Obtaining an Australian passport is an ambitious and challenging goal. It will take serious commitment and planning. You want to get it right. If you commit your life to this goal you want to ensure you are on the right path and you must be certain you will be successful. The rewards however, are well worth the effort. Knowing that you are guaranteeing the freedom and right to live in Australia for yourself and your future generations.
How to Get an Australian Passport
- Apply for a Temporary or Permanent Australian Visa
- Reside in Australia for 4 years on any temporary or permanent visa and
- Reside in Australia for 12 months on a permanent visa
- Apply for Australian Citizenship
- Attend a Citizenship Test and Interview
- Attend a Citizenship Ceremony
- Apply for an Australian Passport
How Long will it Take to Obtain an Australian Passport
It will only take 2 business days to obtain an Australian passport via priority processing. However, there are many steps to complete before you can submit your passport application.
Generally it will take 5+ years to obtain an Australian Passport. The process includes 24 hrs to 16+ years to obtain an Australian visa, 4 years living in Australia and then 1 – 2 years for the Citizenship application to be processed. However, there is a Fast Track option to obtaining an Australian Passport in 6 months
Fast Track Option to obtain an Australian Passport in 6 – 9 months
Are you of Exceptional Talent and Benefit to Australia?
You may be granted citizenship after residing in Australia on any temporary or permanent visa for 180 days in the 2 years before submitting your application for Citizenship. During this 6 month period you must have resided in Australia for at least 90 days whilst holding a permanent visa.
If you are granted an 858 Distinguished Talent Visa or your work is considered critical to Australia you and your family may be granted a travel exemption to enter Australia during Covid.
You must agree to remain a resident in Australia for 2 years beginning on the day your Australian citizenship is granted, and spend at least 6 months physically in Australia during that 2 year period.
In order to qualify for this fast track option you must be engaged in activities that are considered of benefit to Australia. You must must work in one of the occupations in Table A.
Standard Process for Obtaining an Australian Passport
Apply for a Temporary or Permanent Australian Visa
The first step towards obtaining an Australian passport is to obtain a permanent visa for Australia. You will either need to apply via employer sponsorship, family sponsorship, skilled migration or business and investment migration. There are also options for humanitarian visas and eligible New Zealand citizens. However, we will not be covering those options in this article.
There are over 100 Australian visas and each migration stream listed below has several visa options contained within them. Fast track applicants will usually apply for an 858 Distinguished Talent Visa. Each visa is called a visa subclass and has a three digit number. For instance, an offshore partner visa falls under the Family Migration Stream, subclass 309 Partner visa. Detailed information for each migration stream and each visa subclass is provided by clicking on the below headings or via our main website drop down menu at the top of this page.
Processing times for Australian Visas
Processing times for Australian visa applications vary significantly. From 24 hours for tourist visas, 2 -3 years for Spouse visas, 6 – 12 months for employer sponsored visas, 4 – 16 years+ for some parent visas.
A student visa is a temporary visa. There is no direct pathway to permanent residency via a student visa. However, some student visa holders can apply for a 485 temporary graduate visa following their studies. This may lead to gaining work experience in Australia and employer sponsorship via a 407 Training Visa or 482 Temporary Work Visa. These visas may then lead to a permanent employer sponsored visa or skilled migration visa or even a spouse visa if they form a relationship with an Australian permanent resident, citizen or eligible New Zealand Citizen.
You will need an Australian business or overseas business to sponsor you to work full time in Australia. Only limited occupations are eligible for employer sponsorship. The lists of eligible occupations are updated frequently. The skill level, experience and qualification requirements vary for each visa subclass and occupation. You may be able to come to Australia on a temporary or permanent visa under the employer sponsorship stream.
If you are the child, parent or spouse of an Australian permanent resident, Australian Citizen or Eligible New Zealand Citizen who is usually resident in Australia, you may qualify for a temporary or permanent visa under the Family Sponsorship Migration Stream
If you have the qualifications(usually a trade qualification or bachelor degree) and experience in an occupation in demand in Australia, you may be able to apply for a temporary or permanent visa under the Skilled Migration Stream. Skilled Migration has reduced significantly and only applicants with occupations on the Priority Occupations List are likely to succeed under this pathway in 2021.
You can apply for skilled migration on based on your own skills and experience without employer sponsorship. Applicants submit an Expression of Interest and DHA will invite suitable applicants from the pool to lodge a visa application. State and Territory Governments also produce their own lists of occupations and criteria for State Sponsorship. There are opportunities to be invited to apply for a visa under this migration stream from each State and Territory Government.
The Australian Government is keen to attract highly successful and talented business owners, entrepreneurs and investors to migrate to Australia. We are currently compiling more information regarding this migration stream and will update this article in due course.
Frequent Changes to Australian Visa Requirements
The Australian migration legislation and regulations change frequently in response to economic demand and developing migration programs. The information on this website is intended for general information only. You must engage the services of a registered migration to thoroughly examine your personal situation and future intentions against the backdrop of current legislation and policy. Only then, should you proceed to submit an Australian visa application.
How long do you need to live in Australia to get Citizenship?
Unless you qualify for the fast track option outlined above, once you have lived in Australia for 4 years on any temporary visa and lived in Australia for 12 months on a permanent visa, you may qualify for Australian Citizenship. You may travel outside Australia during this four year period as long you don’t spend more than 12 months’ cumulatively outside Australia in the 4 years immediately before you submit your Citizenship application. You must also reside in Australia for 9 months out of the last 12 months immediately before submitting your application.
Apply for Australian Citizenship
Upon lodgment of your Australian Citizenship application, majority of applications are finalised in 1 – 3 years. The Department of Home Affairs publishes standard processing times for 75 – 95% of cases. At time of writing this article there are 161,000 applications for citizenship lodged with the DHA. DHA state that from the date of citizenship application submission to the citizenship ceremony is 19 – 20 months. In our experience, processing times vary significantly.
At the time you apply for Australian Citizenship 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
- You must intend to live in Australia or maintain a close and continuing association with Australia while overseas.
Close and continuing association with Australian may be demonstrated by:
- a child who is an Australian citizen
- a partner who is an Australian citizen and your time together
- extended family in Australia
- time spent in Australia
- operating an Australian bank account
- employment in Australia
- history of paying income tax in Australia
- owning property in Australia
Attend a Citizenship Test and Interview
DHA will contact you to arrange a time for your citizenship test and interview. The test is multiple choice and completed on a computer. You must score at least 75% in the citizenship test. The interview is conducted in person. The aim of this process is to ensure you have:
- a basic knowledge of the English language
- an understanding of what it means to become an Australian citizen
- an adequate knowledge of Australia and the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship
- an understanding and commitment to Australian values based on freedom, respect and equality
Attend the Australian Citizenship Ceremony
Most applicants for Australian citizenship by conferral must attend a citizenship ceremony and make the Australian Citizenship Pledge. This completes the process to become an Australian citizen. You will receive your Australian citizenship certificate at your ceremony.
Once you hold Australian Citizenship you must apply for an Australian Passport. Australia places no restrictions on holding multiple passports and Australia does not required to renounce your citizenship from any other country.
Apply for an Australian Passport
Once you have received your Australian Citizenship Certificate you must apply for Australian passport to travel back into Australia. The passport application process can take approx 3 weeks or 2 days via priority processing.
Looking for Help?
My name is Michelle Firth, I have been an registered Australian migration agent for over 20 years. I founded Australian Visa Group in 2007. I have lived in Perth, Western Australia since 1982. I have also resided on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Due to Covid I have returned to Perth, Western Australia and continue to offer my service via phone and e-mail to clients around the world.
If you would like to explore your pathway to gaining an Australian passport please contact me for an initial phone consultation.
I highly recommend Australian Visa Group! Michelle Firth really does some amazing work!
She assisted me with my grandfathered 457 nomination to PR which had previously felt like an impossible dream!!
She is so friendly and kept me well informed and helped me with any questions along the way, she explained everything fully and was able to help me make sense of the whole process!
Highly recommend Michelle, in the end the process ended up being a lot quicker than expected!
Thank you again!
While the changes to 457 were being announced, it was very scary being in limbo... the process is long and worrying regardless but also not knowing if I was eligible any longer added extra stress. Michelle kept me well informed and helped me with any questions along the way, she explained everything fully and was able to help me make sense of the whole process instead of me trying to piece it together from blogs and news reports.
Highly recommend Michelle, in the end the process ended up being a lot quicker than expected!
I was in Perth, Australia but wife was overseas and that's what made things complicated as to how to go about it. But my decision to appoint Michelle to represent me turned out to be amazing.
She is extremely effective & responsive and the level of professionalism she has shown throughout the process is outstanding.
I would definitely recommend Australia Visa Group to everyone who are looking for migration agents and lawyers for their prospective visas.
Very much recommended!