Former Resident visa (subclass 151)


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


You must:

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


  • you must have served at least three months continuous service in the Australian Defence Force before 19 January 1981.

Length of stay



From AUD 3,670

Learn about...​

The process

Processing time

75 per cent of applications processed90 per cent of applications processed
Unavailable due to low volume of applications.Unavailable due to low volume of applications.

Last updated 19 September 2018 (for month ending 31 August 2018)

Processing times vary.

For more information read Global visa and citizenship processing times


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 If your application is refused or withdrawn, we will not refund you the cost of the visa application.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.


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.


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.

The visa

About this visa

    The Former Resident visa (subclass 151) allows you to live in Australia 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.

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


From AUD3670

    You might have to pay additional costs:
  • additional applicant charge 18 and over
  • additional applicant charge under 18
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.

Use the Visa pricing estimator to estimate the cost of your application.

Visa pricing estimator

Note: The estimator does not calculate additional costs.


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

How long your visa lasts

This is a permanent visa.


    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

Your obligations

You and your family must comply with all 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.

Follow these steps

  1. 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.

  2. Gather documents


    Prepare your documents

    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

  3. Apply

    Apply for the visa

      You must complete the application form:
    • Form 47SV - for Subclass 151 Application for special migration to Australia (561 kB PDF)

    • 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.

  4. After you apply

    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, in writing, at any time until a decision is made on the application. If you want to correct information you have previously provided, use:
    • Form 1023 - Notification of incorrect answer(s) (99KB PDF).

    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.

    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.

    Tell us of changes

    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.

    More information is available in the Tell us of changes tab.

Tell us of changes

Changes to your 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:
  • Form 929 - Change of address and/or passport details (86KB PDF) — if you move to a new address or change your passport
  • Form 1022 - Notification of changes in circumstances (77KB PDF) — if there are other changes in your circumstances.

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

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 might 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 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.