Australian Citizenship

Australian Citizenship

From eligibility criteria to the rights and privileges, discover everything you need to know about Australian citizenship.

Becoming an Australian citizen is a milestone that embodies a sense of belonging, rights, and responsibilities within the diverse and vibrant nation of Australia. It represents a commitment to the values of democracy, equality, and freedom that are integral to the Australian way of life.

Once you obtain your Australian citizenship, you have the opportunity to contribute to and enrich the Australian society, while enjoying the benefits and protections that come with being a member of the Australian community.

Main differences between a Permanent resident and an Australian citizen

How can I become an Australian citizen?

The Australian government has implemented three main pathways for individuals to become Australian citizens:

  • By birth: If you are born in Australia and one or both of your parents are Australian citizens or permanent residents of Australia.
  • By descent: If you are the child of an Australian citizen but you are born overseas, you will generally be granted Australian citizenship.
  • By grant: If you are a non-citizen of Australia you can apply to become an Australian citizen (by conferral) after obtaining a permanent residency.


Australian citizenship by conferral

Becoming an Australian citizen by conferral refers to the process by which individuals who are not born in Australia can acquire citizenship through an application and approval by the Australian government. This involves meeting certain eligibility criteria and once the application is approved, the individual takes a citizenship pledge and officially becomes an Australian citizen.

Australian Citizenship Basic Eligibility Criteria

1.     Be a permanent resident

2.     Residency requirement

  • Have been living in Australia on a valid visa for 4 years immediately before the day you apply.
  • Hold a permanent visa or an SCV for the last 12 months immediately before the day you apply and
  • not have been absent from Australia for more than 12 months in total in the past 4 years, including no more than 90 days in total in the 12 months immediately before applying.

3.    Character requirement: Be of good character (for over 18s).

4.  Knowledge of Australia: Pass the citizenship test (score 75% or more and answer ALL 5 questions on Australian values correctly).

5.     Language requirement

  • You need basic English.
  • If you score 75% or more on the citizenship test and answer all 5 questions on Australian values correctly, then you meet the language requirement.

6.     Close and continuing link to Australia: You are likely to live or continue to live in Australia or maintain a close and continuing link with Australia while overseas.

Circumstances where a citizenship application cannot be approved:

  • Identity issues
  • Criminal offences (pending judgements, recently released from prison, subject to conditions etc).
  • Risk to National security.
  • Former citizen (ceased to be an Australian citizen in the past 12 months).
  • Location at time of application approval (if outside Australia unless exemptions apply)

Australian Citizenship rights

By becoming an Australian citizen, you are eligible for certain rights that allow you to:

  • Apply for an Australian passport
  • Leave and re-enter Australia as many times as you want
  • Ask for help from an Australian consulate if in trouble overseas
  • Vote in federal, state or territory elections
  • Vote in a Constitutional referendum or plebiscite
  • Seek election to parliament, if you are aged 18 years or over and are not dual citizens
  • Register the birth of your children in another country as an Australian citizen


Australian Citizenship responsibilities

As an Australian citizen, you have the following responsibilities:

  • Behave in accordance with Australia’s democratic beliefs
  • Respect the rights and liberties of Australia
  • Follow and obey the law
  • Vote in federal and state or territory elections and referendum
  • Defend Australia if necessary
  • Serve on jury duty if summoned.

If you need support in your application to become an Australian citizen, contact our professional migration lawyers who will guide you to a successful and hassle-free application.