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Is Citizenship Automatic for Children Born in Australia?

Can you automatically gain Australian citizenship if you were born in Australia, even if neither of your parents were citizens or permanent residents of the country? Wonder no more as we seek to demystify if you are eligible for Australian citizenship!

Please tell me more!

If you were born in Australia before 20 August 1986, you would automatically qualify to be an Australian citizen by birth, subject to a few exceptions such as one of your parents being a consular officer of another country or having diplomatic privileges. For those born in Australia on or after 20 August 1986, section 12(1) of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 (Cth) states how Australian citizenship can be automatically acquired if:

1) A parent of yours is an Australian citizen or permanent resident when you were born; or

2) You were ordinarily resident in Australia throughout the 10 years from the day you were born.

What does that mean?

Route 1 is self-explanatory and is how most Australians acquire citizenship by birth. Route 2 is more interesting as it means that you can gain citizenship by birth regardless of your parents’ citizenship or visa status. That is, your parents do not need to be Australian citizens or permanent residents.

Please explain route 2 in more detail!

‘Ordinarily resident’ means that you must have your home or permanent abode in Australia (temporary absences such as holidays are allowed). You must also not only be living in Australia for a special or temporary purpose such as to seek short-term medical treatment. In simple terms, if you have lived most of your life in Australia and have your home here, you would automatically become eligible for Australian citizenship on your 10th birthday.

Are there guidelines regarding the interpretation of ‘ordinarily resident’?

Indeed! To assess if you are ordinarily resident in Australia during a certain period, factors that are considered include:

1) How long you have been physically living in Australia;

2) If you consider Australia your home;

3) The nature and length of any period of absence from Australia;

4) If you still had the right to re-enter Australia during the period of absence; and

5) The nature and strength of your ties with Australia such as the presence of your family, attendance at school and club memberships.

Are there any other things I should note?

You do not need to be in Australia on the day of your 10th birthday to become eligible for citizenship under route 2. However, if you have been removed from Australia under the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) prior to your 10th birthday (even if you lived in Australia for most of your life) and have no right to return to Australia, you would not be eligible for automatic citizenship. You would also not be eligible if you were born in Australia on or after 25 November 1952 to a foreign diplomat who was posted here for a limited time.

How do I apply for citizenship under route 2?

We will be more than happy to assist you! Just get in touch with our friendly team via our website. Once you do that, sit back and relax as we guide you through the entire process of applying for Australian citizenship!

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