Exemptions to Australian Citizenship Residence Requirement

Permanent residents can apply for Australian citizenship if they meet the following residence requirements:

  • 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.

If you do not meet the above criteria, there may be some ministerial discretion and exemption from the ‘residence requirement available to you;

Significant hardship or disadvantage

Minister has discretion to consider the period as meeting residency requirements if you can show significant hardship or disadvantage.

Spouses and de facto partners

If you are a permanent resident and your spouse or de facto partner is Australian, you may meet the residency requirement if you can show close and continuing association with Australia. Some evidence may include:

  • Australian citizen children
  • Long-term relationship with Australian citizen spouse or de facto partner
  • Regular return visits to Australia
  • Ownership of property in Australia

To prove that your relationship is long-term, you would need to provide supporting documents such as text messages, photos, call history, marriage documents and so forth.

Interdependent relationships

If you are a permanent resident and you are in an interdependent relationship with an Australian citizen, you may meet residency requirement if you can demonstrate close and continuing ties to Australia. Close and continuing ties include:

  • Australian citizen children
  • Long-term relationship with Australian citizen spouse or de facto partner
  • Regular return visits to Australia
  • Ownership of property in Australia
Confinement in prison or psychiatric institution

In most cases, a person who has been confined in a prison or psychiatric institution will have to wait 4 years after being released from confinement to meet the residence requirement. However, in some circumstances the minister may waive the requirement.

Administrative error

If you were in Australia but the Minister, consider that you do not meet the residency requirement because of an administrative error. The minister has the discretion to waive treat your presence during that period as meeting the requirement.

Exemptions to Citizenship Residence Requirements and COVID-19 crisis

Applicants who intend to apply for citizenship by conferral must meet the citizenship ‘residence requirement’. This generally means physically residing in Australia for four years or more, including 12 months as a permanent resident before lodgement of your application. The Department of Immigration have advised that there are no concessions for those who are not able to return to Australia due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions, meaning you will have to delay lodging your citizenship application until you satisfy the ‘residence requirement’.

See also:

Citizenship flexibility for distinguished applicants

Minister Hawke has announced changes that will streamline the pathway to citizenship for talented prospective Australians.

The Minister will extend the special residence concession to all distinguished talent visa holders and to athletes in the Australian Commonwealth Games team.

The special residence requirement provides that an applicant has held a valid visa for the last four years, living in Australia for at least 480 days during that time, and must have been a permanent resident and in Australia for 120 days in the year immediately before applying.

This special residency requirement will apply to past, present and future distinguished talent stream visa holders.

The Minister’s media release is available here

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:.

Activities:

  • 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.

For COVID-19 visa related travel questions / 408 visa eligibility you can book a time here:

https://visaenvoy.as.me/covid19 (25 min)

If you would like a comprehensive consultation which includes assessing you for other temporary and permanent visa options (Skilled visas, Employer Sponsored, Partner, etc.) as well, we recommend our standard 45 minute to 1 hour consultation which can be scheduled here:

https://visaenvoy.as.me/skype (45 min)

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