Australian Citizenship Eligibility FAQs
The general eligibility requirements for Australian citizenship eligibiltiy, if you are aged between 18 and 59, are that:
- You have been living in Australia on a valid visa for the past 4 years;
- You have been a permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen for the past 12 months;
- You have been outside Australia for no more than 12 months in total for the past 4 years, including no more than 90 days in total in the past 12 months;
- You must be of good character;
- You have knowledge of Australia; and
- You have a close and continuing link to Australia.
If you are a New Zealand citizen and permanent resident you are able to apply for Australian citizenship. Please note that NZ citizens who are arriving in Australia, or have arrived and resided in Australia after 26 February 2001 are on Special Category Visa (SCV) Subclass 444. This visa while allowing the NZ citizens stay in Australia indefinitely, it is not a permanent resident visa. NZ citizens on Subclass 444 may be eligible to apply for permanent residency in Australia. Please check with the Department of Home Affairs for potential pathways.
For the NZ citizens who arrived and resided in Australia prior to 26 February 2001, Australian citizenship eligibility may be possible provided that you arrived in Australia with a New Zealand passport and:
- You were in Australia on 26 February 2001;
- You were in Australia for 12 months in the 2 years prior to 26 February 2001; or
- You were assessed as a Special Category visa (SCV) holder and were issued a Centrelink certificate that states that you were residing in Australia at a particular time.
A spouse or partner of an Australian citizenship must meet the same requirements for Australian citizenship eligibility as any other applicant. If you are on a Partner (subclass 820) visa, this is a temporary visa and you will not be eligible for Australian citizen. As outlined above, you must be a permanent resident for the past 12 months in order to apply for Australian citizenship.
However, if you have an Australian citizen spouse or partner and at the time of application you spent time outside Australia as a permanent resident, you may treat those absences as time in Australia if you had a close and continuing association with Australia during that time.
Good character generally refers to the ‘enduring moral qualities of a person’. When assessing good character, the Department of Home Affairs considers whether you are likely to uphold and obey the laws of Australia; and meet the other commitment made through the Australian citizenship pledge.
The Department may consider:
- Any recorded criminal convictions;
- Obligations that you may have to a court in Australia or overseas;
- Your association with people of concern;
- Incidents of reported domestic violence; or
- Whether you have been honest in your dealings with the Australian community, including supplying false or misleading information in relation to a visa or citizenship application.
To get Australian citizenship, you must understand what it means to be an Australian citizen. To assess this, most applicants have to sit the citizenship test.
At the time of your citizenship interview with the Department, you must know about Australia and its people; Australia’s democratic beliefs, rights and liberties; and government and the law in Australia.
If you score 75% or more on the citizenship test, then you meet the knowledge requirement. You will also meet the language requirement for Australian citizenship if you achieve 75% or more.
In addition to scoring at least 75%, you must also answer all 5 questions on Australian values correctly.
Some applicants do not have to sit the citizenship test such as people who are 60 years and older.
There are some circumstances where you do not have to meet the general eligibility requirements for Australian citizenship. For example, if you meet one of the following, you do not have to satisfy the residency requirements:
- You were born to a former Australian citizen who lost their citizenship prior to 4 April 2002; or
- You were born in Papua before 16 September 1975 and one of your parents was born in Australia and was an Australia citizen when you were born.
If these exceptions apply to you we recommend that you seek advice of a migration agent.