Dual Citizenship in Australia: Requirements and How to Apply

If you’re set on studying or working in Australia for a PR, have you thought about taking it further and becoming a citizen? After all, achieving dual citizenship in Australia is possible – and that without having to give up your current nationality.

In this blog, learn about the steps and requirements to become an Australian dual citizen. If you’re already an Australian citizen but looking to obtain citizenship in another country, you can read into the considerations and challenges of acquiring dual citizenship abroad.

What is dual citizenship?

Dual citizenship means being a citizen of two countries at the same time. 

Say, you’re a US citizen who holds Australian citizenship. This means that on top of the rights you enjoy in the US, you also have legal rights in Australia, including the right to live and work, the ability to vote and access to social services. 

However, being a dual citizen also means you’re obligated to follow the laws of both countries, which at times can lead to conflicts or complications.

Does Australia allow dual citizenship?

Yes, Australia accepts dual citizenship. You’re considered a dual citizen in Australia if:

  • You are a citizen of another country and become an Australian citizen (typically through citizenship by conferral); or 
  • You are an Australian citizen and are granted citizenship of another country that doesn’t require you to give up your Australian citizenship; or

The Australian Citizenship Act 2007 explicitly states:

A person can be a citizen of Australia and another country at the same time, as long as they meet the eligibility criteria for both citizenships.

Before, Australian-born citizens seeking foreign nationality automatically lost their Australian citizenship. Fortunately, this policy was repealed in April 2002, allowing Australians to enjoy the benefits of citizenship in another country while maintaining their rights in Australia.

Countries That Allow Dual Citizenship With Australia

Below is a list of countries that, as of writing, permit dual citizenship with Australia:

AfricaEgypt, South Africa
AsiaBangladesh, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey
EuropeFrance, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Macedonia, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom
North AmericaCanada and the United States
OceaniaNew Zealand, Tonga (Western Samoa is another name for Samoa, also in Oceania)
South AmericaBrazil, Colombia

A migration agent can help you assess your eligibility for dual citizenship and guide you with the appropriate steps to proceed.

How to Obtain Dual Citizenship in Australia

For people seeking Australian citizenship

Check first if the country you have citizenship in allows dual citizenship with Australia (or if they allow dual nationality at all). Otherwise, you might lose your original citizenship along with the rights and privileges that come with it.

Criteria for Citizenship

Those who are not eligible to apply for citizenship by descent must obtain citizenship by conferral. To apply, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Have been living in Australia for 4 years before applying:
    • with no more than 12 months of absence in those 4 years
    • no more than 90 days total in the past 12 months
  • Meet ‘good character’ requirements, which include background checks of any criminal history and your overall moral standing
  • Have basic knowledge of English
  • Demonstrate that you are likely to live or continue to live in Australia

Citizenship Application Process

Flowchart on the application process for citizenship by conferral
  1. Prepare original and/or certified supporting documents, which include:
  • Birth certificate
  • Passport
  • Identity documents (e.g. driver’s license, national ID)
  • Evidence of current residential address (e.g. rental contracts, utilities notices)
  • Police certificates
  • Identity declaration signed by an Australian citizen
  1. Submit your application online through ImmiAccount.

You must first create an ImmiAccount if you don’t already have one.

While waiting for a decision, you must respond to any additional requests/appointments from the Department of Home Affairs.

  1. Take the citizenship test and/or interview.

The Department will notify you in writing regarding the outcome of your application.

  1. Attend the citizenship ceremony and make the Australian Citizenship Pledge.

For Australian citizens seeking citizenship in another country

Check if the other country you plan to get citizenship in allows you to continue holding your Australian citizenship. The process for citizenship can be different for each country, but you can typically expect the following:

  • Meet the country’s eligibility requirements for citizenship
  • Submit a citizenship application
  • Pass the citizenship test or interview
  • Obtain citizenship certificate

You must inform the Australian government of your new citizenship. Moreover, you must continue to do your duties as an Australian citizen.

What are the benefits of holding dual citizenship?

Being a dual citizen has its benefits, which usually include the following:

Make International Travel Easier

Dual citizens can use either passport to travel, depending on the destination. On top of that, using the ‘stronger’ passport can remove or minimise the hassle of visa requirements. 

For instance, Australian citizens enjoy visa-free access to 139 countries, which can make international travel much easier and straightforward.

More Employment Opportunities

Dual citizenship provides a wider range of employment prospects and allows for flexibility in terms of salary rates, location and other employment aspects. An Indian-Australian dual citizen, for example, can easily look for jobs in Australia without needing a work visa.

Access to Social Services of Both Countries

In most cases, dual nationals can access each of their country’s healthcare systems and other social services. This means that those with Australian passports can access Australia’s Medicare, as well as its world-class health and medical experts. 

Easy Access to Education

Dual citizens may have access to education systems in both countries, including domestic tuition rates and scholarships.

Personal Security

Dual citizenship provides freedom to choose where you live based on your priorities, such as safety, stability and peace of mind. Australia, for instance, appeals to dual citizens due to its low crime rates and effective public safety measures.

Challenges and Considerations in Dual Citizenship

While beneficial, dual citizenship also comes with challenges and important considerations:

Travelling in and out of Australia

When entering and leaving Australia, you must use your Australian passport. Otherwise, you might face issues at border control.

Dual citizens may use the other passport for travel once outside Australia. 

To avoid complications, it’s recommended that you carry both passports when travelling. 

Entering and Leaving Your Other Country of Citizenship

Similarly, when entering or leaving your other country of citizenship, you should use that country’s passport. 

Note that using your non-Australian passport can have a downside: authorities in that country might not view you as an Australian. As a result, Australia is limited in terms of providing consular assistance and legal support in case you encounter issues while in that country.

Mandatory Military Service

In some countries, citizens (including dual citizens) need to serve in the military for a time period.  This obligation might apply even if your visit is temporary. Consult with your country’s embassy before travelling to avoid any sanctions and other unexpected circumstances.

Marriage, Divorce and Child Custody

If you get married in another country and the marriage complies with Australian legal standards, it will be valid in Australia. 

Thus, underage marriages, which are illegal in Australia, won’t be recognised regardless of the laws in the country where the marriage took place.

In terms of divorce, it might not be recognised in another country despite being legal in Australia. This may lead to complications with dividing property or arranging child support.

These issues can also affect child custody and their legal status. For example, children born from an unrecognised marriage might be considered illegitimate in some countries. 

Additionally, if one parent wants to leave Australia with the children and the other parent doesn’t agree, it could be considered abduction under certain circumstances.

Tax Implications

You may be required to file tax returns and pay taxes in both Australia and your other country of citizenship. For instance, the United States taxes its citizens regardless of where they live. 

Rights and Duties of Australian Dual Citizens

As an Australian citizen, you have the following rights and privileges:

  • You can vote in federal elections.
  • You have the right to express your opinions and beliefs without fear of persecution.
  • You can gather with others to protest or celebrate without restrictions.
  • You have access to government-funded education and training.
  • You have access to public healthcare, including Medicare and other government-funded services.
  • You can travel freely to and from Australia and other countries without needing a visa.
  • You have the right to maintain your cultural and linguistic heritage and to participate in the cultural and linguistic life of Australia.

In return, you must uphold your duties to Australia:

  • Follow the laws of Australia.
  • Respect the rights and freedoms of fellow citizens.
  • Defend Australia if necessary.
  • If called upon, serve on a jury to uphold the principles of justice.
  • Respect the values that define Australia, such as freedom, equality, and fairness.

Need help with your dual citizenship application?

Book a call with one of our migration agents for free

At KBA Global, we’ll give you practical and realistic advice on how you can proceed with your citizenship, and assist you with completing and submitting the required paperwork. 

With over 10+ years of experience, we understand how stressful the process can be for aspiring applicants. It is our mission to make it as easy and straightforward as possible for you. 


Does Australia allow more than two citizenships?

Yes, multiple citizenships are allowed in Australia. In fact, there are people who hold Australian, US and UK citizenship. An Australian citizen may also hold South African and Greek citizenship, for instance. 

The bottom line is that one can achieve multiple citizenships in Australia as long as they meet the citizenships criteria of each country.

How long does it take to get Australian citizenship?

Provided that you meet all eligibility requirements for Australian citizenship, citizenship by conferral can take up to 9 to 13 months. 

On the other hand, citizenship by descent can take up to 5 months to process.

What are the different ways to achieve dual citizenship?

Generally, there are four ways to achieve dual citizenship.

  • Parental citizenship

This is also called citizenship by descent. For instance, if you were born in Australia to an Australian mother and an Italian father, you might automatically hold both Australian and Italian citizenship.

  • Marriage

A British citizen marrying an Australian may be eligible for Australian citizenship after meeting specific residency and marriage duration requirements.

  • Naturalisation

Typically taken by overseas skilled migrants, this pathway involves ‘applying’ for citizenship after having met residency requirements and other eligibility criteria. In Australia, this is called ‘citizenship by conferral’. 

  • Birthplace

If you were born overseas, you might be granted automatic citizenship of the country of birth, in addition to the citizenship of your parents. For example, a child born in the US to Australian parents may acquire both US and Australian citizenship.

How do I apply for citizenship by descent?

You can only apply for citizenship by descent in Australia if you were born outside Australia and at least one of your parents held Australian citizenship during your birth.

You can apply online through ImmiAccount. Unlike citizenship by conferral, you will not be required to attend a citizenship ceremony.

Can work visas help me achieve citizenship?

Yes, there are many PR work visas that can lead you to citizenship. Popular ones include:

Disclaimer: The above information is a general guide and not professional immigration advice. Be aware that immigration laws and regulations can change swiftly, potentially rendering some or all of the information outdated. Thus, before using the information above, we recommend checking the current laws through assistance from a migration agent or the Department of Home Affairs website.