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Australian Citizenship Requirements Change for New Zealand Citizens

Changes to the general residence requirement for Australian Citizenship, for those New Zealand Citizens who have been granted a Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa have been announced. Individuals caught within this cohort are now potentially eligible to apply for Australian citizenship immediately following the grant of their Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa. These changes commenced on 1 January 2023. 


On 1 January 2023, it was announced that until 30 June 2023, New Zealand Citizens who previously held a Special Category (subclass 444) visa, and now hold a Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa, will be eligible to have their stay period in Australia prior to the grant of their permanent residency considered towards the residency requirement for citizenship (i.e the time frame that an applicant for citizenship is required to be in Australia as permanent resident to be eligible for citizenship).

The backdating of permanent residence that has been announced means that, from 1 January 2023, New Zealanders that hold an Australian permanent residency can be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship by conferral immediately following the visa grant, without needing to hold this visa for 12 months, provided all other requirements are met.


In addition to the various residence requirements, there are multiple other eligibility requirements in order to be able to apply for Australian Citizenship. There include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Character requirements;
  • Language requirements;
  • Knowledge of Australia; and
  • Close and continuing link to Australia.


This change to the general residency requirement for the Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa holders can also impact family members of those visa holders.

For example, for those children:

  • born in Australia between 1 January 2022 and 30 June 2023, before the grant of their parent’s permanent residency visa; and
  • whose parent’s visa were granted later than their birth but still within the period between 1 January 2022 and 30 June 2023.

If this circumstance is applicable, the child may retrospectively acquire Australian citizenship automatically at birth and be eligible to apply for evidence of their Australian citizenship.


If you are unsure if you or your family members are eligible for Australian citizenship, or if you would like some assistance in the preparation and lodgement of your citizenship application, All Access Migration can assist you. We are happy to arrange an initial consultation with one of our senior lawyers in order to provide you with the advice and guidance that you require, based on your specific circumstances.

Please contact us to see how All Access Migration can assist you.

The content of this article is intended to provide general guidance to the subject matter and must not be relied on as legal advice. Specific advice should be sought about your circumstances.

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