If you’ve been wondering why your family has always been so proud to be Australian but you’ve never quite seen how that happened, you’ve come to the right place! Australia’s program for citizenship by descent is a bit different from other countries. It makes it easy for anyone with a connection to the country to apply for citizenship – even if your family has lived in Australia for generations.
History of Australian Citizenship and Citizenship by Descent
The history of Australian citizenship and citizenship by descent is complex and intertwined. The first evidence of British involvement in the settlement of Australia dates back to the 1788 expedition led by Captain James Cook. Upon his return to England, Cook described the island of Sydney Cove as an ideal place for the establishment of a penal colony. In 1791, Governor Arthur Phillip awarded land at Parramatta to twelve convicts who had helped him in his exploration of New South Wales.
In 1855, the British Parliament passed the first Australian Citizenship Act. This act provided for the naturalization of aliens (non-citizens) who had settled in Australia and showed evidence of loyalty to Britain and good conduct. The act did not apply to Aboriginal people, who were considered British subjects (native Australians).
In 1901, the first Australian Citizenship Bill was introduced in Parliament but failed to pass due to opposition from some members of the Labor Party (the party that would later form a government under Prime Minister John Curtin). The bill was reintroduced in 1916 but again failed due to strong opposition from members of the conservative coalition government led by Sir Henry Parkes. Parkes argued that granting Australian citizenship to non-British settlers would undermine Australia’s tradition as self-governing.
What is Australian Citizenship by Descent?
Australian citizenship by descent is a type of Australian citizenship that can be acquired by a person who is born in Australia to a parent who is an Australian citizen or permanent resident. A person who is granted Australian citizenship by descent is also known as a ‘citizen by descent.
Australian citizenship by descent is obtained through one’s parent or grandparent being an Australian citizen at the time of your birth. If you were born overseas, your parents may have to apply for citizenship for you. You can also become a citizen if you are eligible under certain circumstances.
Benefits of Australian Citizenship by Descent
As a citizen of Australia by descent, you enjoy a wealth of benefits and privileges. Here are just a few:
- You can live and work anywhere in the country without having to obtain a visa.
- You have the same access to education and health care as other Australian citizens.
- You are eligible for Australian citizenship if you have one parent who is an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
- If you’re aged 18 or over, you can apply for citizenship even if you haven’t lived in Australia continuously for two years.
Requirements to be an Australian Citizen by Descent
To be eligible, your parent must have been an Australian citizen or a former British subject when you were born. If your parent died while you were still a minor, you can apply for citizenship on your behalf if you meet the other eligibility requirements. You must also meet the following requirements:
- Be 18 years or older when you apply
- Have been resident in Australia for at least five years before applying (unless you are applying as a child of one of the qualifying parents)
- Provide evidence that you are of good character
- Pass an English language test
Different Ways to Prove your Citizenship by Descent
There are a few ways to prove your citizenship by descent. Proof of citizenship by descent can be found in your family tree, or through original documentation from your country of birth. Some methods for proving citizenship by descent include:
- A birth certificate or passport that has your parents’ names on it.
- A marriage certificate with both parents’ names on it.
- An affidavit from a government official confirming that you were born in the country and are a citizen.
- A naturalization certificate
How to Apply for Australian Citizenship by Descent
If you are eligible to apply for Australian citizenship by descent, there are a few things you need to do before applying. Firstly, you will need to have your ancestry verified. Secondly, you will need to provide documentation that demonstrates your connection to Australia. Finally, you will need to apply for an Australian citizenship certificate.
To have your ancestry verified, you will need to submit a DNA test and copies of all of the documents that prove your descent from an eligible ancestor. These documents could include birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, or other official documents. If possible, it is recommended that you obtain copies of these documents in both English and the original language.
To provide documentation that demonstrates your connection to Australia, you will need to submit either a declaration or proof of residence card. The declaration can be completed online or on paper and can include information such as your name and date of birth. The proof of residence card must be valid for at least six months after the date of the application and should show your name, address, dates of visa validity (if applicable), and the details of any periods of stay in Australia over the past six months.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How long does it take to become a citizen by descent?
A: The process can take up to two years, depending on your eligibility and application status.
Q: Do I need to live in Australia permanently to become a citizen of descent?
A: No, you do not need to live in Australia permanently to become a citizen of descent. However, if you want to eventually apply for naturalization as an Australian citizen, you will need to live in Australia for at least five years before applying.
Q: Can I renounce my Australian citizenship by descent?
A: You can renounce your Australian citizenship by descent if you want to move permanently to another country. However, it may take some time for the renunciation process to be completed.