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Permanent residency and citizenship for NZers in Australia

NZ citizens don’t get automatic permanent residency or citizenship in Australia.

Check the official COVID-19 website about travel restrictions.

International travel — COVID-19 website

Permanent residency

If you move to Australia as an NZ citizen you will not automatically get permanent residency status in Australia. However, you will have a Special Category visa that means you can live, study and work in Australia for as long as you like — this does not mean you have permanent residency.

You need to apply for permanent residency. Permanent residency means you can:

  • apply for unemployment or sickness benefits — you cannot receive these benefits until 2 years after being made a permanent resident in Australia
  • sponsor family members who want to apply for permanent residency, and
  • become an Australian citizen.

If you were living in Australia before 26 February 2001

You might already be a permanent resident.

Find out if you’re already a permanent resident

If you arrived in Australia after 26 February 2001

You’ll need to apply for permanent residency. You may be able to apply for a Skilled Independent visa if you are an NZ Special Category visa holder and were living in Australia on or before 19 February 2016.

Find out if you’re eligible and start the application process online.

Skilled Independent visa

Permanent resident


To apply for Australian citizenship you must have:

  • been a permanent resident for 12 months immediately prior to your application, and
  • lived in Australia on a valid visa for 4 years, or be eligible for a variation to this requirement.

You must also meet several general requirements.

Once you’re an Australian citizen you can:

  • vote in Australian elections
  • join the Australian Defence Force
  • work long-term for the Australian public sector.

Become an Australian citizen — for permanent residents or New Zealand citizens

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