The law on Australian citizenship is complex and multifaceted. It is often seen as a bundle of rights and responsibilities, but it is also a source of identity and belonging. For many people, being an Australian citizen means they have a source of pride and patriotism in Australia.
The highest number of applications for renunciation was the financial year 2018-2019, with a total of 247 applications. However, this number decreased by the financial year 2020-2021 because there were only 72 applications.
Renouncing Australian citizenship is a significant decision. It means giving up the rights and privileges that come with Australian citizenship, such as the right to vote, the right to hold a passport, and the right to live and work in Australia. Renouncing your citizenship can also make it difficult to travel to Australia in the future.
This article will discuss the essentials of Australian citizenship renunciation, the requirements for application, and the step-by-step process.
Applying for an Australian Citizenship Test
Once you have applied for Australian citizenship, you may get an invitation to attend an interview and sit the Australian citizenship test. The general eligibility criteria to becoming a citizen are when you:
- Are an Australian permanent resident or permanent residents living in Australia
- Are a person born overseas to a parent who is an Australian citizen
- Were born overseas and adopted by an Australian citizen outside Australia
- Lost your Australian citizenship and would like to resume your citizenship.
Note: New Zealand citizens who have been living in Australia for 4 years or more can apply for Australian citizenship. Find out about New Zealand citizens becoming Australian citizens on the Department of Home Affairs website.
Australian Citizenship Act 2007: Renunciation by Application
Section 33 of this Act provides that a person who wishes to renounce their Australian citizenship may do so by submitting an application. The application requirements are provided under Section 46 of the same Act, which are as follows:
- The applicant must fill up Form 128, the relevant form approved by the Minister for the purposes of that provision; and
- Such application must contain the information required by the form; and
- The application must be accompanied by any other information or documents prescribed by the regulations which will be discussed in the later sections of this article; and
- The applicant must pay a fee of $290.
Refusal and Approval of Application
The Minister can either approve or refuse the application of the person renouncing his or her citizenship. Moreover, this decision must be made in writing. The Minister will approve the application if the applicant satisfies the following requirements:
- the applicant is aged 18 or over and
- the applicant is a national or citizen of a foreign country, at the time the person made the application; or
- the applicant was born, or is ordinarily resident, in a foreign country and
- the applicant is not entitled, under the law of that country, to acquire the nationality or citizenship of that country because the person is an Australian citizen.
On the other hand, the Minister can refuse to approve the application based on the following grounds:
- The person is a national or citizen of a foreign country at the time the person made the application and such person made the application during a war in which Australia is engaged.
- If the approval of the application for renunciation would not be for the best interests of Australia.
Eligibility and Step-By-Step Process
Before you begin the application for renunciation of your Australian citizenship, you must check if you are eligible to do so. Thus, you must be:
- 18 years or older
- Already a citizen of another country
- Born or ordinarily resident in a foreign country where you cannot become a citizen while you are an Australian citizen
If you tick all those boxes, then you’re ready to proceed to the first step of the application process.
Step 1: Prepare your documents.
The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) will require:
- Certified true copies of your documents
- Identity documents that will show your birthname, photograph, signature, and current residential address.
- Passport-sized photograph for the application. (Must be less than 6 months old, good quality, full-face view of your head and shoulders, taken against a plain, light background)
In this stage, make sure that you do these three things: Translate, Certify, and Keep copies of your documents.
Step 2: Fill out the form and pay the fee.
In this step, there are three things that you must do:
- Complete Form 128.
- Pay the fee through your ImmiAccount
- Send your application form, certified copies of documents, and payment receipt to the address below:
Evidence Processing Unit Parramatta
Department of Home Affairs
GPO Box 9984
SYDNEY NSW 2001
Here’s a lodgement checklist for your convenience:
- Completed application form
- Identity documents
- One endorsed passport-sized photograph and identity declaration, signed by a person with the correct authority for yourself and each child included in your application
- Current Australian passport and citizenship certificate or descent extract
- Supporting documents as required
- The application payment receipt
Remember to pre-pay through your ImmiAccount before posting your application to the Department of Home Affairs.
Step 3: Wait for the decision.
If your application is approved you will be notified in writing. You will cease to be an Australian citizen on the day your application is approved. Moreover, if you are in Australia when your application is approved, you will automatically become the holder of an ex-citizen visa.
But if you are outside Australia when your application to renounce your citizenship is approved, and you wish to travel to Australia, you will need to apply for a visa that suits your purpose.
If the DHA refuses your application, you will be notified in writing of the grounds for refusal. You can still file an appeal before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) to review your application.
Get Advice from a Citizenship Lawyer
The decision to renounce Australian citizenship is a complex one, and should not be taken lightly. It is important to weigh the potential benefits and drawbacks carefully before making a decision. Here are some additional things to consider:
- If you have children, renouncing your citizenship could affect their citizenship status.
- Australian citizens may lose access to Australian government benefits and services.
- It may be difficult to get a job or start a business in Australia if you are no longer a citizen.
- You may feel less connected to your family and friends in Australia.
If you are considering renouncing your Australian citizenship, it is important to seek legal advice to understand the full implications of your decision. We can also help a former Australian citizen regain their citizenship or help you secure a permanent visa.