Following the Australian Government’s announcement on 22nd April 2023, we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help New Zealand citizens understand the new direct pathway to Australian citizenship.
1. What is the new announcement about Australian citizenship for New Zealand citizens?
The Australian Government announced that from 1st July 2023, New Zealand citizens living in Australia for at least four years are eligible to apply directly for Australian citizenship. They no longer need to first apply for and be granted a permanent visa.
2. Who is eligible to apply for Australian citizenship under the new rules?
All New Zealand citizens holding a permanent visa or a Special Category (subclass 444) visa (SCV) can apply directly for citizenship (by conferral).
3. When do these changes come into effect?
These changes apply to citizenship applications submitted on or after 1st July 2023.
4. I have a pending visa application. Should I withdraw it?
If you’re a New Zealand citizen holding an SCV with a pending Partner, Parent, Child, or Other Family type visa application, you may consider withdrawing your application if you become eligible to apply for citizenship by conferral under the new rules from 1st July 2023. However, it’s important to consider your individual circumstances, impact on family members and their pending visa applications, and the benefits of permanent residence, among other factors.
5. Am I entitled to a refund of my Visa Application Charge (VAC) under the new rules?
No, the new direct pathway to citizenship does not entitle you to a refund of your VAC. There are very limited circumstances in which a VAC may be refunded.
6. What impact will these changes have on the children of New Zealand citizens?
Any child born in Australia on or after 1st July 2022 to an SCV holder may automatically acquire Australian citizenship at birth. From 1st July 2023, children who meet these circumstances can apply for evidence of citizenship.
7. Can family members of SCV holders apply for a New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship (subclass 461) visa?
Yes, eligible family members of SCV holders can still apply for and be granted a Subclass 461 visa. However, family members of SCV holders who acquire Australian citizenship will no longer be eligible to apply for a Subclass 461 visa from the citizenship acquisition date.
8. How can New Zealand citizens who obtain Australian citizenship through the new direct pathway sponsor their family members?
New Zealand citizens who obtain Australian citizenship through the new direct pathway can visit the Department’s website to explore visa options to sponsor their family members. Relevant visa options to stay in Australia may include Partner and Child visas.