Australian Citizenship Made Easier for New Zealand Citizens: What You Need to Know

Australian Citizenship Made Easier for New Zealand Citizens: What You Need to Know

On April 22, 2023, the Australian Government announced significant changes to the citizenship pathway for New Zealand citizens living in Australia. Starting July 1, 2023, New Zealand citizens who have been residing in Australia for at least four years will be able to directly apply for Australian citizenship without first having to apply for a permanent visa.

This change will affect New Zealand citizens holding a Special Category (subclass 444) visa (SCV), who arrived in Australia after February 26, 2001. These citizens will be backdated to have their period of permanent residence for citizenship purposes, allowing them to meet the general residence requirement. This requirement mandates that an applicant be lawfully present in Australia for four years, including 12 months as a permanent resident, before the application date.

From July 1, 2023, all New Zealand citizens holding an SCV will be considered permanent residents for citizenship purposes. Those who have been granted an SCV before July 1, 2022, will have their period of permanent residence backdated to July 1, 2022. New Zealand citizens granted an SCV for the first time on or after July 1, 2022, will be considered a permanent resident for citizenship purposes from the date of their SCV grant. These provisions will also apply to New Zealand citizens who are overseas but held an SCV immediately before leaving Australia.

These changes will not apply to citizenship applications submitted before July 1, 2023. It is also important to note that if a citizenship application is submitted before this date, and the eligibility requirements are not met, the application will be refused, and there will be no entitlement to a refund.

Children born to SCV holders will also be impacted by the backdating of permanent residence. Any child born in Australia on or after July 1, 2022, to an SCV holder may automatically acquire Australian citizenship at birth. These children can apply for evidence of citizenship from July 1, 2023.

These changes reflect the close ties between Australia and New Zealand and demonstrate the positive contributions that New Zealand citizens make to Australia. This announcement also delivers on the commitment made by the Prime Minister in July 2022 to ensure viable pathways to Australian citizenship for New Zealand citizens living in Australia.

Overall, these changes provide a more straightforward pathway to citizenship for New Zealand citizens living in Australia, eliminating the need for a separate permanent visa application. It is an excellent step forward in recognizing the significant contributions of New Zealanders to Australian society and strengthens the bond between the two nations.

If you are a New Zealand citizen living in Australia and meet the eligibility requirements for Australian citizenship, we encourage you to apply for citizenship from July 1, 2023. The changes announced by the Australian Government provide a more accessible and streamlined pathway to citizenship, reflecting the positive contributions made by New Zealand citizens to Australian society. For more information on these changes and the citizenship application process, please check the Department of Home Affairs website regularly and ensure that you meet all eligibility requirements before submitting your application.

In addition to checking the Department of Home Affairs website, we encourage potential applicants to seek out immigration specialist advice about the citizenship application process. Sellanes Clark – Lawyers & Immigration Specialists is an experienced team of immigration lawyers who can provide expert support throughout the citizenship application process. With their in-depth knowledge and understanding of immigration law, they can help you navigate the complex requirements and ensure that your application meets all eligibility criteria. We highly recommend speaking with the team at Sellanes Clark before you decide to make your citizenship application.

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