The most popular paths to get Australian citizenship

The most popular paths to get Australian citizenship. Image credit: AdobeStock

The most popular paths to get Australian citizenship

(Partner Content) Australian citizenship is in high demand, but the law surrounding who may qualify as a citizen is complex. Our experienced migration agents break down the different paths to Australian citizenship below.

The most popular paths to get Australian citizenship

The most popular paths to get Australian citizenship. Image credit: AdobeStock

Australian through birth

The easiest way to get Australian citizenship is to be born in the country, but even this does not guarantee you that blue passport. 

If you’re over 34 years old and you were born in Australia, you might be in luck. Those born in the country between 26 January 1949 and 20 August 1986 are usually automatically granted citizenship. However, the rules changed on 20 August 1986. If you were born in Australia after that date, your nationality would depend on that of your parents. 

Citizenship by descent

Australian citizenship through your parents

If you were born outside of Australia after 26 January 1949 and at least one of your parents was an Australian citizen or permanent resident at the time of your birth, you can claim Australian citizenship via descent. You must apply for a citizenship certificate before you can apply for your passport. 

What about adoption?

If at least one of your adoptive parents was an Australian citizen at the time of your adoption, you may claim Australian citizenship as with a natural-born child. You may also claim citizenship if your biological parent was a former Australian citizen.

If your Australian parent is themselves Australian by descent or adoption, then they must have spent a minimum of two years in the country before you were born to pass that citizenship on to you. 

Australian citizenship through conferral

Naturalisation – termed “conferral” in Australia – is the most common way for foreigners to obtain Australian citizenship. 

It generally involves going over to Australia on a qualifying visa and living there for a period of four years before being able to apply for citizenship. You must be a permanent resident of Australia for the most recent 12 months in order to apply.  

Not all Australian visas can lead to permanent residence and then citizenship. Some of the most popular ones that do are:

Skilled Independent visa (Subclass 189)

Arguably the most desirable visa, this visa gives the holder the freedom to live anywhere in Australia. Applicants must score 65 points on the immigration points test, have an occupation on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and be under 45 years of age. 

Skilled Nominated Visa (Subclass 190)

This visa is sometimes called the state-sponsored visa. Each state of Australia has its own in-demand skills and visa quotas to fill. If you are in a profession or have a degree in a field where there’s a skills shortage and are under the age of 45, you could qualify for this route. 

Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491 visa)

Similar to the state-sponsored visa, this regional-sponsored visa exists to serve the needs of specific regional areas. To qualify you can either be sponsored by an eligible relative or nominated to apply by a state or territory government. If you’re under 45, don’t mind living outside of the main cities and work in one of the eligible occupations, this visa leads to permanent residence via the visa subclass 191 and then to citizenship. 

Temporary Skilled Shortage visa (subclass 482 visa)

This visa only leads to permanent residence and then citizenship if your occupation is on the MLTSSL, although you may live in Australia for two years if your occupation is on the Short-term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL). This subclass replaced the 457 Temporary Work (Skilled) visa in 2018. 

Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186 visa)

There are stringent eligibility requirements for this visa. Employers can only hire into roles that are on the MLTSSL and then each candidate will be evaluated by the immigration authorities to determine whether they meet all the criteria, including age, English language ability, skill level, health and character. 

Permanent Partner visa

If you have an Australian citizen spouse, this visa category is a possible route to citizenship. You must apply for both the Temporary and Permanent visas at the same time. The Department of Home Affairs will assess your relationship to determine which visa they grant you. If you’re granted a Temporary Partner visa, you will be eligible to be assessed under the Permanent Partner visa, two years after the initial application was submitted. You will not need to pay any additional government fees for the assessment of the Permanent Partner visa. 

Business Innovation and Investor visa (subclass 188)

These are temporary visas which can be converted to permanent residency and then citizenship. To qualify you must be a successful business owner or investor. Most permanent skilled visas have a cut-off age of 45. However, this visa is more concerned with your business prowess and whilst the cut off age is 55, this can be waived if a state or territory believes your business will be of exceptional economic benefit.  

Discover your options by filling in this free online visa assessment or get in touch with one of our expert advisers by emailing or calling 

+27 (0) 21 657 1526.