Applying for a Resident Return Visa

Applying for a Resident Return Visa

Important Information

18 October 2017

The proposed citizenship changes will not be implemented after the Citizenship Amendment Bill was struck down by the Senate today. Oz Kiwi can now confirm that current citizenship law applies.

Re-entering Australia beyond the Must Not Arrive After date on your Visa Grant Notice will make you an SCV-holder again. You must reapply for RRV and reside for another year as a permanent resident before applying for citizenship.

Oz Kiwi recommends anyone applying for RRV complete Form 80.

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, if they are Protected Special Category Visa-holders.

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.

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 proposed new visa is best for your family.

For more information read Eligibility for a Resident Return Visa.

Please note

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 have to sponsor them for a Partner visa (from $7,000) or Child visa (from $2,415).

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 were completed for all arrivals.

If you are unsure of your first date of arrival in Australia you can request your travel records.

Applying for RRV

New Zealanders cannot initally apply for RRV online because they do not have a visa number. Instead they must complete RRV Form 1085. When subsequently renewing the travel facility you can apply online.

The RRV application form can be confusing. Refer to Completing the RRV application form 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.

Criminal convictions

All criminal convictions, including historical 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

It is advisable to request a New Zealand criminal conviction history for each visa applicant, who has 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 for each visa applicant, over the age of 16, who has resided in Australia more than 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.

Military service

If you have completed military service provide a copy of your discharge papers.

Application fee

The Resident Return Visa application fee is $365. New Zealanders cannot apply online. In the Payment Details section write: “SCV-holder, exempt from paying the $80 non-internet application fee“.

If you are charged $440 request a refund of the $80 non-internet application fee as you cannot apply online for your initial RRV without a visa number.

Payment only via ImmiAccount

You will need to create an ImmiAccount and make a payment electronically through the My Payments section. Lodge your application within 30 days of making your online payment.

Record the payment receipt number on the RRV application form and attach a copy of the printed receipt.

Submitting your application

Do not send any original documents, only provide certified copies of your supporting documents.

All RRV applications are now processed in Sydney. Your RRV application should be sent via registered post or courier to the appropriate address:

Registered Post
Department of Home Affairs
Resident Return Visa Application
GPO Box 9984
Sydney NSW 2001

Department of Home Affairs
Resident Return Visa Application
26 Lee Street
Sydney NSW 2000

RRV processing time

RRV applications can take up to 12 weeks to be processed if you haven’t held a permanent visa for two of the last five years. The SCV is a temporary visa.

If the Department of Home Affairs require any additional information, or supporting documents, you will be given 28 days to provide them.

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 they have not resided in Australia as a Permanent Resident for at least two of the last five years, New Zealanders are only granted a one year travel capacity. Take a copy of your Visa Grant Notice with you when you travel.

If you change address or renew your passport you should 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 VEVO.


To find out more about the status of New Zealanders in Australia read Fact sheet 17 – New Zealanders in Australia.

Eligibility for a Resident Return Visa

Completing the RRV application form

Refer to Resident Return Visa information on the Department of Home Affairs website

Have a question?

Phone the Department of Home Affairs on 13 18 81 or contact them via social media. Please do not provide your personal details on a public forum.


Oz Kiwi is run by volunteers and entirely funded by public donations. Please consider donating to help Oz Kiwi lobby on behalf of New Zealanders living in Australia.

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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.

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