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How to Get Australian Citizenship – Eligibility & Process

Updated on 01 February, 2024

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

How to get Australian citizenship? This is one question that you should think about carefully, especially if you are studying or working in the country. Obtaining Australian citizenship is not an overly complicated process, although you must keep a few things in mind.


Benefits of an Australian Citizenship

Living in Australia as a citizen comes with its share of advantages. Some of them include the following: 

  • Live, work and travel without restrictions in Australia. 
  • Apply for an Australian passport and leave and re-enter the country without conditions or restrictions. 
  • Get diplomatic assistance from Australian representatives abroad. 
  • Get employment in Australia’s public sector or armed forces. 
  • You can stand for elections to Parliament and also vote in them. 
  • You can also serve on a legal jury if required while getting enrolled in the state/territory and federal electoral registers. 

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How to get Australian Citizenship – Ways and Means

You can obtain citizenship in Australia through multiple pathways. A permanent residency visa could be an initial step, and you can live, work and study without any restrictions in the country while on this visa. However, permanent residents will have to possess permanent visas from official authorities for returning to the country while being unable to vote or apply for government and other jobs. You can apply for permanent residency visas as part of a family, as a migrant or for humanitarian reasons. 

If you were wondering how to get citizenship in Australia after PR (permanent residency), you would have to satisfy specific eligibility criteria. They include the following: 

  • You should have passed your citizenship test (unless you are over 60 years of age). 
  • You should be a permanent resident of the country while applying. 
  • You should meet residency requirements. 
  • You should be likely to stay or keep staying in the country or maintain a close association with it. 
  • You should demonstrate good character. 

As per the regulations, an adult becoming a permanent resident of Australia on 1st July 2007 or after this date should have stayed for four years before the citizenship application. This is an answer to how many years to get citizenship in Australia. This will include 12 months as a permanent resident and maximum absences of a year from the country, along with maximum absences of three months from Australia in the last 12 months before applying. Suppose you were born in the country and at least one parent is a citizen or permanent resident of Australia. In that case, you may automatically get citizenship, although you will have to apply for the passport and provide documents for this purpose. 

If you are foreign-born, but at least one parent is a citizen of Australia, you can obtain citizenship. You should either opt for dual citizenship or apply for Australian citizenship by meeting varied criteria. If you were born outside the country but were a permanent resident at one point, you may gain citizenship by living in the country for a maximum of four years with one year out of the tally as a permanent resident. There are requirements like demonstrating good character and taking the citizenship test. 

For New Zealand Citizens

For permanent residents of New Zealand or New Zealand citizens, they can obtain citizenship of Australia by fulfilling these criteria: 

  • Age between 18-59 years. 
  • Children between 16-17 years of age. 
  • Children 15 years or less should apply with guardians/parents. 
  • Migrants under the Commonwealth Child Migration Scheme. 
  • Spouse/partner of a citizen of Australia. 
  • Eligible citizens of New Zealand. 
  • Humanitarian migrants or refugees.
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By Conferral

You can also become an Australian citizen (by conferral) if you meet these conditions: 

  1. A permanent resident who is 60 years or more. 
  2. Migrant under the Commonwealth Child Migration Scheme. 
  3. Spouse/partner of any Australian citizen. 
  4. Eligible citizen of New Zealand. 
  5. Humanitarian/refugee migrants. 

You can become a citizen via descent if you were born abroad and your parent was an Australian citizen at that time. You can become a citizen via adoption if you are a child adopted by a citizen of Australia under the Full Hague Adoption Convention/bilateral agreement. If you were born before the independence (1975) in Papua, you could become a citizen. If you plan to renew your former citizenship, were born in the country, or are stateless, you can become a citizen. 

By Investment

You can get citizenship via investment if you satisfy any of these criteria: 

  • Funding from a specific investor category of a minimum of AUD 200,000 for commercializing any service/product in the country. 
  • Successful history of business with net assets standing at AUD 800,000. 
  • Approved AUD 1.5 million investment with net assets standing at AUD 2.5 million. 
  • Approved AUD 5 million investment. 
  • Approved AUD 15 million investment. 

Steps to be Followed for the Citizenship of Australia

You should submit your application form while paying the applicable fees to the department. You will be contacted after that for further proceedings. Successful applicants will be invited to participate in the Australian citizenship ceremony, including the Australian Citizenship Pledge. Some requirements include the following:  

  • Permanent resident of Australia. 
  • Over the age of 16. 
  • Have lived in Australia for four years, including 12 months as a permanent resident. 
  • Know privileges, rights and responsibilities as an Australian citizen. 
  • Have demonstrated good character.

You will also have to clear the citizenship test, showing your knowledge and insights on Australia’s values, society, and history. The test will analyze the English language capabilities of applicants along with their understanding of their privileges and responsibilities while showing an intention for working and staying in the country or maintaining a closer connection to the same. 

Documents Needed for Citizenship of Australia

Those born to parents with Australian citizenship will not require any citizenship documents. However, they will require some documents for getting their Australian passports. Here are some other documents that are needed: 

  • Documents that serve as identity proof like a driving license, for example. 
  • Birth certificate showing birth in Australia to at least one parent with permanent residency or citizenship of Australia. 
  • Marriage certificate or other document showing proof of name change if applicable. 
  • Proof that any one parent is a permanent resident of Australia or citizen, including a certified copy of a parent’s passport or pages showing a permanent resident’s visa. 
  • For applications for citizenship by grant, there should be identity proof documents submitted along with a valid passport that indicates the status of a permanent resident of Australia. 
  • There should be documents proving the time spent in Australia. 
  • There should also be a police certificate that proves that the applicant does not have any criminal record in Australia. 
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Citizenship test

This test is exempted for those above 60 or under 18. Those suffering from specific impairments or loss of sight/hearing/speech are also exempted. The test has been tailored to help prospective citizens learn about the country’s history, traditions, values and national symbols. It is vital to ensure that the future citizen takes part in the local community while tapping into all available opportunities. 

You should be a permanent resident of the country for appearing for the test and satisfying other identity and related criteria while registering for the same. You should also let the department take your photograph or provide a photograph yourself as per the specified criteria. 


Global Talent Program (GTI)

This global talent visa program is a special pathway for skilled and competent professionals to stay and work in Australia permanently. The country desires top international talents to come and stay there and introduce more innovation and skills for industries in the high-priority list while also building opportunities for Australians through innovation promotion, skill transfer and job creation. 

Australia offers a specified number of positions in this program every year. For example, as per reports, there were 15,000 positions available in 2021-2022. Talented individuals can get permanent residency via this program for starting fulfilling new lives and careers in Australia. 


Getting citizenship in Australia is not difficult, provided you abide by all the guidelines and regulations. You can readily check out all the information available at the official portals of the immigration department before applying.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to get citizenship in Australia?

If applying for citizenship via conferral, most applications will be processed within a maximum duration of 24 months, while 90% of applications are approved. Approved applicants can attend their ceremonies within nine months from the approval. Those applying via descent will have applications processed within five months usually. Those applying for evidence of citizenship will have their applications processed within 22 days on average.

Can a foreigner get citizenship in Australia?

Foreigners can get Australian citizenship via a grant. They should have lived legally in Australia for a minimum of four years before applying, and this should be backed by a year of permanent residency. They should have lived in the country for 9 out of 12 months before the application date.

Can I live in Australia permanently?

You can live permanently in Australia once you get approval for your application and visa. Within the visa validity period, you can freely live in the country. You can also take up employment in the country likewise. You can then apply for citizenship if you satisfy the criteria.

Is the Australian citizenship test difficult?

The Australian Citizenship Test site has a few practice questions within the booklet that you can take a closer look at. You can get more practice by reading up on the country’s history, national symbols, rights and responsibilities of citizens, traditions and socio-cultural aspects. The government periodically updates the tests, and experts feel that every update makes the test harder.

Does Australia give citizenship by birth?

Those born in the country before 20th August 1986 were given citizenship via birth, irrespective of their parents’ nationalities. Those born afterward will get citizenship via birth if at least one of the parents is a citizen or permanent resident of the country.




How long does it take to get Australian citizenship after PR?

A permanent resident of Australia will have eligibility for citizenship after a specific waiting period. When this period gets over, applicants should go through citizenship tests while completing some other formalities. This process may require 3-12 months on average. You can expect your application to be processed within 10-14 months after filing the same.

Which is the best way to become an Australian citizen?

You can become an Australian citizen by grant if you do not satisfy other conditions like birth or conferral requirements. You can apply if you meet the age criteria and are a permanent resident of Australia. You should have stayed in the country legally for four years and been a permanent resident for 12 months. You should have stayed for at least nine out of the last twelve months until the application date. You should demonstrate good character while showing sufficient knowledge of your rights, privileges and responsibilities as an Australian citizen.

How difficult is it to become an Australian citizen?

It is quite easy if you were born in Australia to any one or both parents who are citizens or permanent residents of the country. At the same time, you can also apply for citizenship if you satisfy the conditions listed by the authorities, including four years of legal residence in the country, 12 months as a permanent resident, showing good character, etc. You can also get your application swiftly processed for permanent residency visas as well. They may eventually lead to citizenship. Those belonging to New Zealand can also expect a seamless procedure for becoming an Australian citizen.

Is it difficult to apply for Australian citizenship?

It is not difficult to apply once you have lived in Australia on a valid visa for four years. This should have one year as a permanent resident. After that, once you have shown your good character and met all other documentation needs, you should clear the citizenship test while showing good English language proficiency scores.

Can someone buy Australian citizenship?

No, you can’t buy Australian citizenship. However, you can get citizenship in Australia via investment. There are various slabs and criteria for investors to get citizenship under the temporary subclass 188 and permanent subclass 888 visa options. The latter leads to citizenship in Australia. The country offers provisions for investors to get citizenship once they invest specific amounts and meet the other criteria (if applicable).

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

We are a dedicated team of study-abroad experts, ensuring intensive research and comprehensive information in each of our blogs. With every piece written, we aim at simplifying the overseas education process for all. Our diverse experience as journalists, content writers, editors, content strategists, and marketers helps create the most relevant and authentic blogs for our readers.

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