Law and policy

This page provides information on law and policy relating to Australian citizenship.

Australian citizenship legislation

The Australian Citizenship Act 2007 (the Act) is the legal basis for all citizenship provisions. It commenced on 1 July 2007.

The Australian Citizenship Regulation 2016 (the Regulation) is subordinate legislation that sets out detailed requirements for some matters as provided for by the Act.

The Act and Regulation are not published on our website. These can be accessed from the ComLaw website.

How Australia is defined for citizenship

The Australian Citizenship Act 2007 defines the territory of Australia as including the six states and:

  • the internal territories of:
    • Northern Territory
    • Australian Capital Territory
    • the Jervis Bay Territory
  • the external territories of:
    • Norfolk Island
    • Cocos (Keeling) Islands
    • Christmas Island
    • the Australian Antarctic Territory
    • Ashmore and Cartier Islands
    • the Coral Sea Islands
    • Heard and McDonald Islands.

If the applicant for citizenship has spent time as a permanent resident in the Australian Antarctic Territory, Ashmore and Cartier Islands, the Coral Sea Islands, and Heard and McDonald Islands, they must provide evidence of the time spent in those territories, such as a letter from their employer.

Citizenship Policy

The Citizenship Policy document (1.99MB PDF) contains policy guidance in relation to the Australian Citizenship Act 2007.

If you require an alternative accessible format of the Citizenship Policy document, email comms@border.gov.au.

The Citizenship Policy document is also available to subscribers of LEGENDcom, our online database of migration and citizenship legislation and policy documents.

Recent changes to Australian citizenship legislation

This section gives an overview of recent changes to Australian citizenship legislation which are contained within the Australian Citizenship Act 2007.

Replacement of evidence of Australian citizenship lost, destroyed or damaged due to a natural disaster

On 1 July 2015 changes to the Australian Citizenship Regulations 2007 came into effect whereby no fee is payable for an application made under section 37 of the Act for evidence of Australian citizenship if:

  • (a) the application relates to the replacement of evidence of Australian citizenship that was lost, destroyed or damaged due to a natural disaster that is included on a list of natural disasters published on this website
  • (b) the application is made within 18 months of the date specified for the natural disaster on the list.

For information about the application process, see Proof of citizenship.

Australian citizenship by adoption in accordance with full Hague Convention or bilateral arrangements

On 25 February 2015, changes enacted by the Australian Citizenship Amendment (Intercountry Adoption) Bill 2014 commenced. This means that children adopted in accordance with a bilateral arrangements (the South Korea and Taiwan programmes) can now be granted citizenship in the same way as children adopted in accordance with the Hague Convention. This includes enabling a child to apply immediately for Australian citizenship once the adoption process is complete in South Korea or Taiwan, allowing the child to travel to Australia as an Australian citizen and enter Australia on an Australian passport.

For information about the application process, see Proof of citizenship.

Bogus document definition and related provisions introduced

The bogus document definition in the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 (the Act) was amended from 18 April 2015.

The original bogus document definition, along with a range of provisions that provide for the seizure and forfeiture of bogus documents, was inserted into the Act from 4 November 2014, by the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Foreign Fighters) Act 2014.

Amendments to the cessation of citizenship provisions

From 12 December 2015 the Australian Citizenship Amendment (Allegiance to Australia) Act 2015 (the Allegiance to Australia Act) amended the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 to expand the basis on which the Australian citizenship of a dual citizen or dual national will cease, if the person acts inconsistently with his or her allegiance to Australia.

The new grounds for cessation of Australian citizenship as a result of the Allegiance to Australia Act were inserted as a means of ensuring the safety and security of Australia and its people, and to ensure the Australian community is limited to those persons who continue to retain an allegiance to Australia. In each case, the new grounds recognise that there is certain conduct which is incompatible with the shared values of the Australian community. A person engaging in such conduct demonstrates that they have severed the common bond of Australian citizenship and repudiated their allegiance to Australia.

The new grounds for cessation apply only to Australian citizens who are also a national or citizen of another country at the relevant time. This is so that Australia does not breach its international obligations under conventions relating to statelessness to which Australia is a party.