Getting Australian Citizenship for Kiwis- Dual Citizenship

Getting Australian Citizenship for Kiwis- Dual Citizenship

Another piece of good news – if you choose to become an Australian citizen, you automatically gain dual citizenship, and there is no need for you to give up your New Zealand passport.  The Australian government prefers Australian citizens to travel in and out of Australia with their Australian passports – so, if you choose to holiday in New Zealand, you should probably take both passports with you.

The process for getting citizenship in Australia differs for kids and for adults.  We have a look at both, and try to explain the difference! If you’re an adult and you’ve received your permanent residency visa.  The next step is applying for Australian citizenship.

Depending on the type of visa you have received then either you or you and your family can apply for citizenship together. Once you are an Australian citizen, you must vote in Australian elections, you will be entitled to Australian social security benefits like Centrelink and university fee loans like HECS and FEE-HELP, and can apply for work in the Federal Government.

Children born in Australia

Citizenship for children born in Australia to Kiwis can be a little confusing to understand, as it depends on what kind of visa the parent holds at the time of the child’s birth.


  • born in Australia on or after 27 February 2001 and you held an Australian permanent resident visa or were present in Australia on 26 February 2001 as the holder of a Special Category visa, or
  • born in Australia between 1 September 1994 and 26 February 2001 and you held a permanent visa or a Special Category visa, or
  • born in Australia between 26 January 1949 and 19 August 1986 unless you or your spouse were entitled to diplomatic privileges, or
  • born in Australia and reached 10 years of age having lived in Australia most of their life.

As it is possible to hold dual citizenship, we recommend that you apply for New Zealand citizenship by descent for your child born in Australia, and should you continue to reside in Australia permanently for the first ten years, then your child will automatically receive Australian citizenship.  The next step would be to apply for evidence of citizenship in order to get an Australian passport.

If either parent is an Australian permanent resident or citizen, your child will automatically be considered an Australian citizen.

So if your child was born in Australia to a New Zealand Citizen (who is a New Zealand Citizen by birth or grant) wants to travel overseas before the magic age of 10.  THEN apply for New Zealand citizen by descent and a New Zealand Passport to travel until the age of 10 then apply for an Australian passport.

Citizenship for Adults

There are two categories of eligibility:

After you’ve been living in Australia for 4 years and had your permanent residency visa for at least 1 year, you can apply for Australian citizenship!  You will need to make sure that you haven’t left Australia for more than 3 months (90 days) in the year before you apply.

The application is either online or paper application form. You will need identity, character and supporting documents to be included in your application.

The current fee for citizenship application is $285 AUD unless you are eligible for a concession.


  1. Apply online or by paper with all documents and pay the fee. Wait for the approval letter.
  2. Wait for test date which there are practice tests online and relates to life in Australia and Australian Values, the letter you receive will direct you to study materials. Only 15 out of 20 to pass and it is computer multi-choice.
  3. At the test appointment you have an interview with Migration and they will need to see your original documents.
  4. Wait for the ceremony, which is held at your nearest location, normally takes 30 minutes.
  5. The process from application to ceremony can take up to 18 months, but it is worth the wait.

During the ceremony, you will be asked to make the Australian Citizenship Pledge and will be given a citizenship certificate.

Congratulations! Becoming an Australian citizen can be a long, expensive and somewhat stressful journey, but the benefits often outweigh the drawbacks, and once you have become an Australian citizen, you can rest assured that you have a home in Australia for as long as you wish and can come and go to and from New Zealand and Australia as you please.

Disclaimer: The information displayed on these pages is intended to provide a general overview of some Australian visa types. It is not a substitute for tailored, professional advice relating to your own personal circumstances. There are dozens of Australian visa subclasses; we refer to only a narrow selection here. Migration policies and regulations change frequently. We are not responsible for any errors or omissions relating to the generic information supplied here. You should always seek up-to-date advice from a Registered Migration Agent or refer to the Department of Home Affairs website prior to lodging an application.

  1. LeonRedbone2nd 6 years ago

    Hello folks
    Can anyone please tell me why, when traveling between Australia & NZ as a dual citizen, I should use an Australian passport & not my NZ passport?
    The only official wording from Duh-duh-Dutton’s “Border Force” I can find is …”you should use your Australian Passport”

    Now I agree, I should use an Australian passport IF I was traveling to any other country; in case I got in to some sort of trouble.
    But seriously, traveling to / from NZ???
    Both SYD & AKL airports for example have express lanes for Aussies & KIwis, & auto/facial scan kiosks.
    So far, the only logical reason I can think of is that if you’re an Aussie citizen traveling on a Kiwi passport you might be unlucky enough to strike a particularly tiny minded, anti Kiwi, vindictive, red necked, bureaucratic and pedantic official who may decide to hold you up for an hour at Sydney airport on the pretext of suspecting you are using another passport for dodgy reasons.

    Fortunately this has only happened to me once, which happily shows that most Australian Border Force staff are good reasonable folk.
    Every other time it has not been an issue.

    • Judith 5 years ago

      An Australian passport is proof of Australian citizenship. Think about it. If you were, for example, a dual UK/Australian citizen you wouldn’t be able to travel to Australia on your British passport because as an Australian citizen you wouldn’t be able to be granted a visa in your British passport. Therefore you wouldn’t be able to use your British passport to travel to Australia. Just apply for an Australian passport and use that to depart and enter Australia, and save yourself any grief.

    • Rachel Dobbie 5 years ago

      Actually the NZ passport is rated higher for entering other countries and often less expensive for visas than Aus Passport -particularly in Asia and Sth America.
      The reason you need to use Aus Passport when entering and leaving Australia, is if you enter Aus on NZ Passport, your status is automatically SCV444 – as in temp visa. It takes days and sometimes weeks or longer for their system to correct. And if you leave as NZ Passport it rings alarms cause you are not showing as entering… so it messes with their system. It makes them think there is something wrong so they have to check more thoroughly. And you don’t want to be a citizen classed as a temp visa holder suddenly….
      For some reason, the NZ system manages to link them – so they have my NZ and Aussie info – even if I only use Aussie Passport.entering NZ. I did this once and the Customs guy said ‘welcome home’. I asked how he knew I was Kiwi from Aus Passport – and he just said ‘we know’. It made me smile.

  2. BobbyW 5 years ago

    Hi, I came to Australia in 1983 and have lived and worked here for 35 years, therefore I believe I am classified as a permanent resident, I am able to vote etc. I am about to apply for Australian citizenship (dual NZ), how do I prove that I have permanent resident status for my application.

  3. Damo26 5 years ago

    Hi, I moved here in 2013 from NZ and have a few questions. Can I just simply apply for citizenship? or will I need to apply for Permanent Residency first?

  4. Scottmcgrain 4 years ago

    Any advice would be appreciated… living in aus since feb 14 2001 . Have a company and a long term partner … not married yet 18 years in sin question is I have a common assault charge x 2 for a minor punch up ,no one went to hospital or was injured .i should have fought the charges as I was told I would just get a good behaviour bond .i received the good behaviour bond plus a criminal record .happened 5 years ago no other charges ,never been to jail .i want to travel with my partner to nz and go on holidays and know that I will be allowed back in .ive read so much in this issue and don’t have %100 answer . As being of good character seems to be a grey area open to interpretation of the customs officer on the day .please can someone shed some light …grateful for any helpful advise ty..

  5. Kerry Godfrey 4 years ago

    Where do I find the link to apply for a returned resident visa (here in the 80s)?

  6. Joz Campbell 4 years ago

    What if my children have an Australian dad but were born in NZ?

  7. Ash22 4 years ago

    I am an NZ citizen and an AUS perm Resident since i was 2 (im in my 20s now)i have had a baby with an Aussie and was wondering how i go about getting my baby (4 mnth old) a duel citizen ship? And how early i can do it? Also looking at how i go about getting a duel myself.

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