What is Citizenship? - Migration Place

As an Australian citizen you have all the same privileges and responsibilities as a person who was born here. You can officially call Australia ‘home’.

You become an Australian citizen by being born here to Australian parents (citizens or permanent residents), or when you apply and are accepted for citizenship.

You can apply for citizenship when you:

  • are a migrant with permanent residence;
  • are a spouse or partner of an Australian citizen;
  • are a child of a former Australian citizen;
  • were born overseas to an Australian parent;
  • were adopted by an Australian citizen;
  • have lost or gave up your citizenship;
  • arrived under the Commonwealth Child Migration Scheme;
  • entered the country as a refugee or humanitarian entrant;
  • were born in Papua before independence in 1975.

As an Australian citizen you must:

  • Obey the law;
  • Defend Australia militarily should the need arise;
  • Serve on a jury in Court if called to do so;
  • Vote in federal and state or territory elections, and in a referendum.

As an Australian citizen you have the right to:

  • Apply for work in the Australian Public Service or in the Australian Defence Force;
  • Seek election to Parliament;
  • Apply for an Australian passport and re-enter Australia freely;
  • Receive help from an Australian official (e.g. embassy/consulate) while overseas;
  • Register children that were born overseas as Australian citizens by descent.

To apply for Australian citizenship you will need to:

  • Determine which type of application suits your personal circumstances;
  • Check that you are eligible to apply for your selected application type;
  • Gather your original documents that prove your identity;
  • Show you are of good character;
  • Provide evidence to support your eligibility;
  • Complete and lodge your application with the necessary documents;
  • Pay the appropriate fee.

To apply for Australian citizenship as a permanent resident, you must:

  • have been living in Australia on a valid Australian visa for 4 years immediately before applying (which must include the last 12 months as a permanent resident), and
  • not have been absent from Australia for more than one year in total, in the 4 year period, including no more than 90 days in the year before applying, and
  • satisfy certain policy criteria (eg have an acceptable police record).

A decision on your application for citizenship will only be made after you have lodged a completed application form together with the required documents and payment of the applicable fee.

In most cases you will have to attend a citizenship ceremony, once your application has been approved, to formalise the decision.