last 5 years – this would get you a Subclass 155 RRV with a 5 year travel authority. This means you can fly in and out of Australia as a PR for the next 5 years.
  2. If you’ve lived in Australia for less than 2 out of the last 5 years – if you can prove your ties to Australia (we’ll cover that later), you may be granted a Subclass 155 RRV with a 1 year travel authority.

There is this misconception online and through people I meet that if you don’t stay in Australia for 2 years out of 5 your RRV won’t be granted – this just isn’t true.

As long as you maintain good ties with Australia, you always have the chance of getting the 1 year renewal.

What Are Considered Substantial Ties To Australia?

Each person’s ties to Australia vary depending on their personal situation, how long they spent in the country, how many relatives they have there and more…

As a migration agency, we try to build out 4 main ties:

  1. Cultural Ties – can include being involved in the arts, having a book published in Australia etc.
  2. Employment Ties – having been employed there, or have a job offer from an Australian company
  3. Personal Ties – all other ties, includes having relatives, property, Australian citizen children or friends etc.
  4. Business Ties – having a business in Australia

Each individual is unique – most people will have 1 or 2 of the ties mentioned above and we build their case around those ties.

We show that you consider Australia your home.

We also have to explain your absence from Australia (if any), for example if you left Australia 5 years ago because you had to take care of a sick relative, then this is also built into the application.

How Long Does It Take To Get An RRV?

They break down the timelines on the Department of Home Affairs website, but in general we’ve seen:

  • If you fulfil the 2 out of 5 year stay – you can get your visa granted within 1 day of submitting
  • If you are using substantial ties – it takes around 2-3 months, although if the case is complicated or lacks supporting documents, they can take longer to make a decision

Once your RRV is granted, you’ll either have a new 5 year travel authority, or 1 year travel authority.

You can now freely return to Australia as a permanent resident!

Case Study – 17 Years Absent RRV Success Story

A client and her spouse engaged us to apply for an RRV almost 18 years after they left Australia!

They had studied in Australia before they continued on by working and then ultimately getting their PR while they were onshore.

After 2 years of work they had to return to their home country for family reasons – after which they only returned to Australia for short holidays over the next 17 years…

We built a strong case for them, including:

  • Why they left
  • Their substantial ties to Australia (work, family, studies etc.)
  • Prove that they are eager to return if they get their RRV granted
  • All supporting documents that we thought would strongly back their case

It took a while to prepare and compile, but after submitting to the Department of Home Affairs, we got a response in less than 4 months with a approved visa grant – for a RRV with a 1 year travel authority!

A personal record for us, but it goes to show that it is definitely possible if you prepare and structure your case correctly.

If you are looking at getting an RRV for you or your family and need professional help, please fill in the form below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Do I Qualify To Migrate To Australia?