intro to citizenship

There are 3 main ways to become an Australian citizen:

  • By birth: If you are born in Australia and one or both of your parents is an Australian citizen or permanent resident of Australia.
  • By descent: If you are the child of an Australian citizen but you were born overseas, you will generally be granted Australian citizenship.
  • By grant: If you are a non-citizen of Australia you can apply to become an Australian citizen through conferral. This is the standard way that migrants into Australia obtain citizenship.

citizenship by conferral

This is the pathway to citizenship for applicants who are Australian permanent residents, have lived in Australia for at least 4 years and who have maintained good character

Citizenship requirements

Every applicant must have:

  • Lawfully resided in Australia on a substantive visa for at least 4 years prior to the lodgement of the application
  • Held Australian Permanent Residence for at least 1 year of the 4*
  • Must have not been absent out of Australia for more than 365 days over the 4 year period
  • Must have not been absent out of Australia for more than 90 days in the last year of the 4 year period
  • Must have maintained good character

*Eligible New Zealand Citizens, those who have entered Australia prior to 26 February 2001 and have lived in Australia since, or those who entered and remained in Australia for at least 12 months in the 24 months immediately prior to the 26 February 2001 are also considered to be permanent residents of Australia and may also apply for citizenship by conferral if they meet the full requirements

Application Process

Every applicant will be required to provide the department with details of all their overseas travel since turning 18 to establish their character and travel history.

Every applicant is required to take a test on Australian history, values and systems and must attend an interview with a representative of the Department of Home Affairs. However, applicants over the age of 60 or under the age of 16 are not required to take the test and minors are not required to sit the interview

Every applicant must provide character clearances from every country they have lived in for more than 12 months in their lifetime as well as their home country

Every applicant is required to provide positive proof of identification and any name changes that may have occurred.

Once Granted

Once your Australian citizen has been approved, you are entitled to

  • apply for an Australian passport
  • leave and re-enter Australia as many times as you want
  • ask for help from an Australian consulate if in trouble overseas
  • vote in federal, state or territory elections
  • vote in a Constitutional referendum or plebiscite
  • seek election to parliament, if you are aged 18 years or over and are not dual citizen
  • register the birth of your children in another country as an Australian citizen

As an Australian citizen, you also have certain responsibilities to:

  • behave in accordance with Australia‚Äôs democratic beliefs
  • respects the rights and liberties of Australia
  • follow and obey the law
  • vote in federal and state or territory elections, and in referenda
  • defend Australia if necessary
  • serve on jury duty if summoned