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This Departmental Instruction replaces the reference to permanent residency contained in DI B22/92 and clarifies the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 and departmental policy in regard to residency requirements for service pension and income support supplement eligibility.


To claim an age, invalidity, partner or carer service pension, or income support supplement, certain residency requirements must be met. The requirements are that a person be an Australian resident and in Australia at the time of lodging a claim.  The only exception to this requirement is where a person is living outside Australia and already receiving a service pension or social security pension and would, if that pension were cancelled, be eligible for an income support pension.

There are additional requirements for Commonwealth and allied veterans and allied mariners.  They are  required to spend a period of 10 years in Australia as an Australian resident before being eligible for an income support pension.  This requirement is waived where a person has refugee status or where a person becomes incapacitated for work while an Australian resident.


The term Australian Resident is defined in section 5 VEA as a person who:

(a)resides in Australia; and

(b)is one of the following:

  1.   an Australian citizen;
  2. the holder of a permanent visa;
  3. the holder of a special category visa who is likely to remain permanently in Australia;
  4. the holder of a special purpose visa who is likely to remain permanently in Australia.

In deciding whether or not a person resides in Australia, regard must be had to:

  • the nature of the accommodation used by the person in Australia; and
  • the nature and extent of the family relationships the person has in Australia; and
  • the nature and extent of the person's employment, business or financial ties with Australia; and
  • the nature and extent of the person's assets located in Australia; and
  • the frequency and duration of the person's travel outside Australia; and
  • any other matter relevant to determining whether the person intends to remain permanently in Australia.


Australian citizen is defined in the Australian Citizenship Act 1948.

Permanent visa, special category visa and special purpose visa have the same meanings as in the Migration Act 1958.

Generally, a visa which allows a person to stay in Australia indefinitely, is a permanent visa.  Generally, a visa to remain in Australia during a specified period, or until a specified event happens, or while the holder has a specified status, is a temporary visa.  An example of a temporary visa is an Extended Eligibility Temporary Visa (EETV) Spouse 820.  A temporary visa does not satisfy the requirements for “Australian resident, except in the cases below.

A special category visa is a temporary visa issued to an applicant who is a New Zealand citizen or an applicant who is a person for whom a visa of another class would be inappropriate.

A special purpose visa is a temporary visa issued to amongst others, members of the defence forces of another country, merchant mariners, royalty and representatives of foreign governments.


Although the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA) is able to provide a list of the various types of visas, it is suggested that in order to ensure that the description of the various visas is up to date, the visa type should be confirmed with DIMA.

Generally permanent residence is not granted earlier than two years from the date of lodgement of an application.  A person is not eligible for service pension until permanent residence status is granted.  There is no exemption from this requirement for a foreign-born partner or carer of an Australian resident.


The General Orders Service Pension will be amended to more accurately reflect the legislation and policy.


Any questions relating to residency should be directed to Ann Donnelly on telephone 06 289 6439, fax 06 289 4853, E Mail C-C-BA-03.




       June 1997