Resident Return Visas & Australian Citizenship

Did you know that permanent visas actually expire? Find out how to maintain your PR or become an Australian Citizen.


Resident Return Visa

Subclass 155

Permanent residency is a status that allows you to remain in Australia indefinitely. However, the permanent visa does actually expire 5 years from the date of grant.

In order to maintain permanent residency status while travelling in and out of Australia, you would need to apply for a Resident Return Visa (RRV).

The RRV can be granted for different periods depending on the application pathway:

  • Five-year RRV – If you have lived in Australia as a permanent resident for a total of two years in the five years before applying.
  • One-Year RRV – If you have lived in Australia as a permanent resident for less than two years in the five years befory applying, but have substantial ties to Australia

You can apply from inside Australia or outside Australia, however, you may be subject to additional criteria depending on location.

Australian Citizenship

You can become an Australian citizen by birth, descent, or conferral. Acquiring Australian citizenship brings numerous advantages, such as voting rights, access to government services and welfare, eligibility for an Australian passport, expanded job prospects, and unrestricted ability to apply for home loans and own property.

Australian citizenship by birth:

  • If you are born in Australia and one or both of your parents are an Australian citizen or permanent resident, you become an Australian citizen at birth.

Australian citizenship by descent:

  • If you are the child of an Australian citizen and you were born outside of Australia on or after 26 January 1949, you may be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship by descent.

Australian citizenship by conferral:

To be eligible you must be a current permanent resident of Australia and meet the residence requirements* as follows:

  • Have lived in Australia for at least four years, including at least one year as a permanent resident.
  • Must not have traveled outside of Australia for more than 12 months in the last four years
  • Have spent no more than 90 days outside Australia in the 12 months before you apply

*Exemptions to the residence requirements may apply to spouses/partners of Australian Citizens living overseas, defence force personnel, and certain high-calibre sportspeople.

New Zealand Citizens Living in Australia

In mid-2023 the Australian Government introduced a direct route to Australian citizenship for New Zealand citizens residing in Australia.

New Zealand citizens who have been living in Australia for a minimum of four years will be eligible to directly apply for Australian citizenship, eliminating the previous requirement of applying for a separate permanent visa beforehand.

Effective from July 1, 2023:

  • All New Zealand citizens holding an SCV (Subclass 444) will be regarded as permanent residents for citizenship purposes.
  • New Zealand citizens granted an SCV before July 1, 2022, will have their period of permanent residence for citizenship purposes retroactively dated to July 1, 2022.
  • New Zealand citizens granted an SCV for the first time on or after July 1, 2022, will be considered permanent residents for citizenship purposes from the date of their Subclass 444 grant.

Applicants must meet the same requirements for residence and good character as other Citizenship applicants. Police clearances will be requested for all applicants over the age of 16.

Who is an Eligible New Zealand Citizen?

You are an Eligible New Zealand Citizen if:

  • You were in Australia on 26 February 2001 on an SCV, or
  • You were outside Australia on 26 February 2001, but you had spent at least 12 months in Australia on an SCV in the two years immediately before 26 February 2001, or
  • Have Centrelink certificate from before 26 February 2001 that shows you were living in Australia

Eligible New Zealand Citizens are treated as permanent residents for all visa purposes. This includes being able to sponsor family and obtain a Resident Return Visa.

Born in Australia to New Zealand Citizen Parents?

You may be an Australian citizen already if you were born in Australia to New Zealand citizen parents.  There are many different rules that apply. Please contact one of our advisers if you would like to discuss your eligibility.


Can I still get a RRV if my permanent visa has expired?

There are options for ‘former permanent residents’ – those overseas who have let their visas expire – to apply for a RRV if certain additional criteria are met. These criteria relate to time spent both inside and outside Australia, reasons for travelling overseas, and any urgent need to return to Australia.

What are the processing times for citizenship?

The majority of Australian Citizenship applications undergo processing within 11 months. Applicants typically have the opportunity to participate in a ceremony within eight months of their application.

How do I apply for Australian citizenship?

The majority of citizenship applications are lodged online, though this will change if trying to claim an exemption.

For a smooth Australian citizenship application process, we suggest consulting with a Registered Migration Agent from our team. Get in touch with AVIE to connect with our experienced professionals who will guide you through every step of the way.