Australian Defence Force Eligibility

The issue

New Zealanders residing in Australia as non-protected Special Category Visa-holders (SCVs) cannot join the Australian Defence Force (ADF). They can take up an ADF cadetship, but must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident before they can gain entry into the ADF.

If a position cannot be filled by an Australian citizen, a permanent resident or Protected Special Category Visa-holders may be considered for the role if they:

  • have applied for Australian citizenship; or
  • are prepared to apply for citizenship within three months of commencing service (six months if in the ADF Reserve); or
  • have relevant overseas military experience.

This is in contrast to Australians who can enter the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) by virtue of their being granted automatic permanent residency upon entry into New Zealand.

How you can help

Contact the Minister for Defence, Minister for Defence Personnel and the Shadow Minister for Defence.

You can also email a PDF of your letter the New Zealand Minister of Defence.

Ask what their position is on allowing all New Zealanders residing in Australia to join the Australian Defence Force. You can:

  • write  to them using our ADF letter template
  • meet with them, or a staff member, at their electorate office
  • speak to them at a mobile office or public event
  • call their electorate office or Parliament House office
  • message them via email or their website
  • post a comment on their Facebook or Twitter


Find your Federal electorate

Find the contact details for a Federal MP or Senator

Download our ADF letter template

Include a copy of Oz Kiwi Rights Comparison Table March 2016 with your letter or email

Include a copy of the Oz Kiwi Policy Options Paper with your letter or email

Download our follow up letter template if you get no reply or no clear answer your questions


Oz Kiwi is run by volunteers and entirely funded by public donations. Please consider donating to help Oz Kiwi advocate on behalf of New Zealanders living in Australia.

Thank you for your support.

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