On 22 April 2023, the Australian Government announced a direct pathway to Australian citizenship for New Zealand citizens living in Australia.
From 1 July 2023, New Zealand citizens who have been living in Australia for four years or more will be eligible to apply directly for Australian citizenship. They will no longer need to first apply for and be granted a permanent visa. These changes apply to New Zealand citizens holding a Special Category (subclass 444) visa (SCV) who arrived in Australia after 26 February 2001.
For New Zealand citizens who are long-term residents in Australia, this will be achieved by backdating their period of permanent residence for citizenship purposes. This will allow them to meet the 12-month permanent residence period under the general residence requirement.
With effect from 1 July 2023:
The above provisions will apply to New Zealand citizens in Australia. It will also apply to New Zealand citizens who are overseas but held an SCV immediately before last leaving Australia.
These provisions will not apply to citizenship applications submitted before 1 July 2023. If you submit your citizenship application before this date, and you do not meet the eligibility requirements, we will refuse your application and you will not be entitled to a refund. You can always check your eligibility to apply for citizenship on the official website of the Department of Home Affairs.
Soon we are expecting further information from the Department on the detail of the changes including how this will affect those applicants with current applications in process, transitional arrangements and the situation for partners of NZ citizens who are not eligible under these changes.
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