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I have an Australian PR that has 'Must Not Arrive After' as '12 December 2022'. I have a 19 hour transit on November 26th in Singapore.

Am I eligible for VFTF given the expiry date is only 17 days? This website mentions it must be 1 month - https://www.ica.gov.sg/enter-transit-depart/entering-singapore/visa-free-transit-facility

Does that 1 month apply only to visa and not to permanent residency?

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    I don't seen any confusion in the link you posted. It says, "You must have a valid visa*/long-term pass (with a validity of at least 1 month from the date of entry into Singapore under the VFTF) issued by any...". Then it says, "A visa is considered valid so long as it is good for entry into one of the eight countries listed above". Your visa is only good for entry into Australia for 17 days, and not 1 month. Can you travel to Australia using that visa after 12 December 2022? Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 12:08
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    The visa does not expire on 12 December. That's the latest date you are allowed to arrive in Australia.
    – jcm
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 12:09
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    That said, it does cease to be valid if you don't make your first entry on or before that date.
    – jcm
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 12:10
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    @ThomasCruise PR has indefinite validity. It doesn't technically expire. That's where the confusion is. Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 12:21
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    Just to clarify, in your case you may not need VFTF. VFTF is needed only if you have to actually enter Singapore (exit the international area of the airport), either because you have separate tickets AND the airlines involved do not allow transit in separate tickets, or because you actually want to go visit Singapore. If you can stay airside (single ticket or separate tickets but airlines allowing airside connections), then you can transit without a visa as long as you have a flight within 34 hours and the documents allowing you to enter your final destination.
    – jcaron
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 13:09

2 Answers 2

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The spirit of the law here is clear: you are a permanent resident of Australia and are returning home, so it's exceedingly unlikely that you would choose to abscond during your transit and become an illegal immigrant in Singapore, and thus VFTF applies.

The letter of the law, unfortunately, was clearly not written with your scenario in mind.

The good news is that your connection in Singapore is under 24 hours, meaning it can be completed as a "normal" transit without VFTF. This means the airline will have no problems with your itinerary, and you can plead your case directly with immigration on arrival.

You can also contact ICA by email/their website and ask for written confirmation that you are eligible for VFTF. In my experience they are amazingly responsive and helpful, and you're likely to get a response within a day or two.

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  • About that "under 24 hours", is there a link to that? I can't find it. Can I leave the airport without a visa if the transit is under 24 hours and both flights on the same ticket/PNR? Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 13:49
  • @Mix The airline will let you board the plane if you have a connection of under 24 hours in Singapore, which you can spend in the transit zone. Whether Immigration grants you VFTF or not is a separate question. Just mail ICA, they'll let you know. Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 13:59
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To clarify the various dates listed on an Australian permanent residence visa:

Must not arrive after date

You must enter Australia before this date. As long as you enter Australia before this date you are allowed to be in Australia for the stay period listed for your visa.

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For permanent residents (including resident return visa holders), this is the date the travel facility of your visa ends. That means if you depart Australia after this date you will require a Resident Return Visa (subclass 155 and 157) to re-enter Australia. Departing Australia without a resident return visa can impact your permanent residency requirements for citizenship.

Period of stay

Tells you how long you are allowed to stay in Australia on your visa.

Visa expiry date

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For permanent visa holders only. If you are:

  • Outside Australia, this is the date that your travel facility ends.

You will need to apply for a Resident Return visa if you do not return to Australia before the expiry date.

Holders of a permanent resident visa, who depart Australia will also have VEVO show an ‘Expiry’ date. This date is the date the travel facility is due to end. You will need to apply for a Resident Return visa if the travel facility date passes while you are outside Australia.

Source: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/already-have-a-visa/check-visa-details-and-conditions/check-conditions-online/visa-holders

My visa lists a 'Must not arrive after date' that is the same as the date after which I need to apply for a resident return visa if I wanted to leave and reenter Australia:

Date of grant 20 March 2018
Must not arrive after 20 March 2023
Length of stay Indefinite from the date of each arrival
Travel Unlimited until 20 March 2023. For travel after this date, apply for a Resident Return visa: www.homeaffairs.gov.au/RRV

If your visa lists the same 12 December 2022 date for 'Must not arrive after' and 'Travel' then you might not be eligible for VFTF.

Obtaining a resident return visa would solve your problem. I am not sure whether you are allowed to apply for one before your travel facility ends but it's worth checking out. The immi page for resident return visas lists a processing time of less than one day for most applications.

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