Applying for Citizenship
New direct pathway to citizenship
22 April 2023
Non-protected Special Category Visa-holders who have resided in Australia for at least the past four years can apply directly for citizenship from the 1 July 2023 without needing to apply for a permanent visa.
Back dated PR for NZ 189 visa applicants
10 December 2022
In recognition of the extraordinary wait-times to process the New Zealand Stream 189 visa, NZ citizens who have been or will be granted the visa 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.
Information for citizenship by conferral
The following information is intended for New Zealand citizens who are eligible to apply for citizenship by conferral. If you are applying for citizenship by descent, by birth or at the age of 10 find out more here.
Note: From 1 July 2023 non-protected Special Category Visa-holders who have resided in Australia for at least the previous 4 years are eligible for Australian citizenship.
Familiarise yourself with the Become an Australian citizen information on the Department of Home Affairs website.
Use the Home Affairs website Ask a Question digital assistant.
When applying for citizenship:
- check your eligibility for citizenship
- note when children are applying for citizenship
- apply online
- submit your supporting documents
- upload your documents
- attend your citizenship appointment
- take the citizenship test
- pass the character test
- check the processing times
- pay the application fee
- dual citizenship is automatic
Eligibility for citizenship
To apply for citizenship you must have:
- been granted a permanent visa, such as a Resident Return Visa, NZ 189 Visa, or be a Special Category Visa-holder; and
- resided in Australia for the four 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.
- basic English language knowledge to pass the citizenship test.
You may be asked to provide a Centrelink certificate - these are no longer being issued. If you:
- were granted a permanent visa, such as Resident Return Visa or the NZ 189 Visa upload your visa grant notice.
- are a Special Category Visa-holder, estimated travel dates, dates of first arrival or visa grant dates, will be accepted and the processing officer will confirm the exact dates using their systems after you lodge your application.
Check your visa status (VEVO).
Check you meet the residency requirement using the Residency Calculator.
Children applying for citizenship
Children born in Australia may already be an Australian citizen and should apply for Evidence of Australian citizenship.
Children must hold a permanent visa to apply for citizenship by conferral. If aged 16 and over they must make their own application.
Children aged 15 and under:
- can be included on their parent's citizenship application at no cost.
- require a full birth certificate, valid passport, and Form 1195 Identity Declaration.
- do not need to meet the 4 years residency requirement if their parent is already an Australian citizen.
Create an ImmiAccount to apply for citizenship by conferral online. Special Category Visa-holders can use VEVO look up their visa number.
You may not be able to apply for citizenship online if you:
- do not have a valid passport.
- are a Protected Special Category Visa-holder, (do try to apply online).
- entered Australia before July 1990 and have not travelled outside of Australia since that date.
- are eligible for an application fee exemption or concession.
- are aged under 18 or 60 and over.
If you are unable to apply online, there are different citizenship application forms. If you are aged:
- between 18 and 59 use General eligibility application form 1300t
- under 18 or 60 and over, use Other situations application form 1290.
Go to Step 3 Apply now on the Step by step tab of the Become a citizen page. Select paper application and download the appropriate PDF form. Application forms were updated on 1 July 2023, the words Design date 07/23a are at the bottom of each page.
If you are incorrectly charged the $80 non-internet application fee request a refund using Refund Request (Form 1424).
Expand Step 2 Prepare your documents on the Home Affairs website for full details of the required supporting documents for your citizenship application.
Supporting documents only need to be certified if you have to use a paper form.
Some of the supporting documents required are:
- identity documents - 3 documents that together show your:
- birth name, date of birth and gender, such as a full birth certificate
- photograph, such as a driver's licence or passport
- current residential address, utility bill or bank statement. Note: A valid passport isn't required, but Oz Kiwi recommends you keep your passport valid.
- proof of legal name change, if applicable.
- your travel records, recommended if not providing your passport details. Note: Home Affairs are receiving a higher than usual number of requests for international travel movement records. If you are applying for citizenship estimated travel dates, dates of first arrival or visa grant dates, will be accepted and the processing officer will confirm the exact dates using their systems after you lodge your application.
- Form 1195 Identity Declaration.
- a passport-sized photo.
- police certificates from any country in which you have spent 90 days or more, since turning 18. Note: The Department of Home Affairs will obtain your Australian National Police check and New Zealand police check. You must give consent for them to do so in the citizenship application form.
- a copy of your discharge papers if you have completed military service.
Home Affairs may also request you complete Personal Particulars for Character Assessment Form 80.
Upload your 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 will 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.
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.
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 10 minutes. You will need to select your nearest Department of Home Affairs test centre.
Prepare for the test by downloading the Australian Citizenship - Our Common Bond PDF, listening to the Our Common Bond podcast, or trying some practice questions.
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.
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, where no jail time was served, is still a prison sentence.
When assessing your citizenship application the Department of Home Affairs will obtain your Australian National Police Check and New Zealand criminal record. You must give consent for them to do so in the citizenship application form.
You must provide an overseas police check for each country you have spent more than 90 days or more since turning 18. This applies regardless of how long you have resided in Australia.
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. Look up the citizenship ceremony wait times for your local council, or ask your council about the frequency of citizenship ceremonies.
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 $540, or $75 if you hold a pensioner concession card
- 16 or 17, or 60 and over the fee is $330, or $40 if you hold a pensioner concession card
- 15 or under the fee is $330, or at no cost if applying on the same application as a parent.
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?
Refer to the become an Australian citizen 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. Do not provide your personal details on a public forum.
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.