RRV or the new visa option?

Before applying for a Resident Return Visa (RRV), or the new visa option, you need to consider your family situation. Do you need to sponsor family members? Are your children about to start university?

Resident Return Visa

If you entered Australia as a New Zealand citizen prior to 1 September 1994 you are eligible to apply for a Resident Return Visa (RRV) provided you are now residing in Australia.

You cannot include your children or partner on your RRV application, they can submit their own application if eligible. Otherwise, you’ll need to sponsor them for a permanent visa. To be sponsored, children must be aged under 25, in full time study and financially dependent upon the sponsoring parent. There must also be no more than a six month gap between leaving school and commencing full time study.

Fees for RRV and sponsorship:

  • RRV application fee $360
  • partner sponsor fee is $6,865
  • dependent child included on the partner application, $3,435 if aged 18 to 24 and $1,720 if aged under 18
  • If you are only sponsoring a dependent children the fee is $2,370 per child.

New pathway to PR for New Zealanders

The new pathway for New Zealanders to gain permanent residence comes into effect as of 1 July 2017. To be eligible for the new visa pathway, non-protected special category visa holders (SCVs) must:

  • have arrived in Australia after 26th February 2001, but on or before 19th February 2016
  • have been resident in Australia for the five years
  • have had a taxable income of more than $53,900 in each of the last five years
  • meet the standard health, character and security checks.

Fees for the new visa:

  • primary applicant $3,600
  • partner on the same application $1,800
  • dependent children aged 18-24 $1,800
  • children under 18 for $900

New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship visa (461)

Family relationship 461 visas are only granted to family members of Special Category Visa holders. Once you become a permanent resident you cannot renew a 461 visa. You will need to sponsor your family for a permanent visa when the 461 visa is due to expire.

HELP loans

If your child is due to begin university in the next couple of years bear in mind that becoming a permanent resident means they cannot access a HELP loan until they become a citizen.

You must decide what is best option for your family given the cost, time taken to process the new visa, be granted citizenship including attending a citizenship ceremony. 

Citizenship processing time

Once you are granted a permanent visa you can apply for citizenship after 12 months, provided you have resided in Australia for the four years prior to applying. It can take ten months or more for applications to be approved and attend a citizenship ceremony.

Additional Information

Find out more about Eligibility for a Resident Return Visa and the Additional pathway to permanent residence for New Zealanders. 

Apply for a Resident Return Visa

Apply for citizenship, please note you must be a Protected Special Category Visa-holder or permanent visa-holder in order to apply for citizenship.

Have a question?

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

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