Becoming an Australian Citizen

Becoming an Australian Citizen

You can become an Australian citizen through various channels, including: 

  1. By Conferral;
  2. By Descent;
  3. By Adoption; or
  4. By Resuming Citizenship

Becoming an Australian Citizen by Conferral

There are a number of ways that a person may be able to become an Australian citizen by conferral. These relate to: 

  1. Permanent Residents;
  2. Eligible New Zealand Citizens; 
  3. Persons Born in Papua Before Independence in 1975; 
  4. Persons Born with Incapacity of Impairment; 
  5. Persons Born to a Former Australian Citizen Parent; 
  6. Children 15 Years or Younger Applying on Their Own; 
  7. Persons 60 Years or Over; and 
  8. Stateless Persons Born in Australia.

If you believe that one of these headings may be applicable to your personal circumstances, please see the corresponding heading below and go to Section 21 of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 for further information about your potential eligibility. 

A-1. Citizenship by Conferral for Permanent Residents 

If you are an Australian permanent resident, you may be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship by conferral if you meet the following criteria: 

1. Character Test

If you are aged 18 years or over, you will need to satisfy the character requirement contained within Section 501 of the Migration Act 1958. 

2. Residence Requirement 

The time that you have spent residing in Australia up to the date that you apply for Citizenship will be considered. 

3. Knowledge of Australia 

You must sit the citizenship test and score 75% or more. 

 This test seeks to demonstrate that you have: 

      • A basic knowledge of the English language 
      • An understanding of what it means to become an Australian citizen; 
      • An adequate knowledge of Australia and the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship; and 
      • An understanding of and commitment to Australian values based on freedom, respect and equality. 
  •  4. Close and Continuing Link to Australia 

You must satisfy the decision-maker that you are likely to live or continue to live in Australia, or that you are likely to maintain a close and continuing relationship with Australia while overseas.  

 They may consider: 

      • If you have family who are Australian citizens or permanent residents in Australia; 
      • The time you have spent in Australia; and 
      • If you have a bank account, a job, own property, or have paid income tax in Australia. 

For more information, you may wish to review Section 21(2) of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007. 

A-2. Citizenship by Conferral for Eligible New Zealand Citizens 

You may be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship if you are an Eligible New Zealand Citizen. A person is an Eligible New Zealand Citizen if they arrived in Australia with a New Zealand passport, and they: 

    1. Were in Australia on 26 February 2001; 
    2. Were in Australia for 2 months in the 2 years before 26 February 2001; or 
    3. Were assessed as a protect Special Category Visa (SCV) holder and were issued a Centrelink certificate that states that they were living in Australia at a particular time. 
  1. You must also meet these criteria: 

1. Character Test

If you are aged 18 years or over, you will need to satisfy the character requirement contained within Section 501 of the Migration Act 1958. 

2. Residence Requirement 

At the time you apply, you must have been: 

      • Living in Australia on a valid visa for the past 4 years; 
      • An eligible New Zealand citizen for the past 12 months; and 
      • 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. 

3. Knowledge of Australia 

You must sit the citizenship test and score 75% or more. 

This test seeks to demonstrate that you have: 

      • A basic knowledge of the English language 
      • An understanding of what it means to become an Australian citizen; 
      • An adequate knowledge of Australia and the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship; and 
      • An understanding of and commitment to Australian values based on freedom, respect and equality.

4. Close and Continuing Link to Australia 

You must satisfy the decision-maker that you are likely to live or continue to live in Australia, or that you are likely to maintain a close and continuing relationship with Australia while overseas.  

They may consider: 

      • If you have family who are Australian citizens or permanent residents in Australia; 
      • The time you have spent in Australia; and 
      • If you have a bank account, a job, own property, or have paid income tax in Australia. 

A-3. Citizenship by Conferral for Persons Born in Papua Before Independence in 1975 

You may be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship by conferral if: 

    1. You meet the character requirement contained within Section 501 of the Migration Act 1958
    2. You were born in Papua before 16 September 1975; and 
    3. You have at least one parent who was born in Australia as it is now known and was an Australian citizen at the time of your birth. 
  1. For more information, you may wish to read the relevant Section 21(7) of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007. 

 A-4. Citizenship by Conferral for Persons Born with Incapacity or Impairment 

If you are a person born with incapacity or impairment, you may be eligible for Australian citizenship by conferral if you are either: 

    1. A permanent resident of Australia; or 
    2. An eligible New Zealand citizen. 
  1. You must also meet these criteria: 

1. Residence Requirement 

The length of time that you have already lived in Australia will be considered. 

In certain cases, you may be exempt from this requirement. 

2. Incapacity or Impairment 

The incapacity or impairment must exist at the time that you apply. 

You need to give evidence to demonstrate your incapacity or impairment. 

If you adequately demonstrate this, you will be eligible to apply for citizenship without sitting a citizenship test. 

3. Character Test 

If you are aged 18 years or over, you will need to satisfy the character requirement contained within Section 501 of the Migration Act 1958. 

 4. Close and Continuing Link to Australia 

You must satisfy the decision-maker that you are likely to live or continue to live in Australia, or that you are likely to maintain a close and continuing relationship with Australia while overseas.  

They may consider: 

      • If you have family who are Australian citizens or permanent residents in Australia; 
      • The time you have spent in Australia; and 
      • If you have a bank account, a job, own property, or have paid income tax in Australia. 

For more information, you can review Section 21(3) of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007. 

A-5. Citizenship by Conferral for Persons Born to a Former Australian Citizen Parent 

Persons born outside Australia to a former Australian citizen parent may be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship by conferral. The requirements are as follows: 

    1. You were born outside Australia; and 
    2. You were born to a former Australian Citizen. 

One of your parents must have been an Australian citizen who lost their citizenship as a result of applying for an acquiring another country’s citizenship as an adult, both: 

    1. Before you were born; and 
    2. Before 4 April 2022. 
  1. You will not be eligible if your parent’s citizenship was: 
    1. Lost after your birth; 
    2. Lost under the Papua New Guinea Independence (Australian Citizenship) Regulations as a result of automatically acquiring the citizenship of Papua New Guinea on 16 September 1975 under the Constitution of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea; 
    3. Lost while they were a child; or 
    4. Renounced by your parents after making an application to the department. 
  1. If you are aged 18 years or older, you must also pass the character requirement contained within Section 501 of the Migration Act 1958. 

For more information, you can review Section 21(6) of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007. 

A-6. Citizenship by Conferral for Children 15 Years or Younger Applying on Their Own 

If you are aged 15 years or younger, you may be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship by conferral if you are either: 

    1. A permanent resident of Australia; or 
    2. An eligible New Zealand citizen. 

You must also meet these requirements: 

1. Age Requirement: 

You must be aged 15 years or younger and must be applying on your own. 

 2. Responsible Parent Requirement: 

Your responsible parent must consent to and sign your application. 

Your parents must be someone who: 

      • Is an Australian citizen who lives with you;  
      • Is an Australian permanent resident who usually resides in Australia with you, as they meet the residence requirement but have decided not to apply for Australian citizenship because they would lose the citizenship of another country; or 
      • If your parent does not meet these criteria, but you are an unaccompanied humanitarian minor child, the Minister’s delegate must consent to your application if you are a ward of the Minister. If you are not a ward of the Minister, your responsible carer must consent to your application. 

Please see the Department website’s information for further information about this avenue. 

 A-7. Citizenship by Conferral for Persons 60 Years or Over 

If you are aged 60 years or over, you may be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship by conferral if you are either: 

    1. A permanent resident of Australia; or 
    2. An eligible New Zealand citizen. 

You must also meet these requirements: 

1. Residence Requirement: 

The length of time that you have already lived in Australia will be considered. 

In certain cases, you may be exempt from this requirement. 

 2. Age Requirement: 

You must be aged 60 years or older to apply without sitting a citizenship test. 

 3. Character Test: 

You will need to satisfy the character requirement contained within Section 501 of the Migration Act 1958. 

 4. Knowledge of Australia Test: 

You may have an interview to confirm your identity and to show the decision-maker that you understand the nature of your application. 

You will not be required to sit an Australian citizenship test. 

 5. Close and Continuing Link to Australia: 

You must satisfy the decision-maker that you are likely to live or continue to live in Australia, or that you are likely to maintain a close and continuing relationship with Australia while overseas.  

They may consider: 

      • If you have family who are Australian citizens or permanent residents in Australia; 
      • The time you have spent in Australia; and 
      • If you have a bank account, a job, own property, or have paid income tax in Australia. 

For more information, you can review Section 21(4) of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007. 

 A-8. Citizenship by Conferral for Stateless Persons Born in Australia 

In order to be granted Australian citizenship by conferral as a stateless person born in Australia, you must demonstrate the following: 

1. Born in Australia: 

You were born in Australia on or after 1 July 2007. 

 2. Stateless: 

You are not a national or citizen of any country. 

      • You must not have become a citizen or national of a foreign country automatically upon your birth in Australia through on or both of your parents, or acquired the citizenship or nationality of any country through application or operation of law. 
      • You must show that you have never been a national or citizen of any country, even if you have since lost or renounced that status. 
      • You must also show that you are not entitled to acquire nationality or citizenship of any country. 

For more information, you can review Section 21(8) of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007. 

 

Becoming an Australian Citizen by Descent 

If you were born overseas to an Australian citizen parent, you may be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship. 

The requirements include: 

  1. Born Outside Australia:

You must have been born outside Australia, either: 

a. Through an international surrogacy arrangement; or

b. On or after 26 January 1949. 

 2. Australian Citizen Parent: 

You must show that one or both of your parents was an Australian citizen at the time of your birth. 

If your parent became an Australian citizen by descent or by adoption under the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption or a bilateral agreement, you will need to show that your parent has spent at least two (2) years lawfully in Australia before you apply. 

 3. Character Test: 

If you are aged 18 years or older, you will need to satisfy the character requirement contained within Section 501 of the Migration Act 1958. 

For more information about becoming an Australian citizen by descent, see Subdivision A of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007. 

 

Becoming an Australian Citizen by Adoption 

Children adopted under the Full Hague Adoption Convention or a Bilateral Agreement by an Australian citizen may be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship if the following criteria are met: 

  1. Australian Citizen Parent: 

At least one of your adoptive parents must be an Australian citizen at the time of your adoption. 

If your adoptive parent became an Australian citizen by decent or by adoption, they must have spent a total of at least two (2) years residing lawfully in Australia. 

 2. Adoption Compliance Certificate: 

You must be able to show that you were fully and permanently adopted under either the Hague Adoption Convention or a bilateral agreement. 

You must provide an adoption compliance certificate. 

 3. Character Test: 

If you are aged 18 years or older, you will need to satisfy the character requirement contained within Section 501 of the Migration Act 1958. 

For more information about becoming an Australian citizen by descent, see Subdivision AA of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007. 

 

Resuming Australian Citizenship 

You may be eligible to resume Australian citizenship if one of the following circumstances applies: 

  1. You became a citizen of another country as an adult before 4 April 2002; 
  2. You gave up or renounced your Australian citizenship so that you could acquire or retain the citizenship of another country; 
  3. You renounced Australian citizenship to avoid significant hardship or detriment; 
  4. Your Australian citizenship was revoked as a child when your responsible parent’s Australian citizenship ceased; or 
  5. You were an Australian citizen by registration or naturalisation and your Australian citizenship ceased because you resided outside of Australia and New Guinea continuously for seven (7) years between 26 January 1948 and 8 October 1958. 

For more information about becoming an Australian citizen by descent, see Subdivision C of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007. 


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