Changes to Australian citizenship for New Zealand Citizens holding a Special Category subclass 444 visa
On April 22, 2023, the Australian Government announced a critical change concerning the Australian citizenship application process for New Zealand citizens residing in Australia. Effective from 1 July 2023, a direct pathway to Australian citizenship will be available for eligible New Zealand citizens.
Key Changes to Australian Citizenship Rules for New Zealand Citizens
From 1 July 2023, New Zealand citizens who have been living in Australia for four years or more will be eligible to apply directly for Australian citizenship. They will no longer need to first apply for and be granted a permanent visa.
This change will give them the opportunity to become Australian citizens and enjoy the rights and obligations that come from citizenship.
These changes apply to New Zealand citizens holding a Special Category (subclass 444) visa (SCV) who arrived in Australia after 26 February 2001.
Special Provisions for Protected SCV Holders and Long-Term Residents
Protected SCV holders will continue to be eligible to apply directly for Australian citizenship.
For New Zealand citizens who are long-term residents in Australia, this will be achieved by backdating their period of permanent residence for citizenship purposes. This will allow them to meet the 12-month permanent residence period under the general residence requirement.
Key Points Effective from 1 July 2023
With effect from 1 July 2023:
- All New Zealand citizens holding an SCV will be considered permanent residents for citizenship purposes.
- New Zealand citizens granted an SCV before 1 July 2022 will have their period of permanent residence for citizenship purposes backdated to 1 July 2022.
- New Zealand citizens granted an SCV for the first time on or after 1 July 2022 will be considered a permanent resident for citizenship purposes from the date of their SCV grant.
The above provisions will apply to New Zealand citizens in Australia.
It will also apply to New Zealand overseas citizens who held an SCV immediately before last leaving Australia.
These provisions will not apply to Australian citizenship applications submitted before 1 July 2023.
Implications for NZ Visa Holders’ Partners on Temporary Visas
Also very important to note if you are in a relationship with a NZ visa holder and stuck on a short-term temporary NZ partner visa. Applying for your NZ Partners Australia Citizenship will allow you to have a partner visa in Australia and obtain PR!
Contact Visa Lounge Australia Today
Get in touch with Visa Lounge Australia now to kick-start your Australian citizenship process and prepare for these upcoming changes. We’re committed to guiding you smoothly through this new pathway to Australian citizenship for New Zealand citizens.