Apply for Australian Citizenship
Australian citizenship may be conferred upon permanent residents of Australia who have resided in Australia for the required period of time, and meet all other criteria. Those who have been conferred citizenship have the same rights and privileges as any other Australian citizen, including the right to vote, to work for the Australian Public Service or Defence Force, and to obtain and use an Australian passport. Citizens by conferral are also subject to the same responsibilities as other Australian citizens, including the responsibility to serve on a jury and to defend Australia should the need arise.
COVID-19 outbreak has caused the councils across Australia to cancel in person citizenship ceremonies (affecting people who have passed their interview and their applications have been approved) and are now being held Online during the COVID-19 crisis.
Please note, from 1 July 2021, the application fee for Citizenship by conferral is AU$490.
The minimum requirements for citizenship by conferral are set out below. These requirements apply to most applications; however please note that depending upon your particular circumstances, you may be subject to other criteria:
As an Australian citizen, you are eligible for certain entitlements too.
- 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
Citizenship responsibilities and privileges
As an Australian citizen, you have new responsibilities to:
- 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
- By birth: If you are born in Australia and one or both of your parents is an Australian citizen or permanent resident of Australia.
- By descent: If you are the child of an Australian citizen but you are born overseas, you will generally be granted Australian citizenship.
- By grant: If you are a non-citizen of Australia you can apply to become an Australian citizen (by conferral).
CITIZENSHIP BY CONFERRAL
For applicants who are permanent residents of Australia, and have lawfully resided in Australia for at least four years.
EACH applicant for citizenship by conferral must:
- be a permanent resident of Australia (and have been a permanent resident for at least the last 12 months)
NOTE: If you are not a permanent resident of Australia but you are a NZ citizen, you may be eligible if you were in Australia on 26 February 2001 as the holder of a Special Category Visa (SCV) OR if you spent a total of at least 12 months in Australia on a SCV during the 24 months immediately prior to 26 February 2001. Generally the residence requirements for Australian citizenship by conferral are:
- have lawfully resided in Australia for at least the last 4 years
- not have been outside Australia for more than a total of 1 year in the last 4 years (and no more than 90 days during the last 12 months)
- be likely to reside in, or maintain a close and continuing connection with, Australia
- if aged 18 years or older, be of good character
NOTE: As part of its assessment of your eligibility for citizenship, the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) requires you to provide details of ALL overseas travel you have undertaken since you turned 18 years old.
If you are 60 years of age or over you are not required to sit the citizenship test.
Calculate your permanent residency
If you were granted a permanent resident visa before you arrived in Australia, your permanent residence date is the date that you arrived in Australia on that visa.
If you were granted a permanent resident visa after you arrived in Australia, your permanent residence date will be the date that the visa was granted.
The fee for this application is AUD 540, unless you are eligible for a concession.
Are you eligible for Australian Citizenship? Book a time to learn how to apply.
Stage 1 – Lodgement of Application
The first step is to lodge your citizenship application, along with any supporting documents required to demonstrate that you satisfy the relevant requirements.
Stage 2 – Citizenship Test
Once the DOHA has determined that you are eligible for the conferral of citizenship, they will ask you to attend an appointment with a case officer. At this appointment, you will sit the citizenship test. This contains questions regarding the rights and responsibilities of Australian citizenship, along with questions relating to life in Australia and what it means to be an Australian citizen. Each eligible adult applicant must sit this test. The questions are based on testable information contained in the Australian citizenship test resource book, which you can study before your test.
Stage 3 – Citizenship Ceremony
After you have passed your citizenship test and the DOHA has approved your application, you need to attend a citizenship ceremony. This usually takes place within 3 months of the date that an application is approved, although waiting times vary between different local councils. At the citizenship ceremony, you must take the Australian Citizenship Pledge to complete the process of becoming an Australian citizen. All eligible adult applicants must attend a citizenship ceremony – there are very few exceptions to this requirement.
Reasons citizenship can be refused
The Department of Immigration may refuse an application for citizenship on the following criteria not satisfied:
- Your identity cannot be established;
- You represent a national security risk;
- You are unable to satisfy the general or special residence requirements and you are not eligible for an exemption;
- You have pending criminal matters or you are found not to be of good character; or
- You have renounced your Australian citizenship within the last 12 months. This does not apply, however, if you are at risk of becoming stateless.
Applications for appeal can be made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal within the specified timeframes indicated on your refusal letter.
Australian Citizenship (Permanent Resident) Determination (LIN 22/103) 2022- F2022L01628determines that a New Zealand citizen, which has held a special category visa and who holds a Subclass 189 (Skilled – Independent) visa in the New Zealand stream granted after 31 December 2021 and before 1 July 2023 is taken to have become a permanent resident on 1 January 2022. This arrangement applies to both primary and secondary visa holders. This arrangement does not apply to a person who is in Australia as a diplomatic or consular representative of New Zealand or a spouse or dependent child of a diplomatic or consular representative of New Zealand.
This change will enable affected New Zealand citizens to satisfy the general residence requirement set out in subsection 22(1) of the Act at an earlier point than they otherwise would. In some cases, a New Zealand citizen may be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship by conferral immediately after being granted a Subclass 189 visa in the New Zealand stream.
The instrument replaces IMMI 17/108 and substantially maintains the arrangements in that instrument.
The instrument commences on 1 January 2023.
Australian Citizenship Amendment (Translation Requirements for Applications) Regulations 2022 – F2022L01667 removes a duplicated requirement to provide English language translations as part of citizenship applications. The instrument repeals section 14 of the Citizenship Regulations which requires an applicant to provide an official English translation of any documents provided that are not in English. This requirement is maintained in the citizenship application form which must be completed in order to make an application under s 46 of the Citizenship Act. The removal of the duplication assists to remove confusion and streamlines the processing.
The instrument commences on 1 January 2023.
Direct pathway to Australian citizenship for New Zealand citizens from 1 July 2023
On 22 April 2023, the Australian Government announced a direct pathway to Australian citizenship for New Zealand citizens living in Australia.
From 1 July 2023, New Zealand citizens who have been living in Australia for four years or more will be eligible to apply directly for Australian citizenship. They will no longer need to first apply for and be granted a permanent visa. These changes apply to New Zealand citizens holding a Special Category (subclass 444) visa (SCV) who arrived in Australia after 26 February 2001. Protected SCV holders will continue to be eligible to apply directly for Australian citizenship.
With effect from 1 July 2023:
- All New Zealand citizens holding an SCV will be considered permanent residents for citizenship purposes.
- New Zealand citizens granted an SCV before 1 July 2022 will have their period of permanent residence for citizenship purposes backdated to 1 July 2022.
- New Zealand citizens granted an SCV for the first time on or after 1 July 2022 will be considered a permanent resident for citizenship purposes from the date of their SCV grant.
Usually, unless you have been granted another type of visa, on your arrival in Australia and when you present your New Zealand passport, you will automatically be granted a Special Category visa (subclass 444). It is a temporary visa that lets you stay and work in Australia. It is not a permanent residence visa.