Applying for Citizenship

Applying for citizenship
Information for New Zelanders when applying for Australian citizenship. (Photo: Department of Home Affairs website)
Date last modified: 14 December 2022

Back dated PR for NZ 189 visa applicants

In recognition of the extraordinary wait-times to process the New Zealand Stream 189 visa, applicants who have been or will be granted PR after 31 December 2021 up to 1 July 2023 can apply for citizenship from 1 January 2023. They do not need to reside as a permanent resident for 12 months. Find out more about back dated PR for NZ 189 visa applicants.

The government are working to clear the backlog NZ 189 visa applications by mid-2023.

New Zealanders rights in Australia are currently being reviewed, including the path to citizenship. An announcement is expected on ANZAC Day 2023.

Applying for citizenship

The following information is intended for New Zealand citizens who are eligible to apply for citizenship by conferral. That is, Protected Special Category Visa-holders and anyone who has been granted a permanent visa.

If you are applying for citizenship by descent, by birth or at the age of 10 find out more here.

Before applying

Read the citizenship application information on the Department of Home Affairs website. Before applying for citizenship you must have:

  • been granted a permanent visa, such as a Resident Return Visa or NZ 189 Visa, or be a Protected Special Category Visa-holder; and
  • resided in Australia for four continuous years immediately prior to applying, with at least the last 12 months as a permanent resident.
  • not been outside of Australia for more than 365 days within the last four years, including no more than 90 days in the last 12 months. Contact the Department of Home Affairs about exemptions to the residence requirement.

You may be asked to provide a Centrelink certificate – these are no longer being issued. If you:

Please note

  • New Zealanders who first enter Australia after 26 February 2001 are granted a Special Category Visa. This is a temporary visa under the Migration Act and does not enable them to apply for citizenship. Find out your options for Australian citizenship.
  • Children cannot automatically be included on their parent’s citizenship application, they must first be granted permanent visa.
  • Children aged under 16 can apply for citizenship immediately after being granted a permanent visa, if their responsible parent is already an Australian citizen.
  • If granted RRV, re-entering Australia after the initial 12 months without renewing the travel capacity you will become an SCV-holder again. You must renew your RRV, and may have to wait another 12 months, before applying for citizenship.
  • Check your visa status – if you are not a permanent resident your citizenship application will be declined.

Applying for citizenship

Create an ImmiAccount to apply for citizenship by conferral online. You may not be apply for citizenship online if you:

If you are unable to apply online, there are different application forms for people who have been granted permanent residency. If you are aged:

If you are incorrectly charged the $80 non-internet application fee request a refund using Refund Request (Form 1424).

Supporting documents

After submitting your citizenship application and payment online you will receive a confirmation email/letter with a Transaction Reference Number (TRN). You can then upload your supporting documents and endorsed photographs. Do not send any original documents to the Department of Home Affairs. You’ll be required to take them to your citizenship appointment.

Scan or photograph all your supporting documents in colour, one document per file. The scans and photos must be clear. If a document is more than one page, save it all as one file. Give files a descriptive name, for example, John Smith birth certificate.

Note: the ImmiAccount system will only upload jpg files smaller than 500 KB each.

You will need to include the following supporting documents with your citizenship application:

Citizenship appointment

If your citizenship application is accepted, you will be invited to an appointment. The processing officer will view your original supporting documents and take your photograph. You will need your completed Identity declaration and correctly endorsed photographs for yourself and any children included in your application.

Citizenship test

Applicants aged between 18 and 59 are required to sit the citizenship test at their appointment. The test consists of 20 multiple-choice questions. You need to get 15 of the 20 questions correct and are given 45 minutes to complete the test – most people take less than 5 minutes. You will need to select your nearest Department of Home Affairs test centre.

Download the Australian Citizenship – Our Common Bond PDF or watch the videos to prepare for the test. You can also try some practice tests.

If you have a disability, poor computer skills, or need assistance to sit the test, refer to Citizenship test rules on the Department of Home Affairs website.

Police check

The Department of Home Affairs will obtain your Australian National Police Check. You will need to obtain a New Zealand police check (valid for six months) before applying for Australian citizenship if you were aged over 18 when you came to Australia. There is no fee, it remains valid for six months, and takes 1-3 months to be processed and sent to you.

If you have travelled outside of Australia for periods totalling 12 months or more since being granted your Australian permanent visa you must provide a penal clearance for each country you have spent more than 90 days in.

Criminal convictions

All criminal convictions, including historical, “spent” or minor sentences, must be declared on your citizenship application. Failing to do so will see your application declined. You will also fail the character requirements if you have been sentenced to 12 months or more in prison, including historical offending or multiple short sentences totalling more than 12 months. A suspended sentence, ie no jail time was served, is still a prison sentence.

Citizenship processing times

The Department of Home Affairs reports processing times for citizenship by conferral applications on its website.

If your application is approved, you will receive a confirmation letter and Home Affairs will invite you to attend a citizenship ceremony. Contact your local council regarding the frequency of citizenship ceremonies etc.

If you change address or renew your passport update your ImmiAccount if you applied online, or use Form 929 notify the Department of Home Affairs.


The citizenship by conferral application fee varies depending on your eligibility, and how you apply. If you are aged:

  • 18 to 59 the fee is $490, or $70 if you are on a pension/benefit or hold a healthcare card
  • 16 or 17, or 60 and over the fee is $300, or $35 if you are on a pension/benefit or hold a healthcare card
  • 15 or younger and applying on the same form as a parent, no fee but must first be granted a permanent visa.

Apply online via ImmiAccount to avoid paying an $80 non-internet application fee. Protected SCV-holders are exempt from applying online because they do not have a visa number.

Dual citizenship

New Zealanders automatically become dual citizens when granted Australian citizenship. As an Australian citizen you must depart and enter Australia on an Australian passport. Outside of Australia you can continue to travel on a New Zealand passport.


Can I apply for citizenship?

Check your visa status (VEVO)

Apply for a new Resident Return Visa before travelling overseas

Refer to citizenship application information on the Department of Home Affairs website

Have a question?

Email the citizenship processing team, phone the Department of Home Affairs on 13 18 81 or contact them via social media. Please do not provide your personal details on a public forum.


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.

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The above “Applying for citizenship” information should not be relied on as an alternative to advice from the Department of Home Affairs, or a professional immigration services provider.

If you have any specific questions about an immigration matter, you should consult the Department of Home Affairs or a professional immigration services provider.

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