Current citizens

Australian citizen by birth

Whether you are an Australian citizen by birth depends on the date of your birth.

Most children born in Australia before 20 August 1986 are Australian citizens by birth unless one parent was entitled to diplomatic privileges or was a consular officer of another country.

Children born after that date are only Australian citizens if at least one parent was an Australian citizen or permanent resident at the time of their birth.

Children born in Australia to parents who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents, automatically acquire Australian citizenship on their 10th birthday if they have lived most of their life in Australia.

Methods of acquiring Australian Citizenship

Adoption
If you were adopted in Australia:
on or after
22 November 1984
You became an Australian citizen at the time of adoption in Australia if you were adopted by an Australian citizen and you were a permanent resident in Australia at the time of adoption.
Birth
You acquired Australian citizenship by being born in Australia:
before 26 January 1949 and you were a British subject on 25 January 1949 You became an Australian citizen on 26 January 1949 unless your father was a foreign diplomat.
between 26 January 1949 and 19 August 1986 You became an Australian citizen at birth unless your father was a foreign diplomat.
on or after 20 August 1986 You became an Australian citizen at birth if at least one of your parents was an Australian citizen or permanent resident of Australia at the time of your birth.

You might have become an Australian citizen on your 10th birthday if you lived in Australia for the first 10 years of your life, and neither of your parents were entitled to diplomatic privileges during this time.
to New Zealand
citizen parents
You may be an Australian citizen (unless your parents were entitled to diplomatic privileges) if you were:
  • born in Australia between 26 January 1949 and 19 August 1986 (Note: children born in Australia between 20 August 1986 and 31 August 1994 generally did not acquire Australian citizenship by birth), or
  • born in Australia between 1 September 1994 and 26 February 2001 and at least one of your parents held a permanent residence visa or a Special Category visa, or
  • born in Australia on or after 27 February 2001 and at least one of your parents held an Australian permanent residence visa, or
  • born in Australia on or after 27 February 2001 to New Zealand citizen parents present in Australian on a Special Category visa if at least one parent:
    • was in Australia on 26 February 2001, or
    • had been in Australia for a period, or periods that total, at least one year in the 2 years immediately before 26 February 2001, or
    • had been issued with a Centrelink certificate stating they were resident in Australia on a particular date.
Born in Papua prior to Independence (16 September 1975) before 16 September 1975 You may be an Australian citizen from the date of your birth or, if born before 26 January 1949 you acquired Australian citizenship on 26 January 1949.

Persons born in the former Australian Territory of Papua prior to 16 September 1975 who have at least 2 grandparents born in Papua New Guinea (PNG) or adjacent areas automatically became PNG citizens and consequently lost Australian citizenship when PNG gained independence on 16 September 1975 unless:
  • they had been granted the right of permanent residence in Australia, or
  • they possessed another citizenship (other than Australian or Papua New Guinean) when they were under 19 years of age.
Conferral/Grant
You acquired Australian citizenship by conferral or grant by
  • migrating to Australia and becoming an Australian citizen (this includes children who are on a parent's evidence of citizenship).
  • notification. From 1 May 1970 to 31 May 1974, British subjects could acquire Australian citizenship 'by notification' provided they had been living in Australia for the 5 years before notifying their intention to become citizens.
Descent
You acquired Australian citizenship by descent by
applying for citizenship by descent, following your birth overseas to an Australian citizen.
Full Hague Adoption
You acquired Australian citizenship by Full Hague Adoption by being

adopted under 'full and permanent' Hague arrangements and becoming an Australian citizen.

Resumption
You acquired Australian citizenship by resumption

if you lost your Australian citizenship and then re-acquired it.

Transitional
Under special transitional provisions of the Australian Citizenship Act 1948 if you were born outside Australia before 26 January 1949 and were
a British subject on 25 January 1949 and you lived in
Australia for the 5 year period from 26 January 1944 until 25 January 1949
You became an Australian citizen on 26 January 1949.
a British subject born overseas to
an Australian father before 26 January
1949
  • You became an Australian citizen on 26 January 1949 if you entered Australia before 26 January 1949 on an unrestricted basis or you were granted permanent residence in Australia before that date, or
  • You became an Australian citizen on the date of arrival in Australia if you entered Australia between 26 January 1949 and 5 May 1966 as a permanent resident, or between 6 May 1966 and 30 April 1987 as a permanent resident.
a woman who was a British subject on 25 January 1949 and you married an Australian before 26 January 1949 You became an Australian citizen on 26 January 1949 if you entered Australia and were granted permanent residence before 26 January 1949.
you were born in New Guinea and you were a British subject on 25 January 1949

You became an Australian citizen on 26 January 1949.

Long term residents in Australia

Many long term permanent residents believe they are Australian citizens because they are able to vote or may have served in the Australian armed services. Until 1984, people born in the United Kingdom could enrol to vote without being Australian citizens.

Whether you are a citizen of Australia depends on your date of arrival. The Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948 came into effect on 26 January 1949. At that time, British subjects (or people naturalised as British subjects) living in Australia became Australian citizens provided they had been living in Australia for five years prior to that date.

British subjects, who had been ordinarily resident in Australia for the five year period between 26 January 1944 and 26 January 1949, automatically acquired Australian citizenship when the Citizenship Act came into effect on 26 January 1949.

Since then the Citizenship Act has been amended many times. These amendments and the transitional arrangements and provisions of the first citizenship Act have meant that some people could have automatically acquired or lost Australian citizenship over the intervening years.

For citizenship information that is more than 30 years old, please consult the National Archives of Australia.

Proof of citizenship

You are able to apply for evidence of your Australian citizenship if you ever had, or have been included in, a certificate that says you are an Australian citizen.

If you think you might be an Australian citizen, but you are unsure of your Australian citizenship status, you can also apply.
See: Proof of Australian Citizenship

You can also request confimation of the Australian citizenship status of a deceased parent or grandparent for official purposes.
See: Requesting confirmation of Australian citizenship status of a deceased person

Amending your personal details

If the name or date of birth on your current citizenship certificate is incorrect or has changed since you became an Australian citizen, you may correct or change your details.
See: Amending name or date of birth details for Australian citizens

Australian citizens travelling and living overseas

An Australian passport is the most conclusive proof of Australian citizenship when travelling. As an Australian citizen you must always leave and enter Australia on an Australian passport.

If you also have a passport from another country you can use that for travel once you have left Australia.
See: Citizenship and travel

As an Australian citizen, you do not lose your citizenship simply because you live overseas.
However, if you acquired citizenship of another country before 4 April 2002 you automatically lost your Australian citizenship because of the operation of the Australian citizenship legislation.
See: Losing your citizenship

Changes to the citizenship legislation mean you can now apply to resume your citizenship.
See: Changes to lodgement requirements to resume or renounce Austrlian Citizenship

Giving up Australian citizenship

You do not lose your Australian citizenship simply because you live overseas. However, if you acquired citizenship of another country and are required to or wish to give up your Australian citizenship you must apply to do so.
See: Giving up Australian citizenship

Dual citizenship

It is possible to hold citizenship of two or more countries if the law of those countries allow. This is known as dual, or multiple, citizenship.

People can become dual citizens automatically, or after being granted citizenship of another country.
See: Dual citizenship

Revoking citizenship

The Australian Citizenship Act 2007 allows for revocation of Australian citizenship for convictions for actions prior to the acquisition of citizenship. Australian citizenship can be revoked if:

  • a person has been convicted of making a false statement or representation in relation to the person's application to become an Australian citizen
  • a person is convicted of a serious criminal offence at any time prior to becoming a citizen involving a sentence of 12 months or more
  • the approval to become an Australian citizen was gained as a result of migration-related fraud
  • the approval to become an Australian citizen was gained as a result of third party fraud; for example, fraudulent conduct by a migration agent in the citizenship application
  • it would be contrary to the public interest for the person to remain an Australian citizen.

People who have their citizenship revoked become the holders of an ex-citizen visa and are subject to the provisions of the Migration Act 1958, including the requirement to be of good character.

The Migration Act 1958 provides for the cancellation of a visa, and removal of the former visa-holder from Australia, if the person is found to be no longer of good character.

An Australian citizen by birth cannot have their Australian citizenship revoked. Similarly, a person conferred citizenship, after fully disclosing all relevant factors, cannot have their Australian citizenship revoked.

Children

Children under the age of 18 may also have their citizenship revoked unless the other responsible parent is an Australian citizen or the child would become stateless.

Last modified Monday 15 September 2014