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When do I become eligible to apply for citizenship?

To become an Australian citizen you need to show that you:

  • are a permanent resident
  • have lived in Australia on a valid Australian visa for four years immediately before applying
  • have been a permanent resident for the 12 months immediately before making an application
  • not have been absent from Australia for more than one year in total, during the four year period, including no more than 90 days in the 12 months before applying
  • are of good character
  • have a basic knowledge of the English language
  • intend to reside or maintain a close and continuing association with Australia
  • have an adequate knowledge of the responsibilities and privileges of Australian citizenship.

If you are 60 years of age or over you are not required to sit the citizenship test

Under some circumstances, you might be eligible to apply even if you do not meet all of the residence requirements. We can help you with this.

A special call out to our New Zealand friends

New Zealand citizens are often shocked to learn that they may not be eligible for Australian citizenship. This is because most New Zealanders who have arrived in Australia since 2001 are not Australian permanent residents!

New Zealand citizens who enter Australia do not have to apply for a visa before travelling. They are granted a Special Category Visa (subclass 444) (SCV) on arrival in Australia, subject to meeting certain health and character requirements. This visa allows you to remain indefinitely in Australia as long as you continue to be a New Zealand citizen. While in Australia you can work and study without restriction. However, the SCV is a temporary visa and ceases once you leave Australia. It does not provide a direct pathway to a permanent visa or citizenship.

This means that to have the rights of an Australian permanent resident you will need to apply for that first. We can help you to do this.