Permanent Residents in Australia

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Overview

By applying for and receiving a permanent visa that allows you to stay in Australia indefinitely, you can become an Australian permanent resident. Some skilled job and family visas are the most popular permanent visas.

Examine your visa alternatives to locate one that meets your requirements

Requirements

You must meet our visa requirements when applying for a permanent visa. To find out what those requirements are, see under Eligibility in each visa.

Learn more about how to meet our criteria.

Travel

The validity of the travel facility on your permanent visa will determine whether you can re-enter Australia after travelling overseas as an Australian permanent resident. You do not have the impulsive right to enter Australia.

As a permanent resident, you can take advantage of international travel.

Citizenship

After completing specific qualifications, such as being a permanent visa holder and remaining in Australia for a particular period, you may be able to become an Australian citizen.

Entitlements

An Australian permanent resident is not the same as an Australian citizen.

As an Australian permanent resident, you can generally:

  • Be able to stay in Australia indefinitely
  • Study and work in Australia
  • Join Medicare, Australia’s national health insurance programme.
  • Apply for a bank loan to purchase a home
  • Sponsor relatives who are qualified for permanent residency
  • If eligible, apply for Australian citizenship
  • You may travel to and from Australia for as long as your travel facility allows. See Overseas Travel as a Permanent Resident for further information.
  • Take advantage of the Adult Migrant English Program’s free English language classes.
  • Employment in New Zealand

Other government perks and services may be available to you. If you have a permanent visa but are not residing in Australia, you may be ineligible for the above. Confirm your rights and obligations by contacting the appropriate government agencies or authorities.

Permanent residents, unlike Australian citizens, are often unable to:

  • Be an Australian citizen
  • Unless you enlisted (as a British subject) before January 26, 1984, you are not eligible to vote in Australian government elections.
  • Obtain student loans
  • To become a member of the Australian Defence Force
  • Secure continuous employment with the Australian government
  • Returning to Australia from a foreign country without a valid travel document (you do not have the automatic right of entry to Australia). As a permanent resident, you can travel internationally.

As a permanent resident, you can travel internationally.

You do not have an impulsive right to return to Australia as an Australian permanent resident.

The travel facility validity on your permanent visa will determine your right to re-entry to Australia. Both your visa grant notice letter and the visa details issued by VEVO list your travel facility. ‘Trip facility on your permanent visa’ has more information on understanding your travel validity.

Your passport might have been wet stamped to confirm that you have an Authority to Return or Return Endorsement if you migrated to Australia before 1987 and travelled outside Australia between March 1, 1976, and December 31 1986. For more details, see ‘Authority to Return or Return Endorsement.’

On your permanent visa, you can travel.

When you have a permanent visa, you are typically given a 5-year travel allowance. This implies that as long as your permanent visa is valid, you can leave and re-enter Australian territory as many times as you want during the five years after your permanent visa was issued.

Your travel facility will expire in 5 years. You must apply for and be awarded one of the following:

  • If you want to return to Australia as a permanent resident, you will need a Resident Return visa.
  • If you want to travel as an Australian citizen, you’ll need to have Australian citizenship.

If you are entering Australia on a temporary visa after your permanent visa’s travel facility has expired, it will have a negative impact on you. For more information, see ‘Resident Return Visa’ below.

Suppose you are not qualified for either of the options above and want to return to Australia as a permanent resident. In that case, you may need to apply for a permanent visa again, such as a family visa,a Former Resident visa, or a skilled visa.

In VEVO, you can see when your travel facility expires.

Reminder about the expiration of travel facilities (TFER)

The TFER service is intended to remind some permanent residents that their travel privileges on their permanent visas are about to expire in 60 days. At this time, the feature is only available to visa holders from the following countries:

  • Visa for a partner (100)
  • Visa under the Employer Nomination Scheme (856)
  • Sponsored visa for skilled workers (176)
  • Visa for a partner (801)

These notifications are only issued to visa holders who have their email addresses stored in our system and do not have a pending RRV application. Because no email address is recorded for dependants on these visas, the principal applicant’s email address is utilized instead.

Returning Resident Visa

Suppose you want to return to Australia as a permanent resident after visiting another country. In that case, you may need to apply for and be granted a Resident Return Visa (subclass 155 or subclass 157) if you meet the following criteria:

  • Your permanent visa’s travel facility has either expired or will expire while you are outside Australia.
  • You are a former permanent Australian resident whose last permanent visa has not been terminated.
  • You have lost or surrendered your citizenship as an Australian citizen.

Your entry to Australia will be rejected if you come without a valid visa (unless you are an Australian citizen).

Once your application for a Resident Return visa has been approved, your permanent Resident status will be restored. In case your application for a Resident Return visa is denied, you may need to apply for another permanent visa, such as a Former Resident visa, a family visa, or a skilled visa. You will be informed if you are eligible for any merits review processes or not.

Any permanent residents travelling outside of Australia with their families will need to apply for their Resident Return permits.

Returning to Australia without a valid travel facility (for example, entering Australia on an ETA or guest visa) could have a negative impact on both your:

  • rights and privileges as a permanent resident
  • the capacity to meet the permanent residency requirements when applying for Australian citizenship or a second Resident Return visa.

Suppose you are a permanent resident of Australia and do not desire to travel after your permanent visa’s travel capability expires. In that case, you do not require to apply for a Resident Return visa.

Return Authorization or Return Endorsement

If you arrived in Australia before 1987 and travelled outside the country between March 1, 1976, and December 31, 1986, your passport may have been wet stamped to show that you held one of the following:

  • a Return Authorization (issued between March 1, 1976, and August 31 1979)
  • a Receipt of a Return Endorsement (issued between September 1, 1979, and December 31 1986)

An Authority to Return, also known as a Return Endorsement, is a type of return document provided to Australia’s permanent residents. If you had an Authority to Return or a Return Endorsement immediately before September 1, 1994, you were considered to have been granted a Transitional (Permanent) visa by law.

The Authority to Return or Return Endorsement (Transitional (Permanent) visa allows the holder to travel to and enter Australia within three years of leaving Australia and stay in Australia eternally.

A Return Endorsement or Authority to Return (Transitional (Permanent) visa) may still be valid if:

  • It has not been postponed.
  • You have came back to Australia within three years of leaving each time.
  • You have not become a citizen of Australia.
  • You have not been given another substantive visa since September 1, 1994. This does not include the following privileges:
  • a visa issued via the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) (subclass 956, 976, 977, or 601) on or after July 1, 2002.
  • a Border (Subclass 773) visa issued after July 1, 2002
  • With an APEC Business Card and a Visitor (Subclass 600) visa granted under the Business Visitor stream
  • a visa for a particular purpose

You are not applicable for a Resident Return visa if you presently have an Authority to Return or Return Endorsement (Transitional (Permanent) visa. If you were given a Resident Return visa after September 1, 1994, your Authority to Return or Return Endorsement (Transitional (Permanent) visa would have automatically expired.

If you have a valid Authority to Return or Return Endorsement (Transitional (Permanent) visa that is demonstrated by an Authority to Return or Return Endorsement stamp in an expired passport, you must travel to Australia with both your expired and new passports. We propose that you apply for your Authority to Return or Return Endorsement (Transitional (Permanent) visa) to be recorded in the Department’s databases as an electronic record. See ‘Informing the Department of Your Eligibility to Hold a BF-111’ for further information.

Between 1976 and 1986, examples of wet stamps

The Authority to Return and Return Endorsement wet stamps appear in the following order in your expired passport:

  • ATR is an acronym for “additional (Authority to Return)
  • Endorsement of the Return (Family Travelling)
  • Endorsement of the Return (Single Person Travelling)

If you have not travelled since 1987, now is the time to do it.

Australia began electronically processing visas in 1987. We are unlikely to have an electronic record of your permanent visa if you arrived in Australia before 1987 and have not travelled abroad since.

You may have an Authority to Return or Return Endorsement (Transitional (Permanent) visa if you had an Authority to Return or Return Endorsement wet stamp in your passport. To simplify re-entry to Australia, you can seek to have it documented as an electronic record in the form of a BF-111. A Resident Return visa is not available to you.

Note that a BF-111 visa is not one that you may apply for. The Authority to Return or Return Endorsement (Transitional (Permanent) visa is only recognized by an electronic record of your wet stamp.

Notifying the Department that you are eligible to possess a BF-111

You might have a Transitional (Permanent) visa if you had an Authority to Return or Return Endorsement wet stamped in your passport between 1976 and 1986. The Department’s current computerized systems will not record this. Before departing Australia, seek to have your Authority to Return or Return Endorsement (Transitional (Permanent) visa) registered on our systems as a BF-111 to prevent considerable delays while travelling to and from Australia.

  • Fill out the Application for Authority to Return or Return Endorsement (Transitional (Permanent) visa) form, which is recorded as a BF-111 visa form online
  • Attach copies of the necessary papers to the form:

               o Evidence of any name changes 

               o Authority to Return or Return Endorsement wet stamp

               o Both your current and previous passports’ biodata pages

This makes no difference to the terms of your visa. This service is free of charge.

A new passport is required.

If you receive a new passport, you must furnish us with the information on it to link your visa to it. Your travel may be delayed if you do not link your visa to your new passport.

Proof of long-term residency

You can use VEVO to prove permanent Resident status by • emailing or printing your status or • giving authorization for an organization or government agency to conduct a VEVO check.

This is possible as long as your visa is related to:

  • ImmiCard or passport
  • dealing with other Australian government agencies about entitlements and benefits, such as Centrelink and Medicare; or
  • Acquiring specific papers from other Australian agencies or authorities, such as: o a driver’s licence
  • Card for Maritime Security Identification (MSIC)
  • Dealing with foreign embassies, consulates, and high offices in Australia, or getting a foreign travel document

We no longer publish:

  • Certificate of Evidence of Resident Status (CERS) • New Zealand Citizens in Australia Certificate of Status (CSNZCA)
  • Travel Document for Australia
  • Visa Evidence Card • Visa Stickers or Labels

If you own a VEVO account,

Whether you have access to a VEVO record depends on whether you arrived in Australia before 1990 or after 1990.

Prior to 1990,

If you landed in Australia before 1990 and have not travelled outside of Australia since you may not have a VEVO record.

To obtain an electronic visa record, you must give the following information: 

  • identification documents, including proof of arrival in Australia; and
  • details of your valid passport.

If you do not own a passport and cannot obtain one, you may be eligible for an ImmiCard.

Once your visa has been logged in our systems and your passport or ImmiCard has been connected to the visa, you will be able to access VEVO. This will be necessary in order to gain access to VEVO.

Following 1990

Your passport is linked to your VEVO visa record. If you have ever updated your passport since your arrival Australia, you must inform us of the new information so that your visa information can be linked to the new passport. This will be necessary in order to gain access to VEVO.

Travelling abroad as a permanent resident

You are unlikely to get an electronic visa record if you are a long-term resident who came to Australia before 1990 and has not departed since. You will need to apply for an electronic visa record to use VEVO.

You must have proof of your arrival in Australia.

You can apply for access to the trip information in your movement records if you need information regarding your arrival date in Australia.

OPTIONS FOR VISAS

There are various ways to become an Australian permanent resident. The following are three popular ways to become a permanent resident:

  • a permanent visa for family members 
  • a permanent visa for workers
  • a permanent business or investment visa

Before you apply, be sure you meet our requirements. When your visa has a “no further stay” condition, you will not be able to apply for permanent residency in Australia after the term stated in your visa has expired.

Examine your visa alternatives to locate one that meets your requirements.

  • Permanent residence visas for family members
  • Permanent residency visas with a work component
  • Permanent residency visas based on business or investment

Other possibilities

Permanent residence visas for family members

These are for: 

  • partners, children, parents, or dependent relatives of an Australian citizen, Permanent Resident of Australia, or Eligible New Zealand citizen 
  • children being adopted or in the process of being adopted outside of Australia

Examine your family’s permanent visa alternatives.

Permanent residency visas with a work component

These are for people who have been sponsored to work in Australia by an Australian employer or who have abilities that are valued in Australia.

Workers should look at permanent visa options.

Permanent residency visas based on business or investment

Examine your choices for permanent visas for business or investment.

Other possibilities

Getting a Retirement Visa

For qualified retirees, the Australian government has lately established a pathway to permanent residency.

Long-term residents who have contributed significantly and are well-established in the community can take this route.

The government created the road by reserving a percentage of the permanent migration scheme’s spots for parents.

Find out more about the Retirement visa.

Visa for former residents

This visa is only available to select former long-term residents.

Visa for Global Talent

This visa is for persons who have a proven track record of extraordinary and outstanding success globally.

  • Visa for Global Talent (subclass 858)

Visas for refugees and humanitarian aid

These visas are for persons who had to flee their home country because they were being persecuted.

Explore visa alternatives to learn more about refugee and humanitarian visas.