New Zealanders taking out Australian citizenship automatically become dual citizens (Photo: NZ Flag Facts).
Oz Kiwi agrees with former New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee who said, “New Zealanders intending to live in Australia ought to become Australian citizens, [if at all possible]. Doing so would not diminish their New Zealand citizenship, but would give them better rights in their adopted country”.
New Zealanders taking out Australian citizenship automatically become dual citizens so there really is nothing to lose. And you can still support the All Blacks!
New Zealanders arriving in Australia after 26 February 2001 are automatically granted a Special Category Visa (SCV) upon clearing Australian Customs [subject to meeting the character test]. The SCV allows the holder to reside and work in Australia indefinitely, but is defined as a temporary visa under the Migration Act (1958).
In order to obtain Australian citizenship you must be either a Protected Special Category Visa-holder, or granted a permanent visa.
If you are granted a permanent visa you will no longer be:
- eligible for a student loan (HELP) under the 2016 policy for New Zealanders; or
- able to renew your partner’s 461 visa.
Pathways to citizenship
Protected Special Category Visa-holder
Oz Kiwi recommends that Protected Special Category Visa-holders (PSCVs) take out Australian citizenship. This is especially important as the Australian government is constantly reducing the rights of non-citizens.
New Zealanders are considered a Protected Special Category Visa-holder if they:
- were in Australia on 26 February 2001, or
- had resided in Australia for at least 12 months during the two years prior to 26 February 2001; or
- have a Certificate of Australian Residence.
Protected Special Category Visa-holders (PSCV) can apply for citizenship if they have resided in Australia for the four years immediately prior to applying. The proposed citizenship changes do not affect PSCVs as they are considered permanent residents whilst in Australia.
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. They are eligible even if they were only on a short holiday or travelling on a parent’s passport. They must be living in Australia to apply for RRV.
Skilled Independent 189 visa (New Zealand stream)
New Zealanders are eligible to apply for the 189 New Zealand stream visa from July 2017. To be eligible the primary applicant must:
- be a non-protected Special Category Visa-holder; and
- have commenced residing in Australia on or before 19 February 2016; and
- have usually resided for the last five years immediately prior to applying; and
- have either earned the taxable income threshold OR meet the criteria for an income exemption; and
- meet the standard health, character and security checks.
The primary applicant can include their partner and children on the 189 visa application. Partners and children only need to meet the standard health, character and security checks.
The processing time for NZ 189 Visa is unavailable because the visa is new. Some applicants have waited up to 7 to 8 months. Application fees primary applicant $3,670, partner and child aged 18 and over $1,835, child aged under 18 $920.
Skilled Migration Visa
Australian citizenship by birth
Not everyone with an Australian parent, or born in Australia, is an Australian citizen by birth, it depends on:
- where you were born
- when you were born
- the residency status of your parents when you were born.
You cannot inherit Australian citizenship through a grandparent.
Find out if you acquired Australian citizenship by birth.
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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.