Obtain Australian Citizenship

There are several legal pathways through which a foreigner can become an Australian citizen. Most of the applications for Australian citizenship are made by conferral or by descent, according to the official information gathered by the Department of Home Affairs of the Government of Australia.

Australian citizenship obtained by descent refers to foreigners who are related to native Australians and who are legally entitled to obtain citizenship following specific immigration schemes. Citizenship by conferral designates a term which refers to foreigners who are not related to Australian citizens, and who have obtained permanent residency in this country.

Besides this basic requirement, the applicant must comply with other criteria which vary based on the person’s age and nationality. You can find out more details on how to obtain citizenship from our Australia migration lawyer. Below, you can discover the main ways through which one is entitled to  citizenship.

What are the main ways for becoming an Australian citizen?

As we mentioned above, foreigners can obtain Australian citizenship by conferral or by descent. The right to applying for citizenship by conferral is granted to foreigners who have obtained permanent residency (obtained through a residence permit in Australia) in this country and to those who are citizens of New Zealand. Here, the category of persons allowed to apply for it refers to the following:

• persons who have an age between 18 to 59 years old and who have obtained the permanent residence;
• persons with an age of 16 or 17 years old and children of 15 years old or younger who are represented by their legal guardian (or parent);
• persons who migrate to Australia under the Commonwealth Child Migration Scheme;
• persons who are citizens of New Zealand, who must meet specific eligibility criteria;
• foreigners who are partners or spouses of an Australian citizen;
• the legislation for immigration to Australia also entitles refugees or other humanitarian migrants to apply for Australian citizenship.

The other category of persons who can obtain citizenship by conferral refers to persons with an age above 60 years old and such persons can be permanent residents, eligible New Zealand citizens, persons who are refugees or humanitarian migrants or spouses or partners of Australian citizens.

Persons who were born in a foreign country and who have a parent who, at the time of birth, was an Australian citizen, are also entitled to obtaining citizenship. In the case in which an Australian citizen adopts a child from a foreign country and the adoption is done outside the Australian territory, the respective child is also entitled to receive Australian citizenship. Other options are also available, and you can request more details from our immigration lawyer in Australia.

How can one resume Australian citizenship

According to the legislation applicable in Australia, a person who had Australian citizenship and lost it due to various reasons, is also entitled to re-gain the right of being an Australian citizen. However, it must be noted that citizenship can be re-gained in specific conditions, meaning that the manner in which the person lost his or her previous citizenship may influence the possibility to resume the citizenship.

For example, a person who had obtained the citizenship in Australia and lost it because the person became the citizen of another country, which required, under the local legislation, to renounce the previous citizenship (this is applicable in certain jurisdictions), can request to resume his or her citizenship.

A person is also entitled to resume citizenship in the case in which the citizenship was revoked when the applicant was still a minor, as a consequence of the fact that one of the parent lost his or her citizenship. This right is also granted for those who have become Australian citizens through naturalization or registration and who have lived outside Australia or Papua New Guinea for more than seven years between the period of 26th of January 1948 and 8th October 1958.

Other legal situations may also apply and we invite you to request more details from our Australia immigration lawyer. It must be noted that persons who were born on 16th September 1975 on the territory of Papua New Guinea are not entitled to Australian citizenship as, in that day, Papua New Guinea achieved its independence from Australia and this means that those born in this region have automatically lost citizenship.

Australian citizenship for adopted children

Children who were adopted from foreign countries by Australian citizens also benefit from the right of having Australian citizenship. The procedure is bound by having a valid adoption certificate and, once the applicant receives the citizenship, he or she will be able to apply for an Australian passport as well.

An important condition, according to the legislation for immigration in Australia, is to have a parent with Australian citizenship. Also, the adoption compliance certificate must follow the regulations of the Hague Convention or those of a bilateral agreement signed by Australia and the country from which the child is adopted.

However, in most of the cases, the adoption certificate will follow the regulations of the Hague Convention, as, currently, the bilateral agreement is applicable only with the following states: the Republic of Korea, Taiwan and the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

Please be aware that the Australian citizenship procedure requires the applicant to meet a set of requirements in the case in which he or she has an age above 18 years old, requirements that refer to the good character of the applicant. Once the person meets the eligibility criteria, the process can start and it will generally involve the following steps:

• prepare the documents required under the applicable law, such as identity documents, adoption documents;
• complete the Form 1272 Application for Australian citizenship for children adopted under the Hague Convention or bilateral agreements;
• in the case of those who have an age below 16 years old, the parents have to complete the respective papers;
• submit the application form, along with the necessary papers, with the Department of Home Affairs;
• pay the application fee and wait for the decision of the local authorities;
• please be aware that during the process, the Australian authorities may require additional papers.

Australian citizenship will be granted from the day in which the authorities will provide a positive answer. However, in the case in which the answer is negative, the applicant is entitled to an appeal, which can be handled by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Persons who receive their citizenship by adoption do not have to participate to a citizenship ceremony, as it can be the case of other foreigners who have obtained their citizenship here. Once the citizenship is granted, the applicant will receive, by post, an extract of citizenship by adoption, without having to comply with any additional procedures.

Can one have dual citizenship in Australia?

Yes, the legislation for immigration in Australia allows foreigners to retain the right to dual citizenship once they apply and obtain Australian citizenship. However, the possibility of having two citizenships will be influenced on whether the law in the home country of the foreigner grants the right of maintaining the first citizenship.

What are the conditions for obtaining Australian citizenship by conferral?

As a foreigner wishing to obtain citizenship, one has to comply with specific residency requirements. These can vary based on the age of the person, his or her nationality, so the legislation in this field has to be studied in-depth; for this, you can also request the professional assistance of our Australia migration lawyer. Some of the basic requirements are the following:

• the applicant must provide evidence that he or she has been living in Australia in the last 4 years;
• the person must have obtained the permanent residence through the issuance of a permanent residence permit in Australia for at least 12 months at the moment when the application for Australian citizenship is made;
• the person must have not stayed outside Australia for more than 12 months in the last 4 years and the time he or she could have spent outside the country in the last 12 months prior to the application must not be of more than 90 days;
• persons with an age below 16 years old do not have to meet these requirements, but they must be permanent residents at the moment they apply for citizenship;
• the applicants will need to pass a citizenship test at which they must obtain a score of at least 75%, but there are specific exemptions from the test requirement.

In order to apply for Australian citizenship, one has to prepare a set of documents, divided into papers showing the identity of the person, documents presenting that the applicant meets the good character requirements, various supporting documents based on the specific situation of the applicant, documents on various procedural exemptions to which the persons are entitled to and other necessary papers.

One should also book an appointment with the local authorities for the Australian citizenship interview (which is applicable to most of the residents with an age between 18 to 59 years old), these being some of the basic aspects of the procedure. For more details, you can rely on the advice of our immigration lawyer in Australia.