Changes to the residence requirements for Australian citizenship
From 1 July 2010 most applicants for conferral of Australian citizenship must meet the general residence requirement. From this date there will be only one general residence requirement for everyone aged 16 years and over who wishes to apply for Australian citizenship.
People applying for conferral of citizenship on or after 1 July 2010 must meet the following requirements:
- Four years of lawful residence in Australia immediately before making an application including at least 12 months as a permanent resident immediately before applying,
- The person was not in Australia as an unlawful non citizen at any time during the four year period, and
- The person was not absent from Australia for more than 12 months in total during that four year period, including no more than 90 days in the 12 months immediately prior to application.
For example, a person who applies for Australian citizenship in July 2010 will meet the new residence requirements if they:
- have been living lawfully in Australia since June 2006 on either a temporary or permanent visa, and
- were a permanent resident on 1 June 2009, and
- have been outside of Australia for less than 90 days in the year immediately before applying, and not absent for more than a year since July 2006.
The four year lawful residence requirement was introduced in 2007 because it was felt important that a person spends a reasonable period of time in Australia before becoming an Australian citizen so they have an opportunity to learn about life in Australia and what being an Australian means. It is also important that a person fully understands the commitment they are making when they make the Australian citizenship pledge and accept the responsibilities and privileges of Australian citizenship.
For more information on the changes to the residence requirement for citizenship and to check you own residential eligibility you can visit the Australian citizenship website at www.citizenship.gov.au or telephone the Citizenship Information Line on 131 880 Monday to Friday from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm.