resident return visa

New Zealand citizens who entered Australia before 1 September 1994 may be eligible for a Resident Return Visa (RRV).

A RRV is essentially a ‘travel facility’ granted to Australian permanent residents which allows them to enter and exit Australia.

Although you may not realise it, if you’re a New Zealand citizen who visited or spent time in Australia before 1 September 1994, you may be classed as a ‘former Australian permanent resident’. And because of this, you might be eligible to apply for a RRV.

Confusing, yes, but stick with us.

RRV applications can only be made individually. Dependent children and partners will need to make their own applications. This might mean that an RRV is not the best visa option for you.

If you’re eligible for an RRV, but your partner and children are not, they can apply for a different type of permanent residency visa later, such as an Australian partner visa. The Government application fee for partner visas is much higher than it is for 461 New Zealand family relationship visas, but the bonus is that you’ll all be on a pathway to PR.

Alternatively, you may all be eligible to apply for another option such as the 189 visa (New Zealand stream).

RRV eligibility for New Zealand citizens

To meet the requirements for this visa type, you must have:

  • Entered Australia before 1 September 1994
  • Must have a valid reason for then leaving Australia
  • Must be residing in Australia at time of application
  • You’ll need to show strong ‘ties of benefit’ to Australia

You might even be eligible if:

  • You only visited for a holiday or short trip
  • You were a child travelling on your parent’s passport

What are ties of benefit?

You’ll need to show that you have very strong ties to Australia. If you’re already living here or have family members living here, this should not be difficult.

Everyone’s individual circumstances are different, but ties of benefit can include:

Business links: You may own or run a business in Australia and employ people.

Personal ties: You could be in a relationship with an Australian citizen or have children living here. Perhaps you coach a local rugby team.

Employment ties: You might be employed here in a highly skilled role and be working full-time.

Compelling reasons for absence

If you were away from Australia for more than 5 years (continuous), you’ll need to provide a compelling reason for that absence.

It’s not necessary to give compelling reasons for all absences, just long periods over 5 years.

There’s no hard and fast definition of ‘compelling’ for migration purposes, but common reasons include:

  • Work and study commitments outside of Australia. You may be able to demonstrate that the experience you gained overseas is necessary for the work you do in Australia.
  • You were away from Australia due to an important personal event.
  • You were in a relationship with an Australian citizen and both lived overseas for a while.
  • The death of a family member, or severe illness, kept you from returning.

The key here is really to show that you intended to return to Australia permanently and that you were here before, prior to 1 September 1994.

It will be down to your Case Officer to make a determination on whether the reasons for your absence are compelling enough and whether you do indeed have strong ties of benefit to Australia.

Free Assessment

The easiest way to check your eligibility is through a free assessment with a Registered Migration Agent. If you’re not eligible for an RRV, there may be other Australian residency pathways open to you.

Split payment options available and may vary depending on the type of visa being applied for.

Disclaimer: The information displayed on these pages is intended to provide a general overview of some Australian visa types. It is not a substitute for tailored, professional advice relating to your own personal circumstances. There are dozens of Australian visa subclasses; we refer to only a narrow selection here. Migration policies and regulations change frequently. We are not responsible for any errors or omissions relating to the generic information supplied here. You should always seek up-to-date advice from a Registered Migration Agent or refer to the Department of Home Affairs website prior to lodging an application. For more information visit