Become an Australian citizen

An Australian permanent resident and an Australian citizen are not the same thing. Get to know the key differences here as well as the privileges and responsibilities of being an Australian citizen.

Becoming an Australian citizen means you are making an ongoing commitment to Australia and everything Australia stands for.

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 are born overseas, you will generally be granted Australian citizenship
  • by conferral:
    If you are a non-citizen of Australia, you can apply to become an Australian citizen (by conferral).

Citizenship by conferral

General eligibility criteria

Generally, those over the age of 18 who apply for Australian citizenship must:

  • have passed 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
  • be of good character.

Children may also apply for Australian Citizenship, although different requirements apply. Please visit the Department of Home Affairs websiteexternal link for more information.

Residence requirement

Any adult who became a permanent resident on or after 1 July 2007 must have been lawfully residing in Australia for four years immediately before applying for Australian citizenship. This includes:

  • 12 months as a permanent resident
  • absences from Australia of no more than 12 months
  • absences from Australia of no more than three months in the 12 months before applying.

Citizenship test

If you satisfy the general eligibility criteria, you will need to pass a test before applying for Australian citizenship. Those covered by other situations (such as those aged under 18 or over age 60, or people who suffer from a substantial impairment or loss of hearing, speech or sight) are not required to sit a test.

The Australian citizenship test has been designed to help future Australian citizens gain an understanding of Australia’s:

  • values
  • traditions
  • history
  • national symbols
  • The test is an important part of ensuring you have the capacity to fully participate in the Australian community as a citizen and maximise the opportunities available to you in Australia. It promotes social cohesion and successful integration into the community.

    To sit the test you must:

    • be an Australian permanent resident
    • satisfy the department of your identity during the process of registering for the test
    • allow the department to take a photograph of you or provide one yourself.


    The citizenship application 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 to apply for Australian citizenship, we invite you to book a consultation with one of our expert migration lawyers.

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