Information for New Zealanders living in Australia

Options for Australian citizenship

New Zealanders taking out Australian citizenship automatically become dual citizens (Photo: NZ Flag Facts)
New Zealanders taking out Australian citizenship automatically become dual citizens (Photo: NZ Flag Facts)

Oz Kiwi recommends New Zealanders who have committed to living in Australia take out Australian citizenship. You will automatically become a Dual citizen.

As an Australian citizen you must depart and enter Australia on an Australian passport.

New Zealanders arriving in Australia after September 1994 are automatically granted a Special Category Visa (SCV) upon clearing Australian Customs, subject to meeting the residency requirement and character test. There are two categories of SCV:

Sponsoring family

Protected Special Category visa-holders, Australian permanent residents and citizens can sponsor their partner and dependent children for a permanent visa if they do not hold an SCV. The fees at July 2024 are $9,095 and $3,140 respectively.

Pathways to citizenship

Listed below are some options for New Zealanders to become an Australian citizen. See the Department of Home Affairs website for more information, or contact a migration agent for further assistance.

Protected Special Category Visa-holder

Protected Special Category Visa-holders (PSCV) can apply for citizenship if they have resided in Australia for the four years immediately prior to applying.

Note once granted Australian citizenship you cannot renew any NZ Family Relationship Visa (461). You will need to sponsor your non-New Zealand citizen partner or children for a permanent visa.

Serving in the Australian Defence Force

From July 2024 New Zealanders who have lived in Australia for 12 months are able to join the ADF. After 90 days of service they can have their citizenship fast tracked.

Resident Return Visa

New Zealanders are eligible for a Resident Return Visa (RRV) if they cleared Australian Customs on a New Zealand passport prior to 1 September 1994.

The direct citizenship pathway for New Zealanders makes the Resident Return Visa unnecessary for most non-protected SCVs. The one advantage is that time spent residing on the RRV counts towards New Arrived Residents Waiting Period (NARWP) for accessing Centrelink payments. It would also be beneficial to anyone requiring immediate access to:

Skilled Independent 189 visa (New Zealand stream)

The New Zealand stream 189 visa closed permanently on 1 July 2023. Applications already submitted will be finalised.

Skilled Migration Visa

The direct citizenship pathway makes a skilled migration visa unnecessary for New Zealanders.

Contact the Department of Home Affairs or a migration agent for further assistance.

Australian citizenship by birth

The children of Special Category Visa-holders born in Australia from 1 July 2022 are Australian citizens from birth. They can apply for Evidence of Australian citizenship from 1 July 2023.

Born in Australia before July 2022? Find out if you acquired Australian citizenship by birth.


Know your rights before moving to Australia

Request your travel records

Check your visa status (VEVO)


The above “Your options for Australian 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.