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Permanent Residency (PR) Settlement

What does permanent residency mean?

Permanent residency means that if you are in Australia, you will continue to have the right to remain in Australia indefinitely. When you are granted permanent residency, you will usually also be granted a 5-year visa. This visa allows you to travel in and out of Australia for a 5-year period. The 5-year visa period does not affect your permanent residency rights. For example, if you are a permanent resident, and your 5-year visa expires on 1 January 2024, you are not in Australia illegally if you remain beyond that date. However, if you leave and want to travel back to Australia after 1 January 2024, you will need to obtain a 5-year visa renewal, known as a Resident Return Visa (RRV). If you make the application for the RRV on 1 January 2024, you must have stayed in Australia for at least 2 years between 1 January 2019 and 1 January 2024 to have the visa renewed for a further 5 years (‘the 2 out of 5 requirement’). If you have stayed for less than 2 years, your RRV may be renewed for 1 year if you can demonstrate beneficial ties to Australia. Beneficial ties may include family, business, employment, investment, social and other ties to Australia. You may continue to be granted 1-year visas if you continue to have ties until you can satisfy ‘the 2 out of 5 requirement’.


The basic criteria to be granted Australian Citizenship are as follows:

  • Commenced residence in Australia at least 4 years before lodgement; and
  • Have resided in Australia for 3 out of the last 4 years; and
  • Have resided in Australia for 9 out of the last 12 months; and
  • Have resided in Australia for at least 1 year as a permanent resident in Australia; and
  • No period of unlawfulness (ie. Not having a visa) during last 4 years’ residence in Australia;


  • Demonstrate your identity should the Department of Home Affairs (the Department) have any doubts; and
  • Meet the character test.


Permanent residents are eligible for benefits under the public health scheme, Medicare. If you do not already have a Medicare card, please see for details about how to apply.

Centrelink Payments

You must wait two (2) years before you can receive most Centrelink income support payments. Centrelink is the government organisation    that makes social security payments. “Income support” is government welfare assistance that is enough to live on. The payments with a waiting period include unemployment and sickness benefits, income support payments for students and a number of other payments.

Special Benefit is the only form of government welfare assistance which might be payable to people during the two (2) year waiting period. However, Special Benefit is only available to new migrants on a very restricted basis – that is, if there has been a substantial change in circumstances beyond the person’s control.  Inability to find employment or running out of money are not sufficient reasons to qualify for Special Benefit.

Living Away from Home Allowance (LAFHA)

Normally, your entitlement to LAFHA will cease upon applying for or being granted permanent residence. Please discuss with your employer to assess whether you are still eligible for LAFHA now you are a permanent resident.

Driver’s Licence

If you are still using an overseas driver’s licence, some states require you to convert to an Australian licence within a specified period. Please contact your local licencing authority for further details.

Checking your Visa Status

From 1 September 2015, the Department ceased issuing visa labels. You can provide evidence that you have the authority to travel to, enter, and/or remain in Australia by showing your passport that is linked to your electronic visa record. You can use  Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) or the myVEVO mobile app for free to check your visa details and conditions.

Change of details


If you obtain a new passport, please notify the Department as your permanent visa is linked to your current passport –


You are not required to notify the Department of a change of address now that you are a permanent resident.

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