A noncommercial collection of information about citizenship, dual citizenship and multiple citizenship

[Please refer to How to Read a Country Entry for help interpreting this material. It was produced prior to March 2001 as part of a US government report entitled Citizenship Laws of the World. The accuracy and depth of these country listings varies significantly, and some information may be incorrect. At best, this page presents only part of the story for a particular country. Additional information for this country may be available in Country Information]


CITIZENSHIP: Based on the Australian Citizenship Act of 1948. Since 1948 there have been numerous legislative and administrative changes, but the critical factor is usually the date of birth of the applicant and the citizenship status of the parents. (UKC-Commonwealth)

Due to the numerous changes to criteria associated with citizenship status and eligibility, for further information it is essential that interested parties contact the Australian Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA).


On January 26, 1949 Australian Law provided for acquisition of Australian citizenship by certain persons who were British subjects immediately before that date. Persons who were non-British residents at that time need to contact DIMA for further assistance.

From January 26, 1949, until August 19, 1986, with some exceptions, a person born in Australia acquires Australian citizenship automatically. On or after August 20, 1986, a person born in Australia must have at least one parent who is either an Australian citizen or a permanent resident.

A person born in any external territory that has been, or still is, under Australian Government control should contact the nearest DIMA office for clarification of their status or eligibility for citizenship.

BY DESCENT: (Based on date of birth and proper registration of birth.) A child who is under 18 years of age at the time of the application may acquire citizenship by descent through registration at any Australian overseas post, provided: At least one parent is an Australian citizen at the time of the child's birth, and that person is the "responsible parent." If the Australian parent is deceased, the person who normally has legal responsibility for the child may apply. When a parent has acquired Australian citizenship by descent, they can only register their children if the parent has spent a period of time greater than 2 years legally residing in Australia. An adult may register for citizenship by descent if they were born outside Australia between January 26, 1949, and January 15, 1974, have a natural parent who was an Australian citizen, and the applicant has an acceptable reason for not being registered under Section 10B as a child.

BY NATURALIZATION: Persons who have fulfilled the following requirements may apply for grants of citizenship. (As a matter of policy, a certificate of Australian citizenship will not normally be granted to applicants overseas.) Obtained permanent resident status and are 18 years of age or older. They are of good character, have a basic knowledge and grasp of the English language, are likely to reside permanently in Australia or, at least, maintain a close and continuing association. Have spent 2 years out of the past 5 years in Australia with 12 months having been resident there within the last 2 years prior to submitting the application. Children under the age of 18 years who are adopted from overseas may obtain Australian citizenship by application, provided at least one parent is an Australian citizen.

DUAL CITIZENSHIP: Current legislation does not favor dual or plural citizenship but does recognize it.


Australian citizenship can be lost by acquisition of another citizenship, by renunciation, or by deprivation (usually for false declarations and documents).

A child will in most circumstances also lose their Australian citizenship if the "responsible parent" ceases to be an Australian citizen for any of the previously noted reasons.

People who lose their Australian citizenship may in certain circumstances be able to apply to resume it.

ANY QUESTIONS concerning citizenship, or requests for renunciation of citizenship, should be directed to the address below:

Embassy of Australia Immigration Department 1601 Massachusetts Ave., NW Washington, DC 20036-2273

Embassy/Immigration Telephone: 202-797-3000 Fax: 202-797-3100



The Australian Consulate-General Century Plaza Towers 19th Floor 2049 Century Park East Los Angeles, CA 90067


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