Australian Citizenship Residency Requirement

Residence requirement

The Department of Immigration consider the amount of time you have lived in Australia in the last 4 years. In certain cases, DHA may exempt you from this requirement

Meet the general 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 no more than 12 months in total in the past 4 years, including no more than 90 days in total in the past 12 months

For children 16 or 17 years old, if meeting this requirement would cause significant hardship or disadvantage, you will need to provide proof.

Children under 16 do not need to meet the general residence requirement but must be permanent residents.

COVID-19 update: The Department of Home Affairs have advised that if an applicant is not able to return to Australia due to the current travel restrictions, there are no concessions for those individuals, meaning they are going to have to postpone applying for citizenship applications until they satisfy the citizenshipresidence requirement’.

Online citizenship ceremonies being trialled during coronavirus crisis.

Calculate your permanent residence

Your residency starts on the date:

  • we granted the permanent visa when you were in Australia, or
  • you first entered Australia on a permanent visa
General exemptions

You do not need to meet our residence requirement if you:

  • are under 16 years
  • were born to a former Australian citizen who lost their citizenship before 4 April 2002
  • were born in Papua before 16 September 1975 and one of your parents was born in Australia and was an Australian citizen when you were born

You will need to give us documents that support your claim when you apply.

Legislative Instrument – Australian Citizenship (special residence requirement) Instrument (LIN 21/069) 2021– specifies the activities for subparagraph 22A(1)(a)(i) of the Act, organisations for paragraph 22A(1)(b) of the Act, and kinds of work for paragraph 22B(1)(a) of the Act for a person applying for Australian citizenship by conferral (the applicant) who seeks to meet special residence requirement. All applicants still need to meet section 21 of the citizenship Act.

  • To meet s22A of the Act an applicant must, amongst other requirements, seek to engage in a specified activity of benefit to Australia. The head of, or senior member of a specified organisation must give the Minister written notice stating that the applicant has a reasonable prospect of being engaged in that activity.
  • To meet s22B of the Act the applicant must, amongst other requirements, be engaged in a specified kind of work, engaged in that work at the time of application and must be required to regularly travel outside Australia because of that work.
  • Subsections 22C(1),(2) & (3) specify activities, organisations and kinds of work for eligibility for the special residence requirements:.


  • done on duty by a crew member of a ship or aircraft; or
  • done on duty on a resources installation or a sea installation; or
  • done in the course of duty by an employee of an S&P/ASX All Australian 200 listed company in one of the following positions: a chief executive officer; or an executive manager; or
  • research and development of benefit to Australia done as a scientist who has been awarded a Doctor of Philosophy in their field of speciality and is employed by an Australian university; or done in the course of duty as a scientist employed by: the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation; or a medical research institute that is a member of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes; or
  • done in the course of duty as a medical specialist of internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievement in their field of speciality, who: is a fellow of an organisation listed in column 1 of an item in the table in clause 1 in Schedule 1 to the Health Insurance Regulations 2018; and holds a qualification relevant to the organisation.

Work that is in one of the following areas:

  • academia and research; or
  • the arts; or
  • a profession; or
  • a sport;

where the particular kind of work is done by a person who is or has been a primary holder of a relevant talent visa and the visa was granted based on an internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievement in the same area.