Applying for Citizenship

Applying for citizenship
Date last modified: 31 August 2018

Important Information

01 July 2018

Applicants for citizenship by conferral may be required to reside as a Permanent Resident for four years if new citizenship legislation is passed by Parliament.

Who is exempt from any proposed increase to the residency requirement? Any citizenship applications submitted:

Form 80

Oz Kiwi recommends any citizenship applicants aged 16 or over complete Form 80.


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.

Before applying

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

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 a 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.

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 Help with the test  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 before applying for Australian citizenship if you were aged over 18 when you came to Australia.

Use the form Requesting your criminal conviction history from outside of NZ. Tick the box at step 3 to request your full record. There is no fee, it remains valid for 12 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 Home Affairs website reports that 90% of citizenship by conferral applications are processed within 16 to 19 months, from the time of lodgement to attending a ceremony.

Processing times have gradually increased as thousands of applications were delayed due to the proposed citizenship changes announced in April 2017.

If your application is approved, you will receive a confirmation letter and Home Affairs will invite you to attend a citizenship ceremony. It can take 3 to 12 months to be invited to attend a ceremony. Contact your local council regarding the frequency of citizenship ceremonies etc.

Fees

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 $285, or $40 if you are on a pension/benefit or hold a healthcare card
  • under 18 or 60 and over the fee is $180, or $20 if you are on a pension/benefit or hold a healthcare card
  • under 16 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 New Zealand/Australian citizens. 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, if you so choose.

Related

Can I apply for citizenship?

Check your visa status (VEVO)

Renewing your 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.

Donate

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

Thank you for your support.


Disclaimer:

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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