Leaving Australia before your Citizenship Application is Finalised
If you have lodged an Australian citizenship application and then leave Australia, for the Department of Home Affairs to continue processing your application you need to return to Australia or provide an intended return date.
If you have not provided an intended return date and are still overseas you may get a request from the department to provide evidence of your return to Australia (for example airline ticket, employment contract, lease agreement).
Should your intended return date be unknown, or you intend to continue to be outside of Australia for an extended period of time, you would need to provide information and evidence to address the below requirements.
Applicants in the following categories can be approved to become an Australian citizen when they are not present in Australia:
- those aged under 18 at time of application
- those who satisfy the special residence requirement
- those who satisfy the Ministerial discretion to the residence requirement for applicants who are the spouse, de facto partner or surviving spouse or de facto partner of an Australian citizen (at the time of lodgement of application)
- those who satisfy the Ministerial discretion to the residence requirement for applicants who are in an interdependent relationship with an Australian citizen (at the time of lodgement of application)
If you believe that you fall into one of the abovementioned categories, you must provide evidence to the Department.
Please note longer periods of travel may come under further scrutiny. Legislation requires an applicant to satisfy the Department that they are likely to reside, or continue to reside, in Australia, or to maintain a close and continuing association with Australia should the application be approved.
If you fall into this category, please provide supporting evidence addressing the factors listed below
Factors that may contribute to a close and continuing association with Australia include:
- Australian citizen spouse or de facto partner
- Australian citizen children
- length of relationship with Australian citizen spouse or de facto partner
- extended family in Australia
- return visits to Australia
- periods of residence in Australia
- intention to reside in Australia
- employment in Australia (for example, public or private sector)
- ownership of property in Australia and
- evidence of income tax payment in Australia
You must address the criteria above in your response to satisfy the requirements of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007.
The department does not have the legal capacity to defer making a decision on an application and cannot postpone finalising an application indefinitely.
Alternatively, you may wish to consider withdrawing your application and re-apply when you return to Australia permanently. However, please note that no refund of the fee can be made if you withdraw your application.
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 concession for those individuals, meaning they are going to have to postpone applying for citizenship applications until they satisfy the citizenship ‘residence requirement’.