New Zealand citizens living in Australia

As a New Zealand citizen your eligibility for Australian citizenship depends on whether you arrived in Australia before or after 26 February 2001.

On arrival in Australia, most New Zealand citizens are automatically granted a Special Category visa (SCV). An SCV is a temporary visa, but it allows the holder to remain and work in Australia. If you were present in Australia on 26 February 2001 as the holder of an SCV, you might be  eligible to apply for Australian citizenship.

On 26 February 2001, the Australian Government announced that New Zealand citizens arriving after 26 February 2001 are required to apply for and be granted a permanent visa if they wish to access certain social security payments, obtain Australian citizenship or sponsor their family members for permanent residence.

More information for New Zealand citizens entering or living in Australia is available.

What is permanent residence?

Having permanent residence means you have a current permanent visa that permits you to live in Australia indefinitely. There are many different types of visas that provide permanent residency for citizenship purposes. The Find a visa tool can help you identify a visa of this type.

Although a Special Category visa allows the holder to enter, stay and work in Australia, it is a temporary visa.

Your children

If you are a permanent resident or hold an SCV, your children might already be Australian citizens if they were.

  • born in Australia on or after 27 February 2001 and you held an Australian permanent resident visa or were present in Australia on 26 February 2001 as the holder of a Special Category visa, or
  • born in Australia between 1 September 1994 and 26 February 2001 and you held a permanent visa or a Special Category visa, or
  • born in Australia between 26 January 1949 and 19 August 1986 unless you or your spouse were entitled to diplomatic privileges, or
  • born in Australia and reached 10 years of age having lived in Australia most of their life.

To obtain official notification of the Australian citizenship status of yourself or your children, you apply for proof of your citizenship.

Children under 16 years of age might be included in the citizenship application of their responsible parent.

Your Australian citizenship options

To apply for Australian citizenship you must:

  • be a permanent resident, or
  • have been in Australia on 26 February 2001 on a SCV, or if absent on that day have spent a period/periods totalling 12 months in Australia on an SCV in the two years immediately before 26 February 2001, or
  • have a Centrelink certificate issued prior to 26 February 2004 stating that you were residing in Australia at a particular date.

There are two categories of eligibility:

Find out how to apply for Australian citizenship and apply online.

You can also apply on a paper application form.