Chapters

Becoming a citizen

There are ten steps in the process to become an Australian citizen. While permanent residents share the rights and duties or citizens, there are some rights and duties unique to citizens. Becoming a citizen entitles a person to:

  • An Australian passport
  • The right to stand for public office and election for Parliament
  • The right to vote in federal, state, and local electrons
  • Serve on juries
  • Claim diplomatic protection while overseas
  • Serve in the Australian defence force

Citizenship is governed by the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 (Cth). Citizenship can be obtained in several ways:

  • Birth - in Australia to Australian citizens, or in Australia to non-Australian citizens if the child is ordinarily resident in Australia for their first ten years, 
  • Descent – through the citizenship of one’s parents
  • Adoption
  • Permanent residence and application for citizenship
  • Resuming Australian citizenship
  • Children born in Australia automatically receive Australian citizenship once their birth is registered with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the State in which they are born.
  • Children adopted overseas

The process of applying for citizenship as an adopted child is available online. There are several requirements, including compliance with the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, and compliance with domestic Australian law.

Children born overseas to Australian citizen parents

The requirements are fairly straightforward – if born after January 26, 1949, to an Australian citizen parent, a person is eligible to apply for citizenship. This category also applies to individuals whose responsible parent was an Australian citizen by descent and spent periods of two years during their lifetime in Australia.

Permanent residents

This category includes: spouse or partner of an Australian resident; New Zealand citizen living in Australia; child of a former Australian citizen, refugee or humanitarian entrant, Commonwealth Child Migrant Scheme arrival, or a person born in Papua before Independence in 1975. Detailed information is available online.

Loss of Citizenship

Citizenship can be lost if a citizen renounces their citizenship; serves in the armed forces of a country at war with Australia; is a child of a person who loses citizenship; or who acquired citizenship on a fraudulent basis, and it is against public interest to allow them to retain their citizenship.

Regaining Australian Citizenship

If you surrendered your citizenship in order to become a citizen of another state, it is possible to regain Australian citizenship, as Australia now recognises dual citizenship. Regaining Australian citizenship is governed by several rules. Details are available online. The process is also available online.

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