Exemptions to Australian Citizenship Residence Requirement

Permanent residents can apply for Australian citizenship if they meet the following residence requirements:

  • You must have been living in Australia on a valid visa for the past 4 years
  • A permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen for the past 12 months
  • Away from Australia for no more than 12 months in total in the past 4 years, including no more than 90 days in total in the past 12 months.

If you do not meet the above criteria, there may be some ministerial discretion and exemption from the ‘residence requirement’ available to you;

Significant hardship or disadvantage

Minister has discretion to consider the period as meeting residency requirements if you can show significant hardship or disadvantage.

Spouses and de facto partners

If you are a permanent resident and your spouse or de facto partner is Australian, you may meet the residency requirement if you can show close and continuing association with Australia. Some evidence may include:

  • Australian citizen children
  • Long-term relationship with Australian citizen spouse or de facto partner
  • Regular return visits to Australia
  • Ownership of property in Australia

To prove that your relationship is long-term, you would need to provide supporting documents such as text messages, photos, call history, marriage documents and so forth.

Interdependent relationships

If you are a permanent resident and you are in an interdependent relationship with an Australian citizen, you may meet residency requirement if you can demonstrate close and continuing ties to Australia. Close and continuing ties include:

  • Australian citizen children
  • Long-term relationship with Australian citizen spouse or de facto partner
  • Regular return visits to Australia
  • Ownership of property in Australia
Confinement in prison or psychiatric institution

In most cases, a person who has been confined in a prison or psychiatric institution will have to wait 4 years after being released from confinement to meet the residence requirement. However, in some circumstances the minister may waive the requirement.

Administrative error

If you were in Australia but the Minister, consider that you do not meet the residency requirement because of an administrative error. The minister has the discretion to waive treat your presence during that period as meeting the requirement.

Exemptions to Citizenship Residence Requirements and COVID-19 crisis

Applicants who intend to apply for citizenship by conferral must meet the citizenship ‘residence requirement’. This generally means physically residing in Australia for four years or more, including 12 months as a permanent resident before lodgement of your application. The Department of Immigration have advised that there are no concessions for those who are not able to return to Australia due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions, meaning you will have to delay lodging your citizenship application until you satisfy the ‘residence requirement’.

See also:

For COVID-19 visa related travel questions / 408 visa eligibility you can book a time here:

https://seekvisa.as.me/covid19 (25 min)

If you would like a comprehensive consultation which includes assessing you for other temporary and permanent visa options (Skilled visas, Employer Sponsored, Partner, etc.) as well, we recommend our standard 45 minute to 1 hour consultation which can be scheduled here:

https://seekvisa.as.me/skype (45 min)

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