Become an Australian Citizen

Become an Australian citizen

Becoming a citizen of Australia is the final legal step in your migration journey. It is a process in which a non-Australian citizen becomes an Australian citizen voluntarily. Australian citizens pledge their loyalty to Australia and its people and are then entitled to its protection and to exercise their rights and responsibilities as citizens.

There are 3 main ways to become an Australian citizen:

  • By Conferral: If you are a non-citizen of Australia you can apply to become an Australian citizen (by conferral).
  • By Birth: If you are born in Australia and one or both of your parents is an Australian citizen or permanent resident of Australia.
  • By Descent: If you are the child of an Australian citizen but you are born overseas, you will generally be granted Australian citizenship.



Becoming a citizen by conferral is a common way to become an Australian citizen. The individual needs to be a permanent resident and meet certain criteria before he or she can apply. We have summarised some of the key criteria as below for a Australian Permanent Resident to become an Australia Citizen.

Become an Australian Citizen by Conferral

Visa Status

You and everyone included in the application must be a permanent resident.

General Residence Requirement

At the time you apply you must have been:
  • living in Australia on a valid visa for the past 4 years;
  • a permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen for the past 12 months;
  • away from Australia for no more than 12 months in total in the past 4 years, including no more than 90 days in total in the past 12 months.
For children 16 or 17 years old, if meeting this requirement would cause significant hardship or disadvantage, you will need to provide proof.

Children under 16 do not need to meet the general residence requirement but must be permanent residents.

Calculate your permanent residence

Your residency starts on the date:
  • your permanent visa was granted when you were in Australia; or
  • you first entered Australia on a permanent visa.
Use the Residence Calculator to see if you meet the residence requirement.

Other Criteria

There are a range of other criteria that needs to be met as well such as Character Requirements, Knowledge of Australia and English Requirements etc.

Step 1 - Making the Application

The first step is to submit your citizenship application, along with the required supporting documents to demonstrate that you fully satisfy the relevant criteria.

Step 2 - Citizenship Test

Once the Department of Home Affairs have determined that you are eligible for the conferral of citizenship, you will be invited for an appointment with the department.

During this appointment, you will sit the citizenship test. This contains questions regarding the rights and responsibilities of Australian citizenship, along with questions relating to life in Australia and what it means to be an Australian citizen. Each eligible adult applicant must sit this test. The questions are based on testable information contained in the Australian citizenship test resource book "Australian Citizenship - Our Common Bond", which you can study before your test.

Step 3 - Citizenship Ceremony

After you have passed your citizenship test and the Department of Home Affairs have approved your application, you need to attend a citizenship ceremony. This usually takes place within 3 months of the date that an application is approved, although waiting times vary between different local councils.

During the COVID-19 opandemic, arrangments has been made to allow ceremonies to be held online.

At the citizenship ceremony, you must make the Australian Citizenship Pledge to complete the process of becoming an Australian citizen. All eligible adult applicants must attend a citizenship ceremony and there are very few exceptions to this requirement.
As an Australian citizen, you are eligible for certain entitlements including:
  • Applying for an Australian passport;
  • Leaving and re-entering Australia as many times as you want;
  • Asking for assistance from an Australian consulate if in trouble overseas;
  • Voting in federal, state or territory elections;
  • Voting in a Constitutional referendum or plebiscite;
  • Seeking election to parliament, if you are aged 18 years or over and are not dual citizen;
  • Registering Australian citizenship for your children born in another country.