Only Australian citizens have an automatic right of entry to Australia. If you are a non-citizen traveling abroad and would like to return to Australia you are required to have a visa to re-enter the country. Normally, permanent residents can use their permanent resident visa to travel abroad and return to Australia for up to five years from the date the visa was granted. After five years, permanent resident must obtain a Five Year Resident Return visa in order to re-enter the country.
To apply for this visa you must have spent 2 years, within the last 5 living in Australia and be:
How long is this visa valid for? What happens if my passport expires?
Resident Return visas (subclass 155) are usually valid for 5 years if you meet the two year residence requirements or hold substantial business, cultural, employment or personal ties to Australia. If that is not your case, but you have a strong need to travel internationally you may qualify for a Resident Return visa valid for only 3 months (subclass 157). For example, if you have a family member who is severely ill.
If your passport expires your visa does not become invalid. You may choose to pay the additional processing fees to have it re-issued and stamped in your new passport or travel with both passports-the old one that contains your Resident Return visa and the new one.
How do I apply?
You can apply for a Resident Return visa from inside or outside Australia. You can also apply online or by postal mail filing Form 1085. You will need to supply supporting documentation to prove:
How long does it take?
If you have permanent resident status and file from inside Australia the DHA will aim to process your application within 1 business day. If you file from outside Australia the processing time will be approximately two weeks.
If you are a former permanent resident, the processing times will vary between 6 to 9 months if you apply inside Australia or 9 to 12 months if you are outside Australia at the moment you file your application.