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Other Visas

Resident Return Visas (155 and 157)

The holder of a permanent residency visa is the holder of a permit allowing him or her to depart and re-enter Australia for 5 years from the date the visa is granted. It may be that such a person applies to become an Australian citizen (so long as all the criteria are met). However, if the person has not become a citizen after the 5-year period has expired, there will clearly be a problem if he or she leaves Australia and then seeks to re-enter.

The solution is the Resident Return visa. This may be a 5-year (155) visa, or a 3-month (157) visa, depending mainly on the period of time the individual has spent in Australia during the previous 5 years. In essence, if a person has lived in Australia lawfully and permanently for at least 2 years out of the previous 5 years he or she will be able to apply for the 155 visa; if for at least 1 day but less than 2 years the application is for the 157 visa. Note that both visas allow the person returning to do so at any time before the visa expires for indefinite stay in Australia.

From mid-August 2001 it is possible for applications for a 155 or 157 visa to be lodged via the internet. Persons granted a visa will have to attend a DIMA office though to obtain the visa label.

Bridging Visas

A few words about bridging visas. A non-citizen who is in Australia without a current visa is unlawful and must be detained. A bridging visa confers lawful status to such a person when:

An application for a substantive visa (meaning any visa that is not a bridging visa or a criminal justice visa) is being processed, where the application is being processed in Australia, or
Arrangements are being made for a person to leave Australia, or
The non-citizen does not have a visa (for example when seeking review of a decision not to grant a visa), and the person does not have to be kept in immigration detention.
It is therefore apparent that a bridging visa is of no enduring benefit to the visa holder, as it simply permits the holder to remain in Australia whilst other matters are proceeding to a conclusion.

Note that a bridging visa that is issued to keep an individual lawful while an application for a substantive visa is being processed will cease to be valid if the application is invalid. A bridging visa will also cease if an application for a substantive visa is refused and the merits review procedure is completed – an applicant wishing to seek judicial review of the application must apply for a further bridging visa.

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The contents of this page are necessarily an abbreviated overview of a very detailed subject. The situation may change as the law can alter quickly and we therefore strongly recommend that you take professional advice about your personal circumstances before placing any reliance on the contents of the website.

Choice Migration Australia Pty Ltd can be contacted by email on info@choicemigration.com.au, by telephone in Australia on 07 5571 0456 (ask for Mofid Bebawy), or by writing to us at PO Box 2121, Southport BC, QLD, 4215 Australia.