Getting Australian Citizenship for Kiwis- Dual Citizenship

Another piece of good news – if you choose to become an Australian citizen, you automatically gain dual citizenship, and there is no need for you to give up your New Zealand passport.  The Australian government prefers Australian citizens to travel in and out of Australia with their Australian passports – so, if you choose to holiday in New Zealand, you should probably take both passports with you.

The process for getting citizenship in Australia differs for kids and for adults.  We have a look at both, and try to explain the difference! If you’re an adult and you’ve received your permanent residency visa.  The next step is applying for Australian citizenship.

Depending on the type of visa you have received then either you or you and your family can apply for citizenship together. Once you are an Australian citizen, you must vote in Australian elections, you will be entitled to Australian social security benefits like Centrelink and university fee loans like HECS and FEE-HELP, and can apply for work in the Federal Government.

Children born in Australia

Citizenship for children born in Australia to Kiwis can be a little confusing to understand, as it depends on what kind of visa the parent holds at the time of the child’s birth.


  • 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.

As it is possible to hold dual citizenship, we recommend that you apply for New Zealand citizenship by descent for your child born in Australia, and should you continue to reside in Australia permanently for the first ten years, then your child will automatically receive Australian citizenship.  The next step would be to apply for evidence of citizenship in order to get an Australian passport.

If either parent is an Australian permanent resident or citizen, your child will automatically be considered an Australian citizen.

So if your child was born in Australia to a New Zealand Citizen (who is a New Zealand Citizen by birth or grant) wants to travel overseas before the magic age of 10.  THEN apply for New Zealand citizen by descent and a New Zealand Passport to travel until the age of 10 then apply for an Australian passport.

Citizenship for Adults

There are two categories of eligibility:

After you’ve been living in Australia for 4 years and had your permanent residency visa for at least 1 year, you can apply for Australian citizenship!  You will need to make sure that you haven’t left Australia for more than 3 months (90 days) in the year before you apply.

The application is either online or paper application form. You will need identity, character and supporting documents to be included in your application.

The current fee for citizenship application is $285 AUD unless you are eligible for a concession.


  1. Apply online or by paper with all documents and pay the fee. Wait for the approval letter.
  2. Wait for test date which there are practice tests online and relates to life in Australia and Australian Values, the letter you receive will direct you to study materials. Only 15 out of 20 to pass and it is computer multi-choice.
  3. At the test appointment you have an interview with Migration and they will need to see your original documents.
  4. Wait for the ceremony, which is held at your nearest location, normally takes 30 minutes.
  5. The process from application to ceremony can take up to 18 months, but it is worth the wait.

During the ceremony, you will be asked to make the Australian Citizenship Pledge and will be given a citizenship certificate.

Congratulations! Becoming an Australian citizen can be a long, expensive and somewhat stressful journey, but the benefits often outweigh the drawbacks, and once you have become an Australian citizen, you can rest assured that you have a home in Australia for as long as you wish and can come and go to and from New Zealand and Australia as you please.

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Disclaimer: The information displayed on these pages is intended to provide a general overview of some Australian visa types. It is not a substitute for tailored, professional advice relating to your own personal circumstances. There are dozens of Australian visa subclasses; we refer to only a narrow selection here. Migration policies and regulations change frequently. We are not responsible for any errors or omissions relating to the generic information supplied here. You should always seek up-to-date advice from a Registered Migration Agent or refer to the Department of Home Affairs website prior to lodging an application.