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Australian Citizenship

There are a number of ways to acquire Australian citizenship:

Citizenship by descent – This is available to children born outside Australia to a parent who is an Australian citizen at the time of their birth.

Citizenship by birth – This is available to children born in Australia to parents who are not Australian citizens at the time of their birth. The child may acquire Australian citizenship at the age of 10 if they have been living in Australia for the first 10 years of their life.

Citizenship by conferral – This is the most common pathway for a permanent resident of Australia to acquire Australian citizenship. Generally, there are certain residence requirements that must be met in order to be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship by conferral. There are a number of exemptions available to a person wishing to become an Australian citizen but who fail to meet the general residence requirement. For instance, those who have a spouse or de facto partner that is an Australian citizen may be exempt.

Australian citizenship applications can be complex, particularly in circumstances where there is an issue that may cause doubt as to whether the person applying for it is of ‘good character’. These kinds of enquiries from the Department of Home Affairs must be handled and responded to carefully, otherwise it may result in a refusal of the application or even worse – initiate an intention to cancel a permanent residence visa. Factors that can cause character concerns include, but are not limited to, criminal convictions and an adverse immigration history.


In some extreme or unfortunate circumstances, an Australian citizenship application may be refused, an Australian citizenship may be cancelled, or approval can be revoked in the case of an Australian citizenship by conferral. If any of these happen, applying to the General Division of the AAT for a merits review of the decision will likely be the only further option.