There are lots of people choosing to make their home in Australia. But having the right to live and work there isn’t the same as being an Australian citizen - if you’re a permanent resident, you still don’t have voting rights in most cases, or an Australian passport.
If you want to become Australian but don’t want to give up your current nationality altogether, then dual citizenship is the way forward. The same applies if you’re an Australian but want to become a citizen somewhere else too. Here’s a look at how to make that happen.
You can, yes. But only if the other country also permits dual citizenship - it has to work both ways.
You’ll also need to be eligible for Australian citizenship. You’re eligible to become an Australian if you have an Australian parent or were born and grew up in the country, or if you’ve been living there legally for a certain amount of time. You can check your eligibility for Australian citizenship on the government’s website.
Some countries generally don’t allow multiple citizenships (with some exceptions) - including Austria, Germany, India, Japan, the Netherlands and Norway. If you’re from one of these countries and want Australian citizenship - or if you’re Australian and want to gain one of these countries’ nationalities - then you'll probably need to give up your current citizenship in order to do so.
A majority of other countries permit dual citizenship, including Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, the UK and the US. Every country has its own complex nationality laws, though, so you’ll need to check the precise details with the other country - their embassy might be a good place to start.
Sure, if you qualify. Australia permits ‘citizenship of two or more countries’, providing it’s legal according to all the relevant parties. So if you’re already a dual national of two other countries, and then you settle in Australia, you could eventually gain Australian citizenship and become a triple national.
There’s no actual limit. The only thing stopping you from gaining dozens of nationalities is that you'll actually have to qualify for them all, which is very difficult.
You might have to renounce your Australian citizenship if you want to become a citizen of a country that doesn’t allow dual nationality.
You have to apply formally to give up your citizenship, and it’s only possible to do if you have another country’s citizenship waiting for you - you aren’t able to renounce Australian citizenship and become stateless.
Current dual nationals can also have their Australian citizenship revoked, but only if you fight against Australia in a war, fight for a terrorist organisation or otherwise become a terrorist, or are sentenced to at least 6 years in prison for certain crimes.
Assuming you’re not entitled to Australian citizenship by birth, you’ll need to qualify for naturalisation. You’ll qualify if you meet the following conditions:
- You’re currently a permanent resident of Australia
- You’ve lived legally in Australia for the last 4 years and been a permanent resident for the last year, and not have been out of the country for too long during this period
- You’re ‘of good character’ - that concerns your criminal record
- You speak at least some English
- You plan on staying
- You pass a citizenship test or interview, unless you’re under 18 or over 60, or fall into various other categories.
Full details about qualifying for Australian citizenship are on the government website.
The process isn’t too complex, although it’ll take a while:
- Put together all your supporting documents - including proof of identification, proof of residency and your birth certificate. You can send off copies, and bring originals to the appointment you’ll eventually have with an official.
- Get any of these documents translated, if they aren’t in English.
- Complete an application form online.
- Submit the application, along with the fee, which is up to AU$285.
- When requested, attend an appointment to verify your documents and take the citizenship test or interview.
- If you’re successful, the final step is to attend your Citizenship Ceremony and take a citizenship pledge. Congrats: you’re now an Australian!
Firstly, you’ll need to live in the country for 4 years. Then you’ll need to go through the whole application process described above and your Citizenship Ceremony, which is a legal requirement. They’re generally held within 6 months of a successful application - and you’re not technically a citizen until it’s done.
All in all, the process might take quite a while - the government site has some approximate total times - so it’s definitely worth planning well ahead if you have to make any big trips abroad.
If I’m obtaining dual citizenship, do I need to inform both countries of my new citizenship, or do the countries themselves do that?
If you’re becoming an Australian citizen, Australia will certainly know about it, so you don’t need to inform them again. As for your other nationality - you should check carefully what their rules are regarding dual nationals and get in touch with someone if necessary.
Juggling lives between two nations? Want to save money? TransferWise borderless multi-currency accounts could help.
If you’re someone with ties to several different countries, you may often find yourself needing to move your money across borders. That means you might be at the mercy of the high exchange rates and fees that banks charge for international transfers. But there is another way: with a borderless multi-currency account from TransferWise, you can send and receive international transfers with a minimum amount of stress, and at a far better rate than any bank will give you. They use the same rate the banks use to trade between themselves. There’s only one small transfer fee, stated upfront. So overall, it can save you a lot of money.
A borderless account gives you details for local accounts in euros, US dollars, British pounds and Australian dollars, and it lets you hold and transfer money in those four currencies and dozens of others. You can also get a Mastercard Debit Card, making the process of using money internationally even simpler.
TransferWise borderless multi-currency accounts are supported for consumers and businesses living in the most of the world. Find out if you are eligible here.
Good luck in your quest for dual Australian citizenship!
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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