Expat FAQ

Do you have a general question on expatriation? FAQs give you answers to the most frequent questions: Departure.

Australia: How do I obtain a permanent resident visa?

A Certificate of Evidence of Resident Status (CERS) verifies your eligibility to live and work in Australia. CERS is useful as an alternative to the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) system for permanent residents who arrived in Australia prior to the mid-1980s. You may not use your CERS to apply for an Australian passport.

Citizens of New Zealand may apply for a Certificate of Status for New Zealand Citizens in Australia (CSNZCA). However, New Zealand citizens who hold a SCV do not need to apply for a CSNZCA to work in Australia or remain in the country indefinitely.

Resident Return and Five Year Resident Return Visas

If you are a present or former permanent resident of Australia who lived in Australia during at least 9 of your first 18 years, or if you completed at least 3 months of service in the Australian armed forces before January 19, 1981, you may qualify for a Resident Return visa to reside in Australia permanently. You may also include your spouse or de facto partner and dependent children under the same visa application. This visa allows you to work and study in Australia without restriction. You are also eligible to receive subsidized healthcare under Australian Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), draw social security payments and eventually earn Australian citizenship status. You may also sponsor other applicants for permanent resident status, subject to waiting periods.

If you are a permanent resident and plan to travel outside of Australia, you should obtain a Five Year Resident Return Visa (Subclass 155). This visa allows you to travel to and from Australia without restriction during a five-year period while retaining your permanent resident status. You should apply for the visa before leaving Australia.


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