Direct pathway to Australian Citizenship for New Zealanders

From 1 July 2023
  • Long term New Zealand citizens resident in Australia will have their period of permanent residence backdated for citizenship purposes
  • All New Zealand citizens holding an SCV (SC444) will be considered permanent residents for citizenship purposes.
  • New Zealand citizens granted an SCV (SC444) 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.
  • Provisions will also apply to New Zealand citizens who are overseas, but held an SCV immediately before last leaving Australia.
Children of SCV holders
  • From 1 July 2023, any child born in Australia on or after 1 July 2022 to an SCV holder may automatically acquire Australian citizenship at birth.
  • From 1 July 2023, children who meet these circumstances can apply for evidence of citizenship.
Australia citizenship applications until 1 July 2023

These provisions will not apply to citizenship applications submitted before 1 July 2023. Applications submitted before this date must meet the current requirements at that application before this date, and you do not meet the eligibility requirements.

Changes in 2001 made it more difficult for New Zealanders in Australia to attain citizenship.

DHA have announced that from 1 July 2023, New Zealand citizens living in Australia will have a direct pathway to Australian citizenship.

All Special Category Visa holders will be able to apply directly for citizenship without becoming permanent residents first, as long as they meet a four-year residence and other eligibility requirements.

This is a fair change for New Zealanders living in Australia, and brings their rights more in line with Australians living in New Zealand. This is consistent with our ambition to build a fairer, better managed and more inclusive migration system.

Many New Zealand citizens choose to live and contribute to Australia, so it is reasonable they have the opportunity to become Australian citizens and enjoy the rights and obligations that come from citizenship.

Quotes attributable to Prime Minister Albanese:

“Australia and New Zealand have a deep friendship, which has been forged through our history, shared values and common outlook.

“As we mark the 50th anniversary of the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement, I look forward to strengthening our relationship.”

“We know that many New Zealanders are here on a Special Category Visa while raising families, working and building their lives in Australia. So I am proud to offer the benefits that citizenship provides.”

Quotes attributable to Minister Clare O’Neil:

“Australians and New Zealanders share a special bond and it’s important that we reflect that in the way we treat New Zealand citizens who choose to make Australia home.

“Today’s changes will strengthen ties with our closest neighbor, and will mean the many people already living and working in our communities can enjoy the benefits of citizenship.

“Anthony Albanese is ensuring the deep, strong connection between our two countries is reflected in how we treat Kiwis living in Australia.”

Quotes attributable to Minister Andrew Giles:

“Australia is a country built on citizenship. It is only fair the opportunity to become an Australian Citizen is made easier for our closest friends and allies.

“This announcement will make a significant difference to the lives of people already living and working and in our communities.”


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