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Direct Pathway to Australian Citizenship for New Zealand Citizens

On 22 April 2023, the Australian government announced that from 1 July 2023, NZ citizens residing in Australia will have a direct pathway to Australian citizenship. This new pathway for New Zealand citizens living in Australia to qualify for Australian citizenship will be available to Subclass 444 Special Category Visa (SCV), who arrived in Australia after 26 February 2001 and who meet a four-year residency requirement, in addition to other eligibility requirements.

New Zealand citizens will not need to become permanent residents to be eligible to apply for citizenship. According to the Australian Prime Minister, this change brings it in line with Australians living in New Zealand.


All Special Category Visa holders will be able to apply directly for citizenship without becoming permanent residents first, if they meet a four-year residence and other eligibility requirements including Australian residence and character requirements.

By effect of these changes and as 1 July 2023:

  • All New Zealand citizens holding an SCV will be considered permanent residents for citizenship purposes.

  • New Zealand citizens granted an SCV before 1 July 2022 will have their period of permanent residence for citizenship purposes backdated to 1 July 2022.

  • New Zealand citizens granted an SCV for the first time on or after 1 July 2022 will be considered a permanent resident for citizenship purposes from the date of their SCV grant.

This means that all New Zealand citizens that arrive in Australia now on an SCV visa will be eligible to apply for Australian Citizenship once they’ve resided onshore for 4 years.


In addition, children born in Australia on or after 1 July 2022 to SCV holders may automatically acquire Australian citizenship at birth.

From 1 July 2023, children born to NZ citizens in Australia can apply for​ evidence of citizenship.

These changes only apply to citizenship applications lodged on or after 1 July 2023. A New Zealand citizen on a special category visa applying before this date must still meet the 12-month Australian permanent residence requirement.

Do you require further assistance?

If you have further questions about the above, or have any other immigration related query, please get in touch with our experienced team. Contact us by email at or by phone at +614517572873.

This article does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Please consult an immigration professional for up-to-date information.


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