Individuals and Travellers

Former Resident visa (subclass 151)

Features

​​This visa allows former permanent residents and certain people who served in the Australian Defence Force to live in Australia as permanent residents.

Requirements

You might be able to get this visa if you:

  • spent nine years in Australia as a permanent resident before you turned 18 years of age
  • served at least three months in the Australian Defence Force before 19 January 1981.

About this visa

The Former Resident visa (subclass 151) allows you to live in Au​stralia as a permanent resident if you:

  • spent most of your formative years in Australia as a permanent resident
  • served in the Australian Defence Force before 19 January 1981.

This visa is a permanent visa.

You can include members of your family unit in your application if they meet requirements.

You can apply for this visa when you are in or outside Australia:

Applying in Australia: If you apply in Australia, you must be in Australia when the visa is granted.

Applying outside Australia: If you apply outside Australia, you must be outside Australia when your visa is granted.

What this visa lets you do

The Former Resident visa lets you stay in Australia indefinitely as an Australian permanent resident. It is a permanent visa with a travel facility that lets you travel to and from Australia for up to five years from the date it is granted. Once the travel facility expires you will need to apply for, and be granted, another permanent visa if you want to leave Australia and return as a permanent resident.

For more information about being an Australian permanent resident, including eligibility for government services and benefits, refer to Australian permanent resident.

Before you apply

Your passport

You need a valid passport or other travel document for this visa. If you plan to get a new passport, you should do so before applying for your visa. If you get a new passport after you have lodged your application, give the details of your new passport to one of our offices.

If you are granted a visa, it will be linked to your passport. If you get a new passport before your visa ends, you should let us know to have your visa linked to your new passport.

Cost

The visa application charges are listed in Fees and charges.

Other costs

You might have to pay other costs, such as the costs of health assessments, police certificates, or any other certificates or tests. You are responsible for making the necessary arrangements.

Visa applicants

This information tells you what you need to do to apply for a Former Resident visa (subclass 151).

Who could get this visa

You might be able to get this visa if you meet:

  • either the ‘long residence’ requirements or the ‘defence service’ requirements
  • health and character requirements.

If you are in Australia when you apply, you must hold a current substantive visa or apply for this visa within 12 months of your substantive visa expiring.

The last visa you held must not have been a Transit visa (subclass 771).

We recommend that you only apply for this visa if you believe you are likely to be successful. If your application is refused or withdrawn, we will not refund you the cost of the visa application.

Long residence

To meet the long residence requirement for this visa you must:

  • have spent nine years in Australia as a permanent resident before you turned 18 years of age
  • be younger than 45 years of age
  • have never been an Australian citizen
  • have kept close business, cultural or personal ties with Australia during the period you have been living overseas.

Proof of your close business, cultural or personal ties with Australia could include:

  • regular correspondence with relatives or friends in Australia
  • frequent visits to Australia
  • owning property in Australia
  • active business interests.

Defence service

One of the following conditions must apply for you to meet the defence service requirement for this visa:

  • you completed at least three months of continuous service in the Australian Defence Force
  • you have been discharged from the Australian Defence Force before you completed three months of service, after you became medically unfit because of that service.

Service in the Australian Defence Force means that you served in one of the following forces:

  • Military Forces of the Commonwealth under a notice served under section 26 of the National Service Act 1951 as in force at any time before 26 November 1964
  • Permanent Forces before 19 January 1981. This includes serving as a member of the armed forces of a foreign country on secondment to or on duty with the Permanent Forces, if you were a permanent resident of Australia during your period of service.

Health requirements

You must meet certain health requirements. The results are usually valid for 12 months. Do not arrange a health examination until we ask you to.

This also applies to all the members of your family unit included in your application, whether they are migrating or not.

Character requirements

You must meet certain character requirements. You must be prepared to provide a police certificate from each country you have lived in for 12 months or more during the past 10 years after you turned 16 years of age. Do not arrange for police certificates until we ask you to.

This applies to everyone listed in your application, whether they are migrating or not.

Debts to the Australian Government

You must have no outstanding debts to the Australian Government or have arranged to repay any outstanding debts to the Australian Government before this visa can be granted.

Including family in your application

You can include the following people in your visa application at the time of lodgement:

  • your partner
  • your child/step-child or your partner’s child/step-child.

For detailed information regarding who you can include in your application see including family members in your application.

The application must include documentary evidence of their relationship to you.​​

Members of your family unit must be able to show that they meet health and character requirements.​

How to apply

This information explains what you need to do to apply for a Former Resident visa (subclass 151). You and anyone included in your application can apply for this visa when you are in or outside of Australia.

In Australia:
If you apply in Australia, you must be in Australia when the visa is granted.

Outside Australia:
If you apply outside Australia, you must be outside Australia when the visa is granted.

Prepare your documents

You need to provide documents to prove the claims you make in the application. The documents are listed in the Document checklist.

Some documents could take some time to obtain. You should have them ready when you lodge the application to reduce any delays in processing.

Complete the application forms

You must complete the application form:

Lodge your application at the Perth office in Western Australia. Provide all relevant documents and pay the visa application charge when you apply.

You can pay by credit card, bank cheque or money order made payable to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

More information

Please refer to preparing your application, for information on:

  • certifying and translating documents into English
  • communicating with us
  • using a migration agent
  • authorising another person to receive information from us
  • receiving assistance with your application.​​​​

After you have applied

After you have lodged your application and documents, we will acknowledge that we have received your information.

Wait for a decision

We have visa processing times for each visa.

Your application could take longer if you need character or health checks (including x-rays), if you need to provide more information, or if your application is incomplete.

Outside Australia:
If you apply for this visa from outside Australia, do not make arrangements to travel to Australia until you are advised in writing that you have been granted a visa. Wait for a decision from us before you leave your job, sell your home or book your travel.

In Australia:
If you apply for this visa in Australia, you could be eligible for a Bridging visa that allows you to stay in the country lawfully while your application is processed. If you are given a Bridging visa A, you can apply for a Bridging visa B (BVB) to travel outside Australia while you wait for a decision.

Provide more information

You can provide more information to us, at any time until a decision is made on the application. If you want to correct information you provided, use:

We could also ask you for more information. You will have to respond by a set date. After that date, we can make a decision about your application using the information that we have.

If another person gives us information that could result in you being refused a visa, we will usually give you the opportunity to comment on the information.

You might also be interviewed. If you are asked to attend an interview in person, bring your passport or other identification and any requested documents to the interview.

Report changes in circumstances

You must tell us if your circumstances change. This includes a new residential address, a new passport, or a pregnancy, birth, divorce, separation, marriage, de facto relationship or death in your family.

Please report changes in your circumstances via ImmiAccount. If you are not able to use ImmiAccount, you can use the following forms:

If you do not provide us with the details of any new passport issued to you, you could experience significant delays at the airport and may be denied permission to board your plane.​​

Withdrawing your application

​You can withdraw the application at any time before we make a decision about it. To do this, send us a letter or email to ask for the withdrawal. Your request must include your full name and date of birth. You should also include your file reference number, client ID, or a Transaction Reference Number.

​​​All applicants 18 years of age or older, wishing to withdraw, must sign the request for withdrawal.​​​​​​

Visa decision

If the visa is granted, we will let you know:

  • when you can use the visa
  • the visa grant number
  • any conditions attached to the visa.​

This letter will also tell you the date by which you must enter Australia.

If the visa is not granted, we will let you know:

  • why the visa was refused
  • your review rights (if any). Where applicable, your sponsor can apply for the decision to be reviewed
  • the time limit for lodging an appeal.

Document checklist

You need to provide documents to support your application for this visa. We can make a decision using the information you provide when you lodge your application. It is in your interest to provide as much information as possible with your application.

Provide certified copies of original documents. Do not include original documents unless we specifically ask for them. Police certificates should be original documents. Documents not in English must be accompanied by accredited English translations.

Use this checklist to make sure your application is complete.

Forms

  • Form 47SVApplication for Special Migration to Australia
  • For any member of your family unit included in the application who is 18 years of age or older and is not your partner:
    • Form 47a Details of child or other dependent family member aged 18 years or over (238 kB PDF).

Charges

Receiving assistance

      

Your identity

  • Certified copies of the biographical pages of the current passports or travel documents of all people included in the application (these are the pages with the holder's photo and personal details and the issue/expiry dates).
  • Two recent passport-sized photographs (45 mm x 35 mm) of each person included in the application.
    • These photographs should be of the head and shoulders only against a plain background.
    • Print the name of the person on the back of each photograph.
  • If your name has changed or the name of anyone included in your application has changed: a certified copy of evidence of the name change.

Your relationships

  • Certified copies of marriage certificates or relationship registrations for you and anyone else included in your application, even if they are not joining you in Australia.
  • If you are living in a de facto relationship: independent evidence that your relationship is genuine and continuing (for example, joint bank account statements, billing accounts in joint names or joint ownership of major assets).
  • If you are living in a de facto relationship: independent evidence that your relationship is genuine and continuing (for example, joint bank account statements, billing accounts in joint names or joint ownership of major assets).

Your children

  • Certified copies of birth certificates or the family book showing the names of both parents of all your dependent children.
  • If any dependent child included in the application is adopted: certified copies of the adoption papers.
  • If you want to bring a child younger than 18 years of age with you to Australia, and that child’s other parent is not included in the application: documentary evidence that you have the legal right to bring that child to Australia, such as:

The character requirement

  • If anyone included in the application has served in the armed forces of any country: certified copies of their military service record or discharge papers.

English language ability

You should have at least functional English.

Applicants and dependants (18 years and older) who cannot provide evidence of having at least functional English must pay a second instalment of the visa application charge. If they have less than functional English, provide a statement indicating your intention to pay the second instalment of the visa application charge.

To prove you have functional English you must provide evidence of one of the following:

  • You are the holder of a valid passport issued by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand, or the Republic of Ireland and you are a citizen of that country.
  • An International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test result of an average band score of at least 4.5 based on the four test components of speaking, reading, listening and writing. Your test must have been completed within 12 months of visa application lodgement or can be completed during visa application processing.
  • A Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT) test result of a total band score of at least 32 based on the four test components of speaking, reading, writing and listening. Your test must have been completed within 12 months of visa application lodgement or can be completed during visa application processing.
  • A Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic test result of an overall band score of at least 30 based on the four test components of speaking, reading, writing and listening. Your test must have been completed within 12 months of visa application lodgement or can be completed during visa application processing.
  • A Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test result of an overall band score of at least 147 based on the four test components of speaking, reading, writing and listening and the test must have been taken on or after 1 January 2015. Your test must have been completed within 12 months of visa application lodgement or can be completed during visa application processing.
  • A positive assessment by an Adult Migrant English Program service provider in Australia that you have functional English.
  • Completed all years of primary education and at least three years of secondary education in an educational institution in or outside Australia and all instructions were in English.
  • Completed at least five years of secondary education in an institution in or outside Australia and all instructions were in English.
  • Successfully completed at least one year of full-time study or equivalent part-time study towards a degree, higher degree, diploma, or associate diploma in an institution in Australia and all instructions were in English.
  • Completed a degree, a higher degree, a diploma or a trade certificate that required at least two years of full-time study or training in an institution in or outside Australia and all instructions were in English.
  • The functional level of the Australian Assessment of Communicative English Skills (ACCESS) test certified by the relevant testing body. Your test must have been completed within 12 months of visa application lodgement or can be completed during visa application processing.

Other documents

If you are applying against the “long residence” requirement, evidence of your ties with Australia and that you have kept these ties while you have been living overseas:

  • regular correspondence with relatives or friends in Australia
  • frequent visits to Australia for business, cultural or personal reasons
  • economic or business interests in Australia, with proof of an ongoing and active interest.

If you are applying against the “Defence service” requirement, evidence of service with the Australian Defence Forces before 1981 (if applicable).

Visa holders

This information is for people who have already been granted a Former Resident visa (subclass 151). It explains your rights and obligations.

You can use Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) for free to check your visa details and entitlements.

The Former Resident visa lets you stay in Australia indefinitely as an Australian permanent resident. It is a permanent visa with a travel facility that lets you travel to and from Australia for up to five years from the date it is granted. Once the travel facility expires you will need to apply for, and be granted, another permanent visa if you want to leave Australia and return as a permanent resident.

For more information about being an Australian permanent resident, including eligibility for government services and benefits, refer to Australian permanent resident.

Your obligations

You and your family must comply with all visa conditions and Australian laws.

Arrival conditions

You must enter Australia before the date given to you in your visa grant.

Your family might not be allowed to arrive in Australia before you. We will tell you if this is the case.

Report changes in circumstances

You must tell us if your circumstances change.  This includes a new residential address, a new passport, or a pregnancy, birth, divorce, separation, marriage, de facto relationship or death in your family.

Please report changes in your circumstances via ImmiAccount.  If you are not able to use ImmiAccount, you can use the following forms:

If you do not provide us with the details of any new passport issued to you, you could experience significant delays at the airport and may be denied permission to board your plane.
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Estimate the cost of your visa

Will the primary applicant be in Australia when the application is lodged?
* Price will be displayed in Australian dollars unless changed.
The following Visa Pricing Estimator requires you to answer the questions as accurately as possible to provide you with an estimate for lodging a visa application. The estimator does not include the second instalment of the visa application charge which is payable for some visas. Please note this is an estimate for a visa application, if you have already lodged your application and you want to change/add applicants please refer to the Visa Pricing Table. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection Visa Pricing Estimator will give you an estimate of the charges you may need to pay to lodge a visa application. This is paid after you have made your application but before the visa can be granted. Read the department's full disclaimer. The Commonwealth of Australia does not guarantee the accuracy, currency or completeness of any material in the Visa Pricing Estimator.