Becoming a citizen of Australia provides a sense of belonging enabling more fulsome participation in Australian life. Citizenship represents a commitment to Australia and its people.
There are a number of different application options with differing eligibility requirements. The application process for Australian citizenship varies depending on eligibility.
Where applicants fail to meet physical presence requirements, grounds for concessional applications may exist and professional advice should be sought about eligibility for these concessional grounds. Strategic Migration can provide you with an assessment of your options.
Automatically becoming an Australian Citizen
Born in Australia
If you were born in Australia before 20 August 1986 then you automatically became an Australian citizen at birth.
You automatically become an Australian citizen if you were born in Australia after 20 August 1986 and:
- at birth at least one of your parents was an Australian citizen or permanent resident; or
- you have been ‘ordinarily resident’ in Australia throughout the 10 years from the day of your birth. ‘Ordinarily resident’ means your permanent home is in Australia – temporary absences will not prevent you becoming a citizen automatically. For example, if you were born in Australia and never departed, you would automatically become an Australian citizen on your 10th birthday.
If you were born overseas to an Australian Citizen Parent then you will need to be registered as an Australian citizen at an appropriate Australian overseas office of the Department of Home Affairs.
Applying for Australian Citizenship
To apply for Australian Citizenship permanent residents must satisfy the following:
- be aged 18 years or over;
- be a permanent resident;
- satisfy the residence requirement;
- have a basic knowledge of the English language;
- have a basic knowledge of Australia and the privileges and responsibilities of citizenship;
- intend to reside, or continue to reside, in Australia or to maintain a close and continuing association with Australia;
- be of good character; and,
- satisfactorily complete a Citizenship Test.
To satisfy the residence requirements applicants must demonstrate:
- being lawfully present in Australia for a period of four years (absences from Australia totalling twelve months or less during this period are permissible); and,
- present in Australia as a permanent resident for twelve months (absences from Australia totalling three months or less during this period are permissible);
immediately before making an application for Australian citizenship.
To ensure the accuracy of your eligibility for Australian citizenship, it is important to calculate all overseas travel undertaken (if any), since the grant of permanent residence:
- if the person was absent from Australia for a part of the period of 4 years immediately before the day the person made the application and the total period of the absence or absences was not more than 12 months then the person is taken to have been present in Australia during each period of absence;
- If the person was absent from Australia for a part of the period of 12 months immediately before the day the person made the application and the total period of the absence or absences was not more than 90 days and the person was a permanent resident during each period of absence then the person is taken to have been present in Australia as a permanent resident during each period of absence.
There are concessional grounds for an application for Australian Citizenship where the applicant does not satisfy the residence requirements.
Spouse or De facto partner of Australian Citizen
Periods spent overseas by an Australian permanent resident who is the spouse, de facto partner (including same-sex partners) or surviving spouse or de facto partner of an Australian Citizen at the time of making an application, can be counted as periods of permanent residence in Australia.
The discretion to treat periods spent overseas by an applicant as periods during which the applicant was present in Australia as a permanent resident can only be applied to periods when:
- the applicant was the spouse or de facto partner of a person who was an Australian citizen, and
- the applicant was a permanent resident and
- the applicant had a close and continuing association with Australia (see below).
If the applicant is the surviving spouse or de facto partner of an Australian citizen, they can only count time while their Australian citizen spouse or de facto partner was alive.
This discretion would usually only be exercised if the applicant was overseas with their Australian citizen spouse or de facto partner.
Factors that may contribute to a close and continuing association with Australia include:
- Australian citizen children
- length of relationship with Australian citizen spouse or de facto partner
- extended family in Australia
- return visits to Australia
- periods of residence in Australia
- intention to reside in Australia
- employment in Australia (for example, public or private sector)
- ownership of property in Australia
- evidence of income tax payment in Australia and
- current bank accounts in Australia.
Persons engaging in activities of benefit to Australia or requiring travel outside Australia
In certain circumstances an applicant may satisfy the residence requirement if:
- they are seeking to engage in of activities of benefit to Australia.
- persons engaged in particular work requiring regular travel outside Australia.
We recommend a professional consultation to discuss the abovementioned information and to review eligibility.
A professional consultation will enable us to explain the process more fully, appropriate options and strategies, timelines and costs and your prospects of success.
Please contact us.
Disclaimer: This website contains information relating to some of the abovementioned visa categories and has been sanctioned by a Registered Migration Agent. The information is for general guidance only and readers should obtain appropriate professional advice relevant to their personal circumstances before taking any action. Strategic Migration expressly disclaims any liability should the reader act without a professional engagement with Strategic Migration under which you have paid professional fees for immigration advice or assistance.