This page provides information about Australian citizenship by descent applications only.
For information on applying for other forms of citizenship, eligibility requirements, dual citizenship and how to obtain proof of citizenship, please visit the Department of Home Affairs website.
Citizenship by Descent
A person can obtain Australian citizenship by descent if one of their parents was an Australian citizen at the time of their birth. Citizenship by descent applicants must be registered as such before they apply for an Australian passport.
If the applicant’s parent also acquired their Australian citizenship by descent or through adoption, the parent must have been present in Australia for periods totalling two years at some time in their life in order for the applicant to now be registered as an Australian citizen by descent.
How to apply
Citizenship by descent applications can be lodged online via the Department of Home Affairs website.
Information about the application fee and how to pay can be found on the Department of Home Affairs website.
Submitting supporting information
Please read the below tips on submitting supporting documents prior to lodging your application:
- All copies of supporting documents, whether lodging online or by paper, must be clear and legible.
- Do not send any original documents unless you are requested to do so by your case officer.
- Documents not in English must be accompanied by a translation.
- Applying online is our preferred method to help us process your application faster. If you are unable to apply online you must complete Form 118 and provide original penal clearance certificates and certified copies of all other supporting documents as detailed on the form.
Before you make an application you must ensure you have all of the required documents. If all the documents are not provided with the application form, the application may be deemed invalid and returned to the applicant with no further processing.
Good character documents
Citizenship by descent applicants aged 18 years or older are required to provide good character documents, including submitting penal clearance certificates.
Applicants living in the US must provide both a state-wide police clearance from each state of residence during the last 12 months AND an FBI check in their current name and any other names they have been known by.
You also must provide penal clearance certificates from each country* you have spent more than 90 days in if you:
- have lived or travelled overseas since reaching the age of 18 years, and
- spent time overseas that adds up to 12 months or more, or
- if we ask you to do so.
*The Department will conduct an Australian National Police Check for applicants that have spent any time in Australia since turning 18 years of age. Information about this is found within the consent section of the application form.
You must disclose any convictions you may have had in Australia or overseas, including spent convictions. If applicable, you must also provide:
- court document(s) listing the outcomes and dispositions of any charges listed on the FBI clearance, US state clearance or other police certificates/clearances;
- any document(s) associated with your arrest, time served and release; and
- a written statement from you detailing each offence/conviction.
Obtaining FBI clearances for US citizens and permanent residents
US citizens and permanent residents can apply directly to the FBI or to one of four Department approved channelers listed below to obtain an Identity History Summary Check:
- Accurate Biometrics
- National Credit Reporting
- National Background Check Inc
- Telos Identity Management Solutions
Obtaining FBI clearances for US temporary residents and visitors
US temporary residents and visitors can apply directly to the FBI to obtain an Identity History Summary Check.
Obtaining a state police clearance
Apply to the relevant state authority or police department ensuring the clearance is requested for all names you have been known by. The type of certificate issued depends on individual state procedures.
For further information on good character documents and penal clearance certificates visit the Department of Home Affairs website.
Processing times & receiving the certificate in the mail
Global visa processing times will be updated monthly, providing you with an indicative timeframe for processing applications.
Actual processing times are dependent on a number of factors, such as:
- whether you have provided all necessary supporting documents when you lodge your application
- how well and how promptly you respond to any requests for additional information
- how long it takes to complete any required checks on information you have provided to support your application
- volumes of applications received at any one time
- the time taken to receive a citizenship certificate
If your application is finalised and citizenship by descent is acquired, our office will print a certificate and mail it to the postal address provided. Postal times may take 3-5 business days. If your address changes, please update your details through your ImmiAccount.
Please note that you should not book flights or make travel commitments until you have an Australian visa or Australian passport to travel to Australia. The department will not be liable for any financial loss incurred by clients whose visa or citizenship by descent application was finalised later than expected or where an application is unsuccessful.
Information on Australian visas and citizenship, as well as ways to make an enquiry, can be found on the Department of Home Affairs website. Please note that the embassy is unable to answer visa and citizenship enquiries.