Australia Citizenship

Australian citizenship was created on 26 January 1949 by the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948 (later renamed the Australian Citizenship Act 1948). Prior to this date Australians were British subjects and Australia shared a common nationality code with the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth countries at the time (see also British nationality law). The 1948 legislation has been amended many times, notably in 1973, 1984, 1986 and 2002.

Application for citizenship You can apply for Australian citiszenship if you are a permanent resident, in Australia and over 18 years of age and if you:

    Have travelled in and out of Australia since at least 1990
  • Are not eligible to claim a concession or exemption to the full application charge
  • Are not part of the Australian Reserve Forces.
    And to complete your application you will need to provide the following information:

    Your passport details (with the visa on which you last travelled to Australia)

    Your date of first arrival in Australia and the date on which you became a permanent resident of Australia
    Your credit card details for payment.
    Requirements for Citizenship after 1 July 2007:

    If you obtain your permanent residence after 1 July 2007, you will need to meet the following requirements to become an Australian citizen:

    You have lived lawfully in Australia for at least 4 years; and
    You have lived in Australia for at least 12 months as a permanent resident

    Please note that if you have spent more than 12 months in the last 4 years outside Australia or 3 months in the last 12 outside Australia, you will no longer meet the residence requirements for citizenship. The new requirements also recognise the changes in the migration programme over the years which have resulted in an increasing number of people spending significant periods of time in Australia as temporary residents prior to becoming permanent residents.

    Dual Citizenship

    Australia now allows dual citizenship. That means that an Australian citizen can take up citizenship of another country without losing their Australian citizenship. If, on the other hand, you become an Australian citizen, it is up to the law of your country of citizenship whether you can keep your existing citizenship.

    Rights and Responsibilities of Australian Citizens
    Australian citizens enjoy the following rights (subject to certain exceptions): Entitlement to an Australian passport and to Australian consular protection overseas

    Entitlement to leave Australia and return at any time without requiring a resident return visa

    Entitlement to register overseas born children as Australian citizens by descent (subject to some additional criteria)

  • Entitlement to seek employment for the Federal (Commonwealth) Government, where citizenship is normally required
  • Entitlement to vote and stand for public office (dual citizens cannot stand for office in the Federal Parliament. Most states do allow dual citizens to stand for State Parliaments).

  • Immunity from deportation
The following responsibilities are expected of Australian citizens:
  • Defend Australia, should the need arise
  • Enroll to vote, and vote at all elections (without a reasonable excuse such as a religious objection or illness on polling day)

  • Obey the law
  • Serve on a jury, if called upon
Birth in Australia
If you were born in Australia, then you would automatically be an Australian citizen if:
  • You were born in Australia prior to 20 August 1986; OR

  • You were born in Australia after 20 August 1986, and one of your parents held Australian citizenship or an Australian permanent residence visa at the time of birth; OR

  • You were born in Australia after 20 August 1986, neither of your parents held Australian citizenship or an Australian permanent residence visa, but you have spent the majority of your life in Australia prior to your 10th birthday. In this case, you automatically become an Australian citizen on your 10th birthday.

Born Overseas to an Australian Citizen Parent

If you were born overseas and one of your parents held Australian citizenship at your date of birth, then you are eligible to be registered as an Australian citizen. The registration must be done at an Australian consulate or embassy overseas.

Residence in Australia prior to 26 January 1949

If you were a British subject resident in Australia or New Guinea for the 5 years prior to the 26th of January 1949, you would have become an Australian citizen automatically on this date.

Pledge of commitment

You will obtain Australian citizenship only after you have made the pledge of commitment and have been issued with evidence of Australian citizenship from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).