Citizenship by descent

What are the eligible criteria for Australian citizenship by descent?

To acquire citizenship by descent, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You are born on or after 26 January 1949 outside Australia.
  • At least one of your parents is an Australian citizen at the time of your birth.
  • Your parent has spent at least 2 years lawfully in Australia before you apply if they became an Australian citizen by descent or by adoption.
  • If you are over 18 years old, you must pass the good character test.

What is the good character test?

Good character is to show that you have enduring moral qualities of a person. When assessing good character, the Department of Home Affairs will consider any of the following:

  • any recorded criminal convictions
  • obligations you may have to a court in Australia or overseas
  • your association with people of concern
  • incidents of reported domestic violence
  • whether you have been honest in your dealings with the Australian community, including providing false or misleading information in relation to a visa or citizenship application

The aim of the test is to determine if you will uphold and obey the laws of Australia.

Can you apply if you are under 15 years old?

You can still apply for citizenship by descent if you are under 18 years old. However, your parent will have to sign the declaration for you.

When is citizenship by descent not suitable?

  • People born in the External Territory of Papua prior to 16 September 1975 are not eligible for Australian citizenship by descent before they were born in Australia (was considered part of Australia),
  • If your parent has ceased to hold Australian citizenship at the time of your birth, you are not eligible for this pathway.

What is the cost?

The applicant fee for citizenship by descent is $230.  If you have siblings who are applying at the same time as you, each of sibling must pay $95.

What is the processing time?

The standard processing time for citizenship by descent is 4 – 7 months. However, note that they may be delays due to the Department’s backlog in applications. Unlike citizenship by conferral, you are not required to attend the Citizenship ceremony.