Becoming an Australian citizen marks a pivotal point in your journey to make Australia home, transitioning from resident to proud community member.
To proceed with your Australian citizenship application, you must first establish your eligibility. Each pathway has different requirements and processes; below is a brief outline of the different citizenship pathways. If you would like to discuss your circumstances, contact our team to discuss the most suitable option for you.
Migrant with permanent residence
If you’ve migrated to Australia and hold a permanent residency, meet the necessary residency requirements, and possess a good character, you could be eligible for citizenship. Importantly, all applicants – even those under 16 years old – must be permanent residents both at the time of application and when a decision is made on their application.
Spouse or partner of an Australian citizen
Being a spouse or partner of an Australian citizen does not automatically grant you Australian citizenship. Like other adult applicants, you must apply for citizenship and meet all the eligibility criteria.
However, you might qualify for a modification to the residency requirement. This could allow your time spent abroad as a permanent resident to be considered as time spent in Australia, as long as you can prove a strong connection to the country.
This same provision also applies to the surviving spouse or partner of an Australian citizen and interdependent partners of Australian citizens.
New Zealand citizen living in Australia
Your eligibility for Australian citizenship as a New Zealand citizen depends on whether you arrived in Australia before or after February 26, 2001.
Upon reaching Australia, most New Zealand citizens are automatically given a Special Category Visa (SCV). Although this is a temporary visa, it permits you to live and work in Australia. If you were in Australia holding an SCV on February 26, 2001, you might be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship.
The Australian Government declared on February 26, 2001, that New Zealand citizens arriving after February 26, 2001 would need to apply for and secure a permanent visa for benefits like accessing certain social security payments, acquiring Australian citizenship, or sponsoring family members for permanent residency.
Child of a former Australian citizen
If one of your parents renounced their Australian citizenship to obtain citizenship in another country before your birth, you might be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship if you are of ‘good character’.
To apply, you must present proof that:
- One of your parents was an Australian citizen before your birth, and
- That parent, as an adult, forfeited their Australian citizenship upon acquiring citizenship of another country before April 4, 2002
Child aged 16 or 17 years
To apply for citizenship, the applicant must be a permanent resident both when they apply and when a decision is made on their application.
Additionally, as the applicant, you are required to:
- Meet the residence requirement at the time of your application unless you can demonstrate that meeting this requirement would cause you significant hardship or disadvantage
- Understand what your application entails
- Possess a basic understanding of the English language
- Have sufficient knowledge about the rights and responsibilities that come with Australian citizenship
- Plan to live in Australia or maintain a strong and ongoing connection with the country
A child aged 15 years or under or an unaccompanied minor
If you plan to apply for Australian citizenship independently, you must be a permanent resident at the time of application and when the decision is made.
Moreover, you must also be living with:
- A responsible parent who holds Australian citizenship, or
- A responsible parent who doesn’t hold Australian citizenship, but your absence would result in significant hardship or disadvantage.
The responsible parent you’re living with must sign your application form.
Commonwealth Child Migration Scheme arrival
If you migrated to Australia under the Commonwealth Child Migration Scheme, you need to provide proof of your previous status as a child migrant when you apply for Australian citizenship. This evidence can be obtained from the Child Migrants Trust, a service that is provided free of charge. You are also eligible for an exemption from the application fee.
Between September 22, 1947, and December 31, 1967, a large number of children, unaccompanied by adults, migrated to Australia under the Commonwealth Child Migration Scheme. Most of these children originated from the United Kingdom, with a smaller portion coming from Malta.
Refugee or humanitarian entrant
You might be eligible for Australian citizenship if you came to Australia as a refugee or humanitarian entrant, and meet the following criteria:
- You are a permanent resident
- You meet the residency requirements
- You are of ‘good character’
If you are 18 years or older, you need to live in Australia for four years on your permanent resident visa before applying for citizenship. During these four years, you can leave Australia for up to a total of one year.
Additionally, in the year immediately preceding your application, you must have resided in Australia for at least nine months.
The application process requires you to fill out an application form, pay a fee, and pass a citizenship test. This test assesses your basic English language skills and your knowledge about Australia and the rights and duties of its citizens.
Finally, you’ll need to provide original documents that prove your permanent residency in Australia, confirm your identity, and demonstrate your ‘good character’.
Born in Papua before independence in 1975
You could be eligible for Australian citizenship if you were born in Papua before its independence on September 16, 1975, and meet the following criteria:
- One of your parents was born within the current boundaries of Australia
- At the time of your birth, one of your parents was an Australian citizen
- You are of ‘good character’