Date last modified: 30 August 2018
01 July 2018
New Zealanders must now by apply for a Resident Return Visa (RRV) online by creating an ImmiAccount. Paper-based RRV applications will incur an $80 non-internet fee.
Oz Kiwi recommends anyone applying for RRV complete Form 80.
The following information is intended for New Zealand citizens applying for a Resident Return Visa. New Zealanders are eligible if they cleared Australian Customs prior to 1 September 1994.
Read the Resident Return Visa information on the Department of Home Affairs website.
New Zealanders arriving in Australia after 26 February 2001 are a granted a Special Category Visa (SCV), this is a temporary visa under the Migration Act. Some New Zealanders may be directly eligible for Australian for citizenship.
Prior to 1 September 1994 New Zealanders were automatically granted permanent residency upon entering Australia. A Resident Return Visa (RRV) enables them to reinstate that former permanent residency. Twelve months after being granted RRV they can apply for citizenship, provided they have resided in Australia for at least four years immediately prior to applying.
Applying for RRV
When applying for RRV New Zealanders:
- must be residing in Australia, preferably for at least six months in order to establish substantial ties
- do not need to undertake a medical examination
- are eligible, even if they are aged over 50
- must have a passport valid for at least six months
- cannot include their partner or children on their RRV application, if eligible they can make their own RRV application.
After being granted RRV, you can sponsor your partner and children for a permanent visa. Children aged 18-25 must be financially dependent on the sponsoring parent and studying full time. Also consider whether RRV or the NZ 189 Visa is best for your family.
For more information read Eligibility for a Resident Return Visa.
NZ family relationship visa (461)
Once granted RRV you cannot renew a Family Relationship 461 visa because you are no longer an SCV-holder. When a family member’s current 461 visa expires you will have to sponsor them for a Partner visa (from $7,160) or Child visa (from $1,755).
Eligibility for a Resident Return Visa
New Zealanders are eligible to apply for a Resident Return Visa (RRV) provided they entered Australia on a New Zealand passport before 1 September 1994. They are eligible even if they were:
- visiting on holiday or business for a few days
- a child travelling on their parent’s passport
- in transit for just a few hours, provided they cleared Customs.
Confirm your arrival date
When applying for RRV you must know the exact date you first entered Australia. All your previous travel is linked to your current passport. Even if you did not require a passport, there should still be a record of your visit because Incoming Passenger Cards have always been required.
It is recommended that all RRV applicants request their travel records.
Applying for RRV can be confusing. Refer to completing your RRV application for some guidance.
You will need to provide a written statement of your substantial ties to Australia now, and compelling reasons for any continuous absence from Australia greater than five years. For a longer absence you will need to provide more than one reason, or an ongoing reason. Include as many details as possible in your written statement.
All criminal convictions, including historical, “spent” or minor sentences, must be declared on your RRV application. Failure to do so will see your application declined. You will also fail the character requirements if you have been sentenced to 12 months or more in prison, including historical offending or multiple short sentences totalling more than 12 months. A suspended sentence, where no jail time was served, is still a prison sentence.
New Zealand Police check
Request your New Zealand criminal conviction history, especially if you have resided in New Zealand for 12 months or more within the last 10 years, over the age of 16. Tick the box at step 3 of the form – ‘Full record of convictions’ to request your full record. There is no fee, it remains valid for 12 months, and takes 1-3 months to be processed.
Australian National Police Check
Request an Australian National Police Check if you have resided in Australia for 12 months or more within the last 10 years. You do not need to provide finger prints. The fee is $42, and it usually takes 15 working days to be processed. When completing the form, in:
- Section 1: Type of check required – tick the box Name Check Only
- Section 8: Purpose of Check – select code 33 For Immigration/Citizenship.
If you have completed military service provide a copy of your discharge papers.
The Resident Return Visa online application fee is $375. If you choose to submit a paper application form you will also be charged an $80 non-internet application fee.
Payment only via ImmiAccount
Payment must be made electronically through the My Payments section of your ImmiAccount. Lodge your application within 30 days of making your online payment.
Submitting your application
Do not send Home Affairs any original documents, upload copies of your supporting documents.
RRV processing time
RRV application processing times have varied significantly in recent months. It can take anything from 7 days to 5 months if you haven’t held a permanent visa for two of the last five years. Remember that the Special Category Visa is a temporary visa. Processing times do vary.
If the Department of Home Affairs require any additional information, or supporting documents, you will be given 28 days to provide them. Keep them informed if there will be delay in obtaining documentation.
You should be emailed a confirmation letter and a Visa Grant Notice.
Being granted RRV
Being granted a Resident Return Visa makes you are a Permanent Resident, and allows you to reside in Australia indefinitely.
Because New Zealanders won’t have not resided in Australia as a Permanent Resident for at least two of the last five years, they are only granted a 12 month travel capacity. Keep a copy of your Visa Grant Notice with your passport and confirm your PR status at the airport Immigration desk. It will be located just past the Customs counters and SmartGate scanners.
If you change address or renew your passport notify the Department of Home Affairs using Form 929.
Resident Return Visa travel capacity
The Resident Return Visa has a 12 month travel capacity. Please be aware that:
- You can be outside of Australia for up to 90 days of the 12 months, with some work-related exceptions.
- You must renew your RRV if you are travelling overseas after the initial 12 months
- DO NOT re-enter Australia after the Must Not Arrive After date on your Visa Grant Notice. You will become an SCV-holder again and may have to wait another year, after renewing your RRV, before applying for citizenship.
- If you are travelling overseas after the 12 month anniversary date has passed you will need to renew your RRV. If necessary, you can renew online before re-entering Australia.
Check your visa status using Immigration’s VEVO system.
To find out more about the status of New Zealanders in Australia read Fact sheet 17 – New Zealanders in Australia.
Refer to the Resident Return Visa information on the Department of Home Affairs website
Have a question?
Thank you for your support.
The above “Applying for a Resident Return visa” information should not be relied on as an alternative to advice from the Department of Home Affairs, or a professional immigration services provider.
If you have any specific questions about an immigration matter, you should consult the Department of Home Affairs or a professional immigration services provider.