3 main routes to obtaining Australian Citizenship

If you intend to apply for Australian Citizenship, it is important you research and learn of the routes available to you in order to ensure the desirable outcome without having to waste extra time or incur unnecessary costs.

In Australia, there are several routes to obtaining a Citizenship, however, whether it is a Citizenship by descent or by conferral – the complexity of the bureaucratic process would depend on your personal and surrounding circumstances.

This article will set out the 3 main routes to obtaining Australian Citizenship and help you understand the things you need to consider before taking your first step towards the Australian dream.

Citizenship by descent

There are three main boxes you must tick in order to fulfil the eligibility criteria for the citizenship by descent route. First, you must have been born outside Australia on or after 26 January 1949. Second, the person you are claiming descent from must have been both your parent and an Australian Citizen at your time of birth. Third, you must be of good character if you are 18 years or older at the time of your application.

If you do not fit in to the above criteria, you may want to consider the permanent residency route discussed below.

An eligible New Zealand Citizen

If you hold a New Zealand citizenship under certain circumstances you may be eligible for Australian citizenship.

It is important to note, New Zealand Citizens do not need to apply for a visa when entering Australia as they are automatically given a Special Category Visa (SCV) (given they meet the entry requirements) which allows New Zealand Citizens to to live, work and apply for permanent residency as long as they remain a New Zealand Citizen.

If you are a New Zealand citizen in Australia on 26 February 2001 on a SCV and spent at least 12 months in Australia on a SCV in the 2 years before the 26 February 2001, or have a Centrelink certificate from before 26 February 2004 that shows you were living in Australia, you can apply for a citizenship by conferral without having to become a permanent residency first.

Permanent residency route

There are several ways in which you can gain an Australian permanent residency you can then be use to apply for Citizenship by conferral.

To be eligible for citizenship, you must be a permanent resident for at least 4 years at the time of application and physically in Australia for at least 90 days before applying.

One of the more common routes to obtaining permanent residency is the sponsored skilled work visa scheme through an Australian employer, after which you can apply for permanent residency. The basic eligibility criteria involves you having the necessary skills for the nominated job; must be nominated by an Australian employer and must meet the health and character requirements prescribed by the Department of Home Affairs.

New Zealand Citizens who have been living in Australia for 5 years on a SCV and started their residency before 19 February 2016 may be eligible for permanent residency.

Before applying it important you make sure you meet the Department’s eligibility requirements such as language proficiency, character, health, and hold a close and continuing link to Australia (e.g. work, family etc.).

Need help with your citizenship application? Contact us on 1300 92 11 14 and we will pair you up with one of our senior migration lawyers or agents to assist you on your journey.

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