facebook linked in

Citizenship-Resident Return Visas

Australian Citizenship Changes

The Australian Government is strengthening the requirements to become an Australian citizen. This includes:

  • Increasing the general residence requirement, which means an applicant for Australian citizenship will need to demonstrate a minimum of four years permanent residence immediately prior to their application for citizenship
  • Introducing an English language test, which means applicants will need to demonstrate competent English language listening, speaking, reading and writing skills before being able to sit the citizenship test
  • Strengthening the Australian Values Statement to include reference to allegiance to Australia and require applicants to make an undertaking to integrate into and contribute to the Australian community
  • Strengthening the test for Australian citizenship through the addition of new test questions about Australian values, and the privileges and responsibilities of Australian citizenship
  • Introducing a requirement for applicants to demonstrate their integration into the Australian community
  • Strengthening the Pledge of commitment as a citizen of the Commonwealth of Australia in the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 to refer to allegiance to Australia; and extending the requirement for individuals aged 16 years and over to make the Pledge to all streams of citizenship by application, including citizenship by descent, adoption and resumption.

Subject to the passage of legislation required to enact some of the measures, the changes will come into effect, and apply to applications made from the date of the Government's announcement on 20 April 2017. 

The changes will not apply to applications made before 20 April 2017 (that is, the current rules will continue to apply to applications made before 20 April 2017).

Applicants will receive communication on the implementation of these measures and any additional information and documentation that may be required to support their application.


Australian Citizenship

There are a variety of ways to acquire Australian Citizenship.

General elegibility

  • If you migrated to Australia, have permanent residence, satisfy the residential requirements and are of good character you may be eligible for citizenship.Spouses and partners of Australian citizens do not have an automatic right to Australian citizenship. You will need to apply for citizenship and satisfy the eligibility criteria in the same way as other adult applicants.
  • For New Zealand citizens their eligibility for Australian citizenship depends on whether they arrived in Australia before or after 26 February 2001.

Citizenship by descent

Children born overseas to an Australian citizen parent may be eligible apply for Australian citizenship.

PNG Nationals

There are some special rules that may apply to PNG nationals with (former) Australian citizen parents, depending on where and where they were born.We have experience in handling such cases.


Other situations

  • You may be eligible to become an Australian citizen again if you lost your citizenship because of acquiring the citizenship of another country, or renounced or gave up your Australian citizenship.
  • If your responsible parent had lost their Australian citizenship at the time of your birth, you may be eligible to apply for citizenship as a child of a former citizen.
  • If you are adopted, you may be eligible to apply for citizenship by adoption.
  • You may be eligible for Australian citizenship if you were born in Papua before independence on 16 September 1975 and:one of your parents was born in Australia as we now know it,your parent was an Australian citizen at the time of your birth and you are of good character. 

 ► Please contact us for an overview of current requirements and to work out the best strategy for a successfull application for Australian Citizenship.


Resident Return Visas

The Resident Return (subclass 155) visa is a permanent visa for current or former Australian permanent residents. This visa will allow you to maintain or regain your status as an Australian permanent resident on your return to Australia.

To be eligible for a five year Resident Return visa you must be one of the following:

  • an Australian permanent resident
  • a former Australian permanent resident whose last permanent visa was not cancelled
  • a former Australian Citizen who lost or renounced their citizenship.
  • you must be lawfully present in Australia for a total of at least 2 years in the 5 years immediately before lodging the application for the visa or
  • you must have substantial and beneficial business, cultural, employment or personal ties to Australia; and
  • if you have been absent from Australia for more than five years, you must also have compelling reasons for your absence.

► Please contact us for an overview of current requirements and to work out the best strategy for a successfull application for a Resident Return Visa.