Migrants who have settled down in Australia for an extended period may wish to consider applying for Australian citizenship. There are numerous pathways to become an Australian citizen but in most cases Australian permanent residents who have resided in Australia for a certain amount of time will be able to apply for Australian citizenship.


Benefits of Australian Citizenship

Having Australian citizenship provides certain differences to your stay in Australia, such as:

  • No need to renew your Resident Return Visa (RRV) every 5 years
  • Voting in federal elections
  • You may be eligible for the HECSHELP study assistance programme
  • You may be eligible for government employment
  • Avoid the risk of having your permanent residency cancelled on character grounds
  • Ability to spend unlimited time outside of Australia and be entitled to return at anytime

Australia allows its citizens to hold dual citizenships. You will need to check with your home country if dual citizenships are allowed.


Pathways to Becoming an Australian Citizen

The two most common pathways to becoming an Australian citizen are:

Australian Citizenship by Conferral

Citizenship by conferral is the most common pathway for permanent residents. If you migrated to Australia and meet the eligibility requirements you can apply for citizenship by conferral. "Confer" means to give, so citizenship by conferral means to be given citizenship.

People in this category might include:

  • Spouses of Australian citizens
  • New Zealand & British citizens who have lived here for an extended period of time
  • Children of former Australian citizens
  • Papuans born prior to independence in 1975
  • People who arrived under the Commonwealth Child Migration Scheme
  • Refugees & humanitarian entrants.

The major precondition for becoming an Australian citizen is your length of residence in Australia. Before you are able to apply for citizenship you must have:

  • Resided in Australia for a specified number of years (currently, 4 years), or
  • Spent a specified period of time as an Australian permanent resident (currently, 12 months).

If you were granted a permanent resident visa before you arrived in Australia, your permanent residence date is the date that you arrived in Australia on that visa. If you were granted a permanent resident visa after you arrived in Australia, your permanent residence date will be the date that the visa was granted.

For more information on citizenship by conferral click here.

Australian Citizenship by Descent

The citizenship by descent pathway is applicable for:

  • Applicants born outside Australia, or
  • Applicants that have at least one parent that was an Australian citizen when they were born.

More Requirement for Australian Citizen Applicaitons

For more information on further requirement for these application, click here.


What is the application process to obtain an Australian citizenship?

  1. Submit your application together with supporting documents and fees
  2. Wait for your invitation to sit the citizenship test
  3. Once invited, take the citizenship test and wait for your results
  4. If assessed to be eligible you will be invited to attend a citizenship ceremony (these may be held online in a pandemic).

Note: You must attend and complete the citizenship ceremony to become an Australian citizenship.

If you need help with the test, watch our video:


How can Work Visa Lawyers help?

Work Visa Lawyers is able to help assess your eligibility for Australian citizenship according to the appropriate qualifying streams. Additionally we have assisted with applicants who were in complicated circumstances, such as:

  • Not residing in Australia for extended periods because of circumstances beyond their control
  • Requirement to address past criminal charges or convictions

You may be able to ask for discretion to be exercised by the Minister to allow a grant of citizenship in exceptional circumstances where you have not met the requirements such as:

  • Administrative error led to you becoming unlawful or not becoming a permanent resident,
  • You would suffer significant hardship if a period of temporary residence is not counted as a period of permanent residence, or
  • You are a spouse, widow or widower of an Australian citizen, were a permanent resident, and maintained a close and continuing association with Australia during the relevant period.

There are special residence requirements for you if:

  • You have been engaged in activities of special benefit to Australia or work that required regular travel, or
  • You have completed the required amount of Defence services.


Difficult Citizenship Applications

The requirements for becoming a citizen by conferral have doubled in recent years from two years residency to four.

The length of residency required can prove difficult for persons with an Australian spouse, who can’t find work in their chosen field and therefore need to work overseas.

We can provide advice in relation to your situation and prepare submissions to the Minister on your behalf.


See how Work Visa Lawyers have helped others achieve their goal of Australian Citizenship


Speak to the Registered Migration Agents and Migration Lawyers at Work Visa Lawyers today about your eligibility to apply for an Australian citizenship.

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