AUSTRALIAN
CITIZENSHIP

You can become a citizen of Australia in different ways as long as you meet the criteria. Conferral and descent are the most common ways to apply for the Australian citizenship.

Who is eligible?

You may apply for Australian Citizenship if you:

  • Are an Australian Permanent Resident, or
  • Are an eligible New Zealand citizen, or
  • Are a partner or a spouse of an Australian Citizen, or
  • Are a refugee or humanitarian migrant, or
  • Are a child aged 16 or 17, or
  • Are a child 15 years or younger applying with a parent or guardian, or
  • Are a migrant under Commonwealth Child Migration Scheme

Pathways

Permanent Residents/ NZ Citizens

By Conferral

Permanent Residents/ NZ Citizens

By Conferral
Learn More

Person 60 years or over

By Conferral

Person 60 years or over

By Conferral
Learn More

Born to an Australian Citizen

By Descent

Born to an Australian Citizen

By Descent
Learn More

Permanent Residents/ New Zealand Citizens

By Conferral

You can apply for Australian citizenship under this category if you are a permanent resident of Australia or an eligible New Zealand citizen when you apply and when the Department decides your application. You must also be in Australia when the decision is made on your application.

You must also have spent time in Australia and know about the country and also intend to live in Australia or maintain a lasting link with Australia while overseas.

Eligibility

Permanent Resident

you and everyone else included in the application must be a permanent resident.

Eligible NZ Citizen

you are considered an eligible New Zealand citizen if you arrived in Australia on a New Zealand passport and you:

  • were in Australia on 26 Feb 2001; or
  • were in Australia for 12 months in the 2 years before 26 Feb 2001; or
  • were assessed as a protected Special Category visa (SCV) holder and were issued a Centrelink certificate that states you were living in Australia at a particular time

Residence Requirement

at the time you apply you must have been:

  • living in Australia on a valid visa for the past 4 years
  • a permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen for the past 12 months
  • away from Australia for not more than 12 months in total in the past 4 years, including no more than 90 days in total in the past 12 month

Children under 16 years of age do not need to meet this residence requirement, but must be permanent residents.

Character requirement

you and any family members included in the application with you must meet Australia’s character requirement. 

Knowledge of Australia

Most applicants are required to sit the citizenship test to demonstrate what ti means to be an Australian citizen. You must score 75% or more in this test. At the time of appointment, you must know about:

  • Australia and it’s people
  • Australia’s democratic beliefs, rights and liberties
  • Government and the law in Australia

Language Requirement

you need a basic knowledge of English language to become an Australian citizen. If you score 75% or above on the citizenship test, then you meet the language requirements.

Close and continuing link to Australia

you must intend to live in Australia or maintain a close and continuing association with Australia while overseas. The factors that can be considered as you close link can be:

  • a child who is an Australian citizen
  • a partner who is an Australian citizen and your time together
  • extended family in Australia
  • time spent in Australia
  • a bank account in Australia
  • a job in Australia
  • paid income tax in Australia
  • a property in Australia

Application

The application for citizenship costs AUD 285. Children under 16 years of age applying with a parent are exempt.

Application

you can apply either onshore or offshore, but you must be in Australia at the time of the decision. After the initial assessment, you will be asked to come for an interview and sit the citizenship test. The outcome of this will be communicated in writing.

If the outcome is successful, you will receive an invitation to a ceremony, generally within 6 months of approval.

Processing

The Department of Home Affairs provides below estimates for processing timeframes:

From date of application to decision

  • 75% of applications in 20 months
  • 90% of applications in 29 months

From date of approval to ceremony

  • 75% of applications in 8 months
  • 90% of applications in 8 months

From date of application to ceremony

  • 75% of applications in 19 months
  • 90% of applications in 25 months

The above timeframes are estimates, there are some factors that could affect your application and may end up taking longer. Some of these factors are:

  • Whether your application is complete, including all supporting documents
  • How promptly you respond when the Department asks for more information/ documents
  • The time it takes to check all the information
  • The time it takes for information from other agencies

Persons 60 years or over

By Conferral

You can apply for Australian citizenship under this category if you are a permanent resident of Australia or an eligible New Zealand citizen when you apply and when the Department decides your application. You must also be in Australia when the decision is made on your application.

You must also intend to live in Australia or maintain a lasting link with Australia while overseas.

You do not need to sit the citizenship test.

Eligibility

Permanent Resident

you and everyone else included in the application must be a permanent resident.

Eligible NZ Citizen

you are considered an eligible New Zealand citizen if you arrived in Australia on a New Zealand passport and you:

  • were in Australia on 26 Feb 2001 as a Special Category Visa (444) holder; or
  • were outside Australia on 26 Feb 2001 but in the 2 years before that date you were in Australia as a Special Category Visa (444) holder for at least a year; or
  • hold a Centrelink certificate issued before 26 Feb 2004 that states you were living in Australia at a particular time

Residence Requirement

at the time you apply you must have been:

  • living in Australia on a valid visa for the past 4 years
  • a permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen for the past 12 months
  • away from Australia for not more than 12 months in total in the past 4 years, including no more than 90 days in total in the past 12 month

Children under 16 years of age do not need to meet this residence requirement, but must be permanent residents.

Character requirement

you and any family members included in the application with you must meet Australia’s character requirement. 

Knowledge of Australia

You may have an interview to confirm your identity and also demonstrate that you understand the nature of application you are making. You do not have to sit the citizenship test.

You can also bring a friend or a family member if you need an interpreter or you can book an interpreter at your own cost for the appointment.

Age Requirement

you must be aged 60 years or older to apply for Australian citizenship under this category.

Close and continuing link to Australia

you must intend to live in Australia or maintain a close and continuing association with Australia while overseas. The factors that can be considered as you close link can be:

  • a child who is an Australian citizen
  • a partner who is an Australian citizen and your time together
  • extended family in Australia
  • time spent in Australia
  • a bank account in Australia
  • a job in Australia
  • paid income tax in Australia
  • a property in Australia

Application

The application for citizenship costs AUD 180. For some concession holders, this fee is reduced to just AUD 20. Children under 16 years of age applying with a parent are exempt.

Application

you can apply either onshore or offshore, but you must be in Australia at the time of the decision. After the initial assessment, you will be asked to come for an interview. You will not sit the citizenship test. The outcome of this will be communicated in writing.

If the outcome is successful, most applicants will receive an invitation to a ceremony, generally within 6 months of approval. If you are not required to attend a citizenship ceremony, your citizenship certificate will be sent to you at the same time as your approval letter.

Processing

The Department of Home Affairs provides below estimates for processing timeframes:

From date of application to decision

  • 75% of applications in 20 months
  • 90% of applications in 29 months

From date of approval to ceremony

  • 75% of applications in 8 months
  • 90% of applications in 8 months

From date of application to ceremony

  • 75% of applications in 19 months
  • 90% of applications in 25 months

The above timeframes are estimates, there are some factors that could affect your application and may end up taking longer. Some of these factors are:

  • Whether your application is complete, including all supporting documents
  • How promptly you respond when the Department asks for more information/ documents
  • The time it takes to check all the information
  • The time it takes for information from other agencies

Born to an Australian Citizen

By Descent

You can apply for Australian citizenship under this category if you were born outside Australia and one  or both of your parents at the time of your birth was also an Australian citizen at that time.

You must have been born outside Australia to become eligible to apply by descent.

Eligibility

Born outside Australia

you must be born outside Australia on or after 26 Jan 1949 and one or both your parents was also an Australian citizen at the time of your birth.

Your parent will also need to have spent at least 2 years lawfully in Australia before you apply, if they became an Australian citizen:

  • by descent; or
  • by adoption outside Australia

Born through International surrogacy

International surrogacy is an arrangement involving a surrogate mother who lives overseas and the arrangement can be altruistic (not for profit) or commercial. Commercial surrogacy arrangements are illegal in most Australian states and territories.

To apply for a child under this category, you must provide:

  • Surrogate mother’s identity and consent
  • The surrogacy contract
  • Responsible parent’s consent and signature
  • DNA test results, if asked

Character Requirement

you and any family members included in the application with you must meet Australia’s character requirement. 

Application

The application for citizenship costs AUD 230. For each sibling who applies at the same time as you, the cost is AUD 95

Application

you must be outside Australia when you apply for citizenship under this category. After the initial assessment, you will be notified of the outcome via email.

If the outcome is successful, you become an Australian citizen on the day your application is approved. You will be issued an Australian citizen by descent extract that can be used when applying for an Australian passport.

You do not need to attend a citizenship ceremony.

Processing

The Department of Home Affairs provides below estimates for processing timeframes:

From date of application to decision

  • 75% of applications in 74 days
  • 90% of applications in 4 months

At Way2Oz Migration and Education Services, we can provide you with a clear advice on whether an application is feasible. Some of the services we provide are:

  • Initial consultation on the viability of your application
  • Review of all supporting documentation
  • Overview of process, timescales and documents
  • Advise and assistance throughout the entire application process

There are many reasons you may wish to become a citizen of Australia. Commonly gaining citizenship can allow you to vote, apply for public services and work in the armed forces. It also gives applicants the right to the country’s passport and facilitating easier travel.

While you are granted entitlements as a citizen of Australia there are important responsibilities you must accept too. Feel free to flip through below slides to make yourself aware of these.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Behave in accordance with Australia's democratic beliefs
Respects the rights and liberties of Australia
Follow and obey the law
Vote in federal and state or territory elections, and in referenda
Defend Australia if necessary
Serve on jury duty if summoned

ENTITLEMENTS

Apply for an Australian passport
Leave and re-enter Australia as many times as you want
Ask for help from an Australian consulate if in trouble overseas
Vote in federal, state or territory elections
Vote in a Constitutional referendum or plebiscite
Seek election to parliament, if you are aged 18 years or over and are not dual citizen
Register the birth of your children in another country as an Australian citizen

Need help? Call our expert team at (61) 469 839 836

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