Citizenship

How do I prove I’m an Australian citizen?

Unless you qualify for streamlined renewal, you have to show us documents that prove you’re an Australian citizen.

Because of changes to Australian citizenship laws on 20 August 1986 (which are the responsibility of the Department for Home Affairs), the documents we require depend on whether you were:

Born in Australia before 20 August 1986

If you were born in Australia before 20 August 1986, you only have to show us your full birth certificate issued by an Australian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages .

Born in Australia on or after 20 August 1986

If you were born in Australia on or after 20 August 1986, you can prove your citizenship by showing us:

Born overseas

If you were born outside Australia, you have to show us an Australian citizenship certificate in your name.

How do I prove citizenship by descent?

If you were born in Australia on or after 20 August 1986 and one of your parents was an Australian citizen on the day you were born, then you can prove your citizenship by showing us your own full birth certificate and:

  • your parent's full birth certificate that shows your parent was born in Australia before 20 August 1986, or
  • your parent's Australian passport issued on or after 20 August 1986 that was valid for at least two years and issued before you were born, or
  • your parent's Australian citizenship certificate that shows they acquired citizenship before you were born.

If none of these three documents apply to your situation, and if your parent was born in Australia on or after 20 August 1986, then to prove citizenship by descent you’ll need to show us your own full Australian birth certificate and your parent’s full Australian birth certificate and:

  • the full Australian birth certificate of a grandparent who was born in Australia before 20 August 1986, or
  • the Australian passport of a grandparent issued on or after 20 August 1986 that was valid for at least two years and issued before your parent was born, or
  • the Australian citizenship certificate of a grandparent that shows they acquired citizenship before your parent was born.

We only accept full, original Australian birth certificates issued by an Australian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages that show parent or grandparent names.

If the link between you and your parent, or between your parent and your grandparent, isn’t clear from their birth certificates because one or both of them changed their names, then you’ll also need to show us name change documents that prove these links.

Can’t prove citizenship by descent? Too hard to get all the documents? You may need an Australian citizenship certificate in your own name.

If you have an Australian citizenship certificate in your own name, then you don’t have to prove citizenship by descent.

What if I can’t prove citizenship by descent?

If you were born in Australia on or after 20 August 1986 and you can’t show us:

  • an Australian passport issued on or after 1 January 2000 in your name that was valid for at least two years, or
  • documents that prove you're a citizen by descent

then to prove your citizenship you’ll have to get an Australian citizenship certificate in your name.

What if I’m an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander?

If you:

  • identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, and
  • can’t get birth certificates that prove you’re a citizen

then call us on 131 232 to discuss other options.

Don’t apply for a citizenship certificate without calling us first.

What counts as a citizenship certificate?

Australian citizenship certificates can also be known by other names:

  • Conferral Certificate
  • Evidence Certificate
  • Declaratory Certificate
  • Citizenship by Descent (extract)
  • Certificate of Naturalisation
  • Australian citizenship certificate of an Adoption in accordance with the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption or bilateral arrangement
  • extract from the Register of Australian Births Abroad.

How do I get a citizenship certificate?

To get an Australian citizenship certificate, you have to apply to the Department of Home Affairs.

Before booking any travel, you should take into account Home Affairs processing times in addition to passport processing times.

Why are you referring me to the Department of Home Affairs?

If we can’t determine your citizenship status based on the information you provide with your application, we may refer you to the Department of Home Affairs to obtain evidence of your Australian citizenship.

We may also refer you to Home Affairs to resolve any discrepancies between the information on your citizenship certificate and other information which we hold or which is in your passport application.

See also: