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You’re an Australian permanent resident and maybe you can’t get Australian Citizenship soon like you had planned, due to the recent changes in Citizenship regulations. What do you need to do about overseas travel in the meantime to ensure you can still get back into Australia?

Citizenship changes in australia in 2017 mean that australian permanent residents need a resident return visa to return to australia after five years

Changes to Australian Citizenship 2017

The changes in Citizenship recently have brought the issue of Resident Return Visas (RRV) to the forefront. Previously? I think I could safely say that most of our Filipina partner visa holders have gone on to Citizenship. Most would apply for it as soon as they possibly can, because the average Australian Filipina couple that Down Under Visa deal with are in Australia for the long-term. Families, babies, mortgages….the works! Becoming an Aussie is all part of that process.

The recent changes in Citizenship requirements will mean that some Filipino and Filipina migrants won’t be able to get Australian Citizenship as soon as they had otherwise intended. Residency requirements of four years as a permanent resident as well as English language requirements and Citizenship Tests will cause delays of several years at least, and may mean that some sadly may never be able to get Citizenship at all and will need to remain as permanent residents in Australia.

Resident Return Visas – Essential for permanent residents

An Australian Citizen may come and go from Australia as they please. Permanent residents? Not quite so simple.

A permanent visa means just what it says. It’s permanent. You don’t lose it, unless you prove to be a terrorist or you commit a serious crime and they decide they don’t want you in Australia anymore. Do the right thing and lead a respectable life, and you may spend the rest of your life inside Australia.


Your travel rights are not so clear and easy. What they don’t want are permanent residents who don’t maintain solid ties to Australia. They don’t want anyone deciding they can leave Australia for a number of years and then come back later as, say, a retirement option. Use it or lose it, basically! You maintain your permanent residency status, but if you don’t live in Australia you risk losing the right to return.

Hence, the Resident Return Visa

When you gain your permanent visa, which in cases of our partner visa clients is the Subclass 801 or the Subclass 100 permanent partner visas, or a Subclass 101 child visa (which is a permanent visa from the start), you are issued with a Resident Return Visa which is valid for 5 years. The permanent visa? It’s permanent! No expiry date! The Resident Return Visa? Five years!

Now, if you remain in Australia? No problems. And if you live in Australia for at least 2 years out of the next five years? Again, no problem. We can get you another Resident Return Visa with little drama. Your main issue is ensuring you don’t forget all about it and hop on a plane five years later, or you could get a shock when you try to get on a plane for home in Australia at the end of your holiday. They won’t let you on the plane if your Resident Return Visa has expired. So your main issue is ensuring you don’t forget to renew it before you travel.

If you need to live and work overseas, and you wish to return one day in the future? Then you need to maintain substantial ties with Australia which are of benefit to Australia. These ties can be:

  • Business ties
  • Cultural ties
  • Employment ties
  • Personal ties

If you do intent to be overseas for long periods of time and intend returning, suggest that you contact us for advice so you don’t get caught out. Otherwise, just ensure you remember to check if your Resident Return Visa is still in place before you travel overseas as a permanent resident.

Further Reading

New Australian Citizenship Requirements 2017

Resident Return Visa – What does it mean?

Can I work after I apply for an onshore partner visa?
An Australian permanent resident – What does it mean?


  1. Gautam

    Am I eligible for an RRV if my spouse holds a 5 year RRV but I have not fulfilled the residency requirement( I have lived in Australia as a permanent resident for a few months in the last 5 years)

    • Jeff Harvie

      I cannot give you accurate advice that you would reply on, sorry


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