Become an Australian citizen

Australian citizenship is an important step in your migration story. Becoming an Australian citizen means you are making an ongoing commitment to Australia and its shared values and Australia is making an on-going permanent commitment to you and your family. It is a privilege offering enormous rewards including the right to become a dual citizen of Australia and your country of origin.

There are three main ways you can become an Australian citizen.

1. Citizenship by birth

Unlike some other countries, you are not an Australian citizen just because you were born in Australia.

If you are born in Australia and one of your parents is an Australian citizen or permanent resident you will be an Australian citizen.

Alternatively, if you are born in Australia and your parents are not permanent residents or citizens and you reside in Australia for ten years you can apply for a declaration of Australian citizenship. You do not need to be a permanent resident to apply. This is pathway is becoming increasingly possible given the number of people living in Australia for a long time on a series of temporary visas.

2. Citizenship by descent

Children born to Australian citizens living overseas can apply for Australian citizenship by descent. This is a formal process that includes the need to confirm parentage and may involve DNA testing.

3. Citizenship by conferral

Permanent residents can apply for citizenship after having lived in Australia for four years including twelve months as a permanent resident.

Children born to permanent residents living in Australia are Australian citizens by birth but children born to permanent residents living outside Australia have no visa. You should think carefully about this if you are planning on traveling back to your country to give birth.

Children under 16 years old can be included in the parents’ application and children aged between 16 and 18 must apply separately. To apply for citizenship by conferral those over the age of 18 must:

  • pass a citizenship test (unless over the age of 60);
  • be a permanent resident at the time of application, and also, at time of decision;
  • satisfy the residence requirement;
  • be likely to reside, or to continue to reside, in Australia or to maintain a close and continuing association with Australia; and
  • be of good character.
  • Residence requirement

    The residence requirement requires that in the four years immediately before applying for Australian citizenship you must:

    • be a permanent resident for 12 months;
    • be absent from Australia for no more than 12 months;
    • have no absence from Australia of more than three months in the 12 months before applying.
    • Citizenship test

      The Australian citizenship test is designed to help future Australian citizens gain an understanding of Australia’s values, traditions, history, national symbols.Cost

      The cost of applying for citizenship costs AUD$285. There is no cost for a child 15 years or younger applying with a parent. Other exemptions and concessions apply.

      To discover whether you are eligible for Australian citizenship, we invite you to book a consultation with one of our expert migration lawyers.

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