Permanent residence visa

The Australian visa system is broadly divided into temporary and permanent visas. Permanent residence visas are your pathway to citizenship, whilst temporary visas only allow you to stay in Australia for a fixed amount of time before you’ll need to either return to your home country or move to a different visa.

When you are granted an Australian permanent residency visa, you receive a five-year travel facility attached to that permanent residency. This allows you to live, work and study in the country, and leave and re-enter as many times as you like. After living in Australia for four years, you may be able to apply for Australian citizenship. Should you qualify, you’ll be able to take a naturalisation test and attend a citizenship ceremony in three to 12 months.

Some common permanent residence visas include:

  • The Skilled Independent Visa (subclass 189)
  • The Skilled Nominated Visa (subclass 190)
  • The Employer Nomination Visa (subclass 186)
  • The Permanent Partner Visa (subclass 100 and 801)

The benefits of Australian permanent residency

Permanent residents enjoy many of the rights and privileges of citizens, including access to free or subsidised health services.

Permanent residents are not entitled to:

  • Vote in federal or state/territory elections unless they were registered on the electoral roll before 1984 (they can vote in some local government elections)
  • An Australian passport

How to get Australian permanent residency

The three common ways of becoming a permanent resident are through:

  • A family-stream permanent visa, such as a Partner Visa, Parent Visa or Child Visa
  • A General Skilled Migration Visa, such as skilled independent 190 or State Nominated visa 190
  • The employer nominated visa subclass 186

The process will depend on the visa that you’re applying for. For example, many visa types require that you start with a provisional/temporary visa before you may apply for the permanent visa.

Some visas cannot be directly applied for and you’ll need to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) and be invited to apply. You may also need to complete a Skill Assessment through a designated skill assessment body, have a job offer, or meet a certain number of points before you’re eligible to apply.

Contact one of our consultants to find out if we can help you apply for permanent residency.

Document requirements for permanent residency in Australia

The requirements you need to meet will largely depend on your visa application. In general, for all types of permanent residence visas for Australia, you will need to have:

  • A valid passport
  • A permanent visa application form
  • An authorised recipient form (if applicable)
  • Recent identity photographs
  • Police clearance (be of good character)
  • Proof of good health (free of disease)
  • Health insurance
  • Proof of financial stability
  • A written invite (if applicable)

Australian permanent residency cost

The cost of a permanent visa depends on what type of visa you are initially applying for, and if there are different streams within the visa category, the fees will vary depending on the type of visa you are applying for and the number of people included in the application.

Contact one of our consultants to find out if we can help you apply for permanent residency.

Age limit for permanent residency in Australia

Generally speaking, most permanent skilled visas have an upper age limit of 44, so you must apply before your 45th birthday. However, there are some exceptions to that rule for high income earners and certain professions. Some permanent visas like Parent and Partner visas do not have an upper age limit.

The Business Innovation and Investment visa requirements state that you should be under 55 years of age, but the nominating State or Territory may waive this requirement if they determine your business or investment contribution will be of exceptional value.

It’s important to note that while some temporary visa categories, such as the Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa, have no age limit, their permanent equivalents do, so you will want to ensure that you qualify for permanent residency before reaching the cut-off age of 45.

Contact one of our consultants to find out if we can help you apply for permanent residency.

Can Australian permanent residency expire?

Technically, if you were to reside in Australia for the rest of your life and never leave your visa would never expire. However, the travel facility attached to the permanent residence visa, which grants you the ability to leave and re-enter Australia, is valid for five years from the date of issue.

If your permanent residence visa has lapsed or is about to and you wish to travel out of the country, you can apply for a Resident Return Visa.


Can permanent residency be revoked?

Yes, this is done at the minister's discretion, for example, if criminal misconduct violates good character standards. In most cases, a thorough investigation and assessment take place before a decision is made.

Permanent residents have the right to appeal a decision to cancel a visa and present their case to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) or the Minister for Home Affairs.


Applying for Australian citizenship

Once you’ve been living in Australia for four years, you may be eligible for citizenship.

To apply for citizenship you will need to:

  • Be a permanent resident at the time of application and decision
  • Be of good character
  • Pass a citizenship test (if under the age of 60)
  • Intend to continue to reside in Australia or maintain a close and continuing association with Australia
  • Satisfy the residence requirement:
    • You must have been living in Australia for four years, and the most recent 12 months of which were as a permanent resident.
    • You cannot have been absent from Australia for more than 12 months during the past 4 years.
    • You cannot have been absent from Australia for more than three months in the most recent 12 months before applying.

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