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General and up to date information about applying for citizenship can be found on the Department of Home Affair’s website.
There are a number of different ways citizenship can be applied for.
When applying for citizenship by conferral, Forms 1290 or 1300t are what are required as part of the application process.
New Zealand citizens must first check the citizenship criteria carefully to see if they are eligible to apply for Australian citizenship.
Note: Not all New Zealand citizens can apply for citizenship unless they are a permanent visa holder or an Eligible New Zealand Citizen (also known as a Protected SCV holder) and meet the residency requirements.
Application fees for citizenship range from $35 through to $490 depending on what type of application is being applied for and whether the applicant qualifies for a concession rate (see Form 1298i).
Note: Applicants seeking exemptions or a concession rate cannot apply online. They must apply for Citizenship by downloading the appropriate form and post their citizenship applications to their closest Department of Home Affairs office.
Our professional fees are $495 per hour to prepare, lodge and monitor a standard citizenship by conferral (naturalisation) application starts from $3,800 (does not include the citizenship application fee, Australian police checks, dealing with complex issues where appropriate).
There is often confusion with New Zealand citizens who have been living in Australia for many years. Since the 1st of September 1994, all New Zealand citizens were granted the Special Category Visa, subclass TY 444. This is a temporary visa. Therefore, all New Zealanders are temporary visa holders under the Migration Act, NOT permanent residents.
However, some New Zealand citizens such as Eligible New Zealand Citizen (also known as a Protected SCV holder) are considered Permanent Residents under the Citizenship Act therefore, they are eligible to apply directly for citizenship without having to apply for a permanent visa first.
In addition, New Zealand citizens who apply for and are granted a Permanent Visa are also considered permanent residents.
Every lawful non-citizen in Australia holds a visa class of some kind, regardless of when and how they entered Australia.
Before being granted a visa, all visa applicants need to meet eligibility criteria. This can include character and health requirements.
For us as New Zealanders, we are very unique in the simple fact that most of us have never physically applied for a visa in order to come and live in Australia. Rather, we present our New Zealand passport to customs and we are automatically granted a visa, called a Special Category Visa (SCV), subclass TY444, each time we enter Australia. This is an automated system and we are not advised of this visa therefore, we tend to not even know we have a visa, let alone what conditions are attached to it either.
This visa allows us to live and work in Australia indefinitely but our visa status is we are temporary residents only and this can become a greater problem as time goes by.
Because the SCV is an indefinite temporary visa, there is no process or pathway that converts an SCV into a permanent visa, ever. For example, a NZ infant arrives and is granted an SCV. This child can live their whole life in Australia and remain a temporary visa holder for the entire time – even if they were fortunate enough to live to 100 years old!
Some New Zealanders are defined as Eligible New Zealand Citizens, also known as Protected Special Category Visa holders. This group of New Zealanders do not need to apply for a permanent visa if they wish to apply for Australian citizenship. These New Zealanders are also able to receive Centrelink payments. However, technically under migration law, they are still deemed temporary residents, but under citizenship law they are considered permanent residents which is where a lot of the confusion happens!
The challenge for many of us as New Zealanders who came to live in Australia after the 26th February is accessing citizenship so that we can secure our future, our investments and our families.