Making citizenship applications on behalf of children under 18 years

It is common for parents to submit citizenship applications on behalf of their children who are under 18 years. To become an Australian citizen, the child must satisfy the requirements under subsection 21(5) of the Citizenship Act 2007 (Cth) which states that a person will be eligible to become an Australian citizen if the person if

  • under 18 at the time the application is made; and
  • a permanent resident at the time the application is made and decided.

Usually, it will be sufficient for the parent applying on behalf of the child to submit evidence such as the child’s birth certificate and evidence that the child is living with the responsible parent.

However, Citizenship Policy prescribes factors that the case officer must take into consideration when assessing a child under the age of 18.  Policy prescribes the following guidelines:

  • The child is living with a responsible parent, who is an Australian citizen and who consents to the application; or
  • The child is usually resident in Australia with a responsible parent who is a permanent resident and consents to the application, and that responsible parent would meet the residence requirement but has decided not to apply for Australian citizenship because they would lose the citizenship of another country; or
  • The child is living with a responsible parent, who is not an Australian citizen and consents to the application, and the child would otherwise suffer significant hardship or disadvantage; or
  • The child is an unaccompanied humanitarian minor who falls under the Minister’s guardianship and a delegated guardian has consented to the application; or
  • The child is an unaccompanied humanitarian minor who does not fall under the Minister’s guardianship and their responsible carer has consented to the application.

Therefore, the child will not be approved if, for instance, the child is living with a responsible parent but the parent is not an Australian citizen or if the parent has not consented to the making of the application or if the child is living with a parent who is not an Australian citizen and consents to the making of the application and the child would suffer significant hardship or disadvantage.

If the applicant does not satisfy one of the above guidelines, the application will fail to meet the legislative requirements to be approved as an Australian citizen.

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