If you’re a permanent resident, you may be able to apply for Australian citizenship ‘by conferral’.
The first thing you need to do is find out whether you’re eligible.
In most cases, you’re eligible for citizenship as long as the following requirements are met.
- You have lived in Australia for the past four years
- You have held a permanent residency visa for at least the 12 months prior to lodging the application
- You have spent less than 12 months outside Australia in the past four years
- You have spent less than 90 days outside Australia in the 12 months prior to lodging the application
- You have not been unlawful whilst in Australia
- You can pass the character test
***However, recent concessions were announced for some NZ 189 visa holders and applicants which means they may be able to apply for citizenship without holding PR for 12 months.
Things are slightly different when it comes to children born in Australia; we’ll summarise that below.
Citizenship application fee
Application fees depend on your age and circumstances.
The ‘general eligibility’ fee for adults is $490 unless you qualify for a fee exemption.
There is no fee for a child aged under 16 years who applies at the same time as their parents. If you’re using a Registered Migration Agent to manage your application, there will be a separate fee to pay for their professional management of your case.
Using a Registered Migration Agent is optional, but many people find that it takes the stress out of the process.
If you’re unsure whether you qualify, our friends at True Blue Migration Services can provide a free eligibility check, so that’s a great place to start.
At the current time, citizenship by conferral applications are taking 20+ months to be processed.
Citizenship is not official until you have attended a ceremony and received your Australian citizenship certificate. Depending on your local government catchment area, you may face a further long wait for your ceremony.
Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, some citizenship ceremonies have been delivered online.
A citizenship application takes into account your entire Australian visa history. This includes:
- information provided on incoming passenger cards (whether not answered or answered incorrectly)
- any police records or other character issues since the grant of your PR
Thousands of citizenship applications are refused each year as applications are scrutinised for contradictory or non-disclosed information.
If you have any concerns, chat to a Registered Migration Agent.
A citizenship application has a number of steps, including application, testing and ceremony.
You are required to be onshore for all stages. If you depart Australia after lodging your citizenship application and do not appear to be committed to returning to live permanently in Australia, your citizenship application will be at risk.
You may be asked to provide evidence of ties to Australia such as employment, property, finances or loans and social connections.
Australian Citizenship has a range of benefits including:
- Unlimited travel in and out of Australia, once you hold an Australian passport
- Dual citizenship – keep your Kiwi passport too
- Voting rights
- Eligibility for a range of government jobs
- Deferral of university costs
- Overseas consular assistance from the Australian Government
- No more visas to think about
How does dual citizenship work?
You won’t need to give up your New Zealand passport. Being a dual citizen, you’ll have the best of both worlds and can travel with either passport.
Generally, when leaving and entering Australia, you should use your Aussie passport (less queuing too). If you’re travelling back home, you can take both with you and enter New Zealand using your Kiwi passport.
Citizenship for children born in Australia
Whether a child born in Australia is entitled to citizenship depends on the visa held by its parents at the time of birth.
Your child may be classed as an Australian citizen if:
- They were born here between 1 September 1994 and 26 February 2001 and you held a PR visa or a special category (444) visa at the time of birth
- They were born here on or after 27 February 2001 and you had PR or were on a special category (444) visa at the time of the birth
- They were born in Australia and have been ordinarily resident here for 10 years since birth. In this case, they’re deemed to have acquired citizenship
- They were born here any time between 26 January 1949 and 19 August 1986
Becoming an Australian citizen is the final step on your visa journey and one that’s definitely worth taking.
Split payment options available and may vary depending on the type of visa being applied for.
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. For more information visit www.truebluemigration.com