AUSTRALIA – NZ Direct Pathway to Citizenship

April 27, 2023

The Australian government announced a direct pathway for citizenship to current citizens of New Zealand. This decision reverses a policy from 2001 which made attaining Australian citizenship more difficult. The new policy allows Special Category Visa holders from New Zealand to apply directly for citizenship without becoming permanent Australian residents first, as long as they meet a four-year residence and other eligibility requirements.

The change will come into effect from 1 July 2023. Further information about the changes has been added to the Home Affairs website.

Policy From 1 July 2023

Long term New Zealand citizens resident in Australia will have their period of permanent residence backdated for citizenship purposes. All New Zealand citizens holding an SCV will be considered permanent residents for citizenship purposes. New Zealand citizens granted an SCV before 1 July 2022 will have their period of permanent residence for citizenship purposes backdated to 1 July 2022.

New Zealand citizens granted an SCV for the first time on or after 1 July 2022 will be considered a permanent resident for citizenship purposes from the date of their SCV grant. Provisions will also apply to New Zealand citizens who are overseas but held an SCV immediately before last leaving Australia.

Children of SCV holders

From 1 July 2023, any child born in Australia on or after 1 July 2022 to an SCV holder may automatically acquire Australian citizenship at birth. From 1 July 2023, children who meet these circumstances can apply for evidence of citizenship.

Australia citizenship applications until 1 July 2023

These provisions will not apply to citizenship applications submitted before 1 July 2023. Applications submitted before this date must meet the current requirements at that application before this date, and you do not meet the eligibility requirements.

Immigration Insights

This immigration update is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal or scenario-specific advice. Furthermore, it is important to note that immigration announcements are subject to sudden and unexpected changes. Readers are encouraged to reach out to Newland Chase for any case- or company-specific assessments.