Permanent residents in Australia may be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship after they can demonstrate a minimum period of residence in Australia, good character, have a basic knowledge of the English language, intend to reside or maintain a close and continuing association with Australia and satisfy the citizenship requirements set out by the Department of Home Affairs.

There are essentially 2 ways in which a non-Australian citizen can gain Australian citizenship:

1. Australian Citizenship by Conferral

Australian citizenship may be conferred upon permanent residents of Australia who have resided in Australia for the required period of time, and meet all other requirements.

Applicants must pass the Citizenship Test, or apply for a waiver if eligible.

Applying for Australian citizenship is not always straight forward. It can be complicated if a person arrived in Australia without identity documents, or there is a question about their identity, or they have a criminal record.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Be a permanent resident of Australia (and have been a permanent resident for at least the last 12 months)
  • Have lawfully resided in Australia for at least the last 4 years;
  • NOT have been outside Australia for more than a total of 1 year in the last 4 years (and no more than 90 days during the last 12 months);
  • Be likely to reside in, or maintain a close and continuing connection with, Australia; and
  • If aged 18 years or older, be of good character.

2. Australian Citizenship by Descent

If you were born outside Australia, and at least one of your parents was an Australian citizen at the time of your birth, you may be eligible for Australian citizenship by descent.

If you have concerns about your eligibility for Australian citizenship we recommend that you obtain advice before you begin the application process. At Obvia Legal, we can advise you on all aspects of Australian citizenship requirements and the process.

Eligibility Criteria

  • You were born outside Australia;
  • At least one of your parents was an Australian citizen at the time of your birth;
  • If you are 18 years or older you must also be of good character; and
  • If your Australian parent was an Australian citizen by descent at the time of your birth, they must have spent at least two years in Australia during their life.

Citizenship Test

Once the Australian Government has processed your application and established that you meet the requirements, you will be asked to sit the citizenship test. The citizenship test 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. All eligible adults must sit this test.

Citizenship Ceremony

To complete the process of becoming an Australian citizen, you must take the Australian Citizenship Pledge. You will be invited to take the pledge at a citizenship ceremony once you have passed your citizenship test and your application has been approved. The ceremony will generally take place within 3 months of the date that your application is approved. It should be noted that waiting times may vary.


Gaining Australian citizenship can be seen as the final step in your migration journey to Australia. Becoming an Australian citizen is a privilege providing you with the same rights and privileges as any other Australian citizen, including the right to vote and the right to an Australian passport. Those who gain citizenship are also subject to the same responsibilities as other Australian citizens, including the responsibility to serve on a jury and defend Australia should the need arise.