How to apply for Australian citizenship
Australian citizens enjoy a wide array of benefits, so it’s no wonder that many people are aiming to become Australian citizens.
Australian citizenship can be acquired by conferral, by descent, by adoption, or by resuming citizenship. There are several options available, so it is necessary to attentively examine every opportunity to see if you’re eligible.
The Australian government requires most applicants to demonstrate their English language proficiency and prove their moral character.
All together, the process of applying for Australian citizenship can be time-consuming, but with proper research and required documentation, successful applicants will be rewarded with all the rights and responsibilities extended to Australian citizens.
Permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens
Permanent residency can be obtained through several permanent visa options. Persons with a permanent residency visa and eligible New Zealand citizens can acquire Australian citizenship if they meet the general residence requirement and character requirement, pass the citizenship test, and intend to live in Australia or maintain a lasting link with the country while overseas.
To apply, you must first make sure you meet all the requirements, prepare documents (identity documents, photographs, good character documents, supporting documents), and then submit the application online, either inside or outside Australia.
The majority of applicants aged between 18 and 59 years will have an interview and sit the citizenship test. However, others will only have an interview. You’ll get the details in the appointment letter.
Then you need to wait for a reply. If successful, you may get an invitation letter to attend a citizenship ceremony.
Persons 60 years or over
People 60 years and over can apply for this type of visa, provided they are permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens and are in Australia when applying.
Applicants must also meet character criteria, have a decent knowledge of Australia, and maintain a close and continuing link to Australia.
The application process is similar to the one for people under 60.
Born overseas by parents who are Australian citizens
A person can become an Australian citizen by descent if one of their parents was an Australian citizen at the time of their birth.
An applicant must be of good character and born outside Australia either on or after January 26, 1949, or through an international surrogacy arrangement.
To apply, you need to prepare documents (identity documents, good character documents, supporting documents and a photograph), submit the application and wait for the decision.
You will get your citizenship certificate by mail, as those who acquire Australian citizenship by descent do not need to make the citizenship pledge or attend a ceremony.
Children 15 years or younger applying on their own
Children of 15 years or younger can apply on their own if:
- they live with a responsible parent who is an Australian citizen;
- they are an Australian resident in Australia with a responsible parent who is a permanent resident and meets the residence requirement but has decided not to apply for Australian citizenship;
- they live with a responsible parent who consents to their application and is not an Australian citizen but they can show that not becoming a citizen would make them suffer significant hardship or be disadvantaged.
Born to a former Australian citizen
If a person’s parent was an Australian citizen but lost their citizenship by acquiring the citizenship of another country as an adult, a person becomes an Australian citizen.
Is this case, the application procedure is standard. People born to a former Australian citizen do not need to attend a citizenship ceremony or make the pledge of commitment. Their citizenship certificate will be delivered by registered post.
Child adopted under Full Hague Adoption Convention/bilateral agreement by Australian citizen
A person may apply for Australian citizenship if adoption was completed outside Australia by an Australian citizen under the Hague Convention or a bilateral arrangement.
It is necessary to meet the character requirement and have a valid adoption compliance certificate.
The delivery option of citizenship certificate depends on the postal address provided in your application. If the postal address is outside Australia, the certificate may be sent directly to its holder, or to the closest Australian Embassy or Consulate.
Person born in Papua before independence in 1975
Persons born in Papua before 16 September 1975 can acquire Australian citizenship if they have a parent who was born in Australia and was an Australian citizen at the time of their birth.
An applicant must show proof of their claim and meet the character requirement. The citizenship certificate will then be delivered by registered post along with an approval letter.
Person with an incapacity or impairment
Individuals with incapacity or impairment can become Australian citizens if they are permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens and are in Australia when waiting for the decision.
In certain cases, applicants with an incapacity or impairment are not required to pass the citizenship test and make a pledge of commitment at citizenship, but it’s mandatory to give evidence of the such situation.
Become an Australian again
It is possible to resume Australian citizenship if it was given up:
- to acquire citizenship of another country as an adult before 4 April 2002 (until this date, Australia did not recognise dual citizenship)
- to acquire or retain the citizenship of another country
- to avoid significant hardship
- because you were a minor when your responsible parent’s citizenship ceased
- because you were an Australian citizen by registration or naturalisation and lived outside of Australia and New Guinea for 7 years between 1948 and 1958.
Born in Australia and are stateless
A person can acquire Australian citizenship if they have been born in Australia and never have been a national or citizen of any country and is not entitled to acquire the nationality or citizenship of a foreign country.