Becoming an Australian citizen is a goal for many New Zealand citizens who have made Australia their home. While New Zealand and Australia have a close relationship and share many similarities, there are specific requirements and pathways to be aware of when it comes to attaining Australian citizenship as a New Zealand citizen.
New Zealand citizens have distinct pathways towards Australian citizenship. These pathways may depend on various factors such as when the individual arrived in Australia, their visa status, and how long they have lived in the country.
Below are some common pathways:
Most New Zealand citizens residing in Australia are automatically granted a Special Category Visa, also known as the SCV. This visa allows them to live and work in Australia indefinitely. However, it does not provide an automatic pathway to Australian citizenship.
To become an Australian citizen, New Zealand citizens who hold an SCV must first meet certain residency requirements:
- They must have been living in Australia for at least five years, including at least the past four years as a permanent resident.
- They must pass a citizenship test, which includes questions about Australian history, values, and responsibilities.
- They must demonstrate their commitment to Australia by taking the Australian Citizenship Pledge.
If a New Zealand citizen does not hold a permanent visa but wishes to become an Australian citizen, they may need to apply for permanent residency first. This can be done through various visa pathways, such as the Skilled Independent Visa or the Employer-Sponsored Visa.
Once the New Zealand citizen obtains permanent residency, they become eligible to apply for Australian citizenship after meeting the residency requirements mentioned earlier.
Children born in Australia to at least one New Zealand citizen parent are generally considered Australian citizens by birth, regardless of the parent's visa status. However, it is recommended to register the child's citizenship using the proper procedure to obtain formal documentation.
Yes, Australian citizenship offers numerous benefits to New Zealand citizens, including:
- Access to all rights and privileges enjoyed by Australian citizens, such as voting in federal and state elections.
- Ability to apply for an Australian passport, which provides greater travel flexibility.
- Eligibility for government assistance programs and benefits.
- Enhanced job opportunities and access to government positions requiring Australian citizenship.
- The sense of belonging and commitment that comes with being a citizen of the country one calls home.