You don’t have an automatic right to return to Australia from abroad as an Australian permanent resident.
The legitimacy of your travel facility on your permanent visa determines your right to re-entry to Australia. Your travel facility is itemized in your visa information provided by VEVO and your visa grant notification letter.
Travel facility on your permanent visa
Usually, you are permitted a 5-year travel facility when you are granted your first permanent visa. This means that from the date your permanent visa was granted, you can leave and re-enter Australia as often as you like in the 5 years as long as your visa remains valid.
Your travel facility expires after 5 years. You will need to apply for and be offered either:
- Australian citizenship
- a Resident Return visa
Suppose you are not qualified for either of the above and desire to return to Australia as a permanent resident. In that case, you will have to apply again for a permanent visa, such as a family visa, Former Resident visa, or skilled visa.
Travel Facility Expiry Reminder (TFER)
TFER service aims to remind some permanent residents that the travel facility on their permanent visa expires in 60 days. The functionality is currently restricted to visa holders of the following visa subclasses:
- 100 – Partner visa
- 155 – Resident Return visa
- 176 – Skilled sponsored visa
- 186 – Employer Nomination Scheme
- 189 – Skilled – Independent
- 801 – Partner visa
- 856 – Employer Nomination Scheme visa
Resident Return visa
Suppose you wish to return to Australia as a permanent resident from overseas travel. In that case, you may need to apply for and be granted a Resident Return visa (subclass 155 or subclass 157) if:
- the travel facility on your permanent visa has either already expired or will expire while you are outside Australia
- you are a former Australian permanent resident whose last permanent visa was not canceled
- you are a former Australian citizen who lost or renounced your citizenship.
Your permanent resident status will only be reinstated if your application for a Resident Return visa is approved. Suppose your Resident Return visa application is refused. In that case, you may consider applying again for another permanent visa, such as a Former Resident visa, a family visa, or a skilled visa. You will be provided with information about your eligibility for merits review processes.
Any family members who are permanent residents traveling outside Australia must apply for their Resident Return visas.
Returning to Australia without a permanent visa that has a good travel facility (for example, entering Australia on an ETA or visitor visa) may impact both your:
- entitlements as a permanent resident
- ability to satisfy the permanent residence requirements when applying for Australian citizenship or another Resident Return visa.
Suppose you are in Australia as a permanent resident. In that case, you do not need to apply for a Resident Return visa if you do not wish to travel following the expiry of your permanent visa’s travel facility.
Authority to Return or Return Endorsement
If you migrated to Australia before 1987 and travelled outside Australia between 1 March 1976 and 31 December 1986, your passport may have been wet stamped to prove that you held either:
- an Authority to Return (issued between 1 March 1976 and 31 August 1979)
- a Return Endorsement (issued between 1 September 1979 and 31 December 1986)
An Authority to Return or a Return Endorsement is an old form of return documentation issued to Australian permanent residents. Suppose you held an Authority to Return or a Return Endorsement immediately before 1 September 1994. In that case, you are taken to have been granted a Transitional (Permanent) visa by operation of law on 1 September 1994.
The Authority to Return or Return Endorsement (Transitional (Permanent) visa) permits the holder to travel to and enter Australia within 3 years after each departure from Australia and to remain indefinitely in Australia.