You can become a citizen of Australia in different ways. You must meet our criteria before you apply. Conferral and descent are the most common ways to apply.
You could be eligible for Australian citizenship by descent if you were born outside Australia and one (or both) of your parents at the time of your birth was also an Australian citizen at that time.
Becoming a citizen by conferral is a common way to become an Australian citizen. You need to meet certain criteria before you can apply:
- Be a permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen when you apply and your application is decided.
- Be in Australia when your application is decided (in most cases).
- Intend to live in Australia or maintain a lasting link with Australia while overseas.
- You do not need to sit the 'Australian Citizenship Test'.
At the time you apply:
- You must have been living in Australia on a valid visa for the past 4 years.
- You must not have been a permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen for the past 12 months.
- Not have been away from Australia for no more than 12 months in total in the past 4 years, including no more than 90 days in total in the past 12 months.
Your residency starts on the date you have been granted the permanent visa when you were in Australia, or when you first entered Australia on a permanent visa.
The applicant entered Australia before July 1990 and has not travelled outside of Australia since that date; or The applicant does not have an expired or current passport or travel document; or The applicant is eligible for an exemption or concession to the application fee.
Application Charge for Main Applicant: A$490, For an Applicant between 16 and 17 Years of Age: A$300, Pensioner Concession Card Holders: Reduced Fee, Children 15 Years or Younger: No Fee.
90% of applications are processed within 15 months.
You must be of 'good character' if you are 18 years or over. Good character is the 'enduring moral qualities of a person'. When Home Affairs assess good character, they may consider whether you are likely to uphold and obey the laws of Australia, and meet the other commitments made through the citizenship pledge.
You must understand what it means to be an Australian citizen. To assess this, most applicants will sit the citizenship test. At the time you have an appointment, you must show that you have:
- a basic knowledge of the English language
- an understanding of what it means to become an Australian citizen
- an adequate knowledge of Australia and the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship
- an understanding and commitment to Australian values based on freedom, respect and equality.
If you score 75% or more on our citizenship test, and answer all 5 questions on Australian values correctly, then you meet the knowledge requirement.
You need a basic knowledge of the English language to become an Australian citizen. English is Australia's national language and communicating in English helps you to live a full life in Australia. If you score 75% or more on your citizenship test, and answer all 5 questions on Australian values correctly, then you meet the language requirement. Some applicants do not have to sit the test but must have an interview to show they:
- Understand what it means to become an Australian citizen
- Have an adequate knowledge of the responsibilities and privileges of Australian citizenship.
If you applied on or after 1 July 2021 and your application is approved, then an Australian citizenship certificate will be mailed for each approved applicant/s. How your citizenship certificate is sent to you, depends on the postal address you provide in your application. If your postal address is outside Australia, your certificate maybe mailed to you, or to the closest Australian Embassy or Consulate. If your certificate is mailed to the closest Australian Embassy or Consulate, then you will be notified of how you can collect the certificate. You do not need to attend a citizenship ceremony.
You do not need to meet residence requirement if you are under 16 years, or were born to a former Australian citizen who lost their citizenship before 4 April 2002, or were born in Papua before 16 September 1975 and one of your parents was born in Australia and was an Australian citizen when you were born.
You or your family may be exempt from our residence requirement if you are a member of the Australian Defence Force.
Ministerial discretion that may be applied to assist a person to meet the residence requirement:
- If you were present in Australia as an unlawful non-citizen and the Minister considers that you were an unlawful non-citizen during that period because of an administrative error, the Minister may treat your presence during that period as if you had been lawful.
- If you were present in Australia as a temporary resident and the Minister considers that you were not a permanent resident during that period because of an administrative error, the Minister may treat your presence during that period as if you had been a permanent resident.
- If you were in prison or a psychiatric institution, the Minister may count that period towards the residence requirement if, taking into account the circumstances that resulted in your confinement, the Minister is satisfied that it would be unreasonable not to do so.
- If you were in Australia as a temporary resident, the Minister may treat that period as one in which you were in Australia as a permanent resident if the Minister is satisfied that you will suffer significant hardship or disadvantage.
- If you were the spouse or de facto partner, or surviving spouse or de facto partner, of an Australian citizen at the time of your application for citizenship and you had spent time outside Australia while a permanent resident, you were the spouse or de facto partner of the Australian citizen during that period, and you had a close and continuing association with Australia during that period, then the Minister may treat that period as one in which you were present in Australia as a permanent resident.
- If, at the time you applied for citizenship, you held a permanent visa granted to you because you were in an interdependent relationship with an Australian citizen and you were in that interdependent relationship, and you had spent time outside Australia while you held that visa as a permanent resident, and you were in the interdependent relationship with the Australian citizen during that period, and you had a close and continuing association with Australia during that period, the Minister may treat that period as one in which you were present in Australia as a permanent resident.
Most applicants for citizenship by conferral aged between 18 and 59 years will need to have an interview and sit the citizenship test. Some applicants aged 16 or 17 years, or who are aged 60 and over, may be required to have an interview but will not need to sit the citizenship test.
If you are applying for Australian citizenship by conferral, you do not need to sit the test if you:
- are under 18 years old at the time you apply for citizenship.
- are aged 60 or over at the time you apply for citizenship.
- were born to a former Australian citizen who automatically lost Australian citizenship because they became a citizen of another country when they were an adult.
- were born in Papua before 16 September 1975 to an Australian citizen born in Australia (as Australia is now).
- were stateless when born in Australia and are not entitled to the citizenship of another country.
- have a substantial impairment to or permanent loss of hearing, speech or sight.
- have a permanent or enduring mental or physical incapacity, that means that you cannot: understand the nature of your application, show that you have a basic knowledge of English, and show that you have an adequate knowledge of Australia and the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship.
Welcome to the 'Australian Citizenship Practice Test'. To pass the test you must: answer the following 20 multiple choice questions, answer all 5 of the Australian values questions correctly, and get a mark of at least 75% overall.
The Australian citizenship test resource booklet 'Australian Citizenship: Our Common Bond' has all the information you need to prepare for the citizenship test.
1. Identity documents such as passport (photo, personal details, passport issue and expiry dates), birth certificate, proof of name change such as marriage or divorce certificate. Other examples of documents include: Australian driver's licence, national identity card, UNHCR document, aircrew identity document, seafarer identity document, military identity document, proof of age card and student card.
2. If you are or have been married, widowed, divorced or permanently separated, provide proof such as marriage certificates, divorce documents, death certificates, separation documents or statutory declarations.
3. Provide an overseas police certificate from every country, including your home country, where you spent a total of 12 months or more in the last 10 years since you turned 16, any military service records or discharge papers if you served in the armed forces of any country.
4. Passport size photographs.
5. Evidence of residential address such as electricity, gas or water bill rates, notice, rental contract and bank statement.
6. Examples of first entry to Australia such as current or previous passport, travel document with a visa, such as Document for Travel to Australia, PLO56 (M56) or Titre de Voyage, proof of entry and passenger list from National Archives of Australia.