Are Children Born in Australia Citizens?
Updated on Sep 28, 2023 • 4 min read • 1600 views • Copy Link
Are Children Born in Australia Citizens?
Prior to 1986, all babies born in Australia automatically became Australian citizens. However, this is no longer the case. Today, when a child is born in Australia to parents who are non-citizens, the immigration status of the child depends on the type of visa or status that the parents hold. The change was made due to the increasing number of short-term visa holders living in the community. This page deals with the citizenship of children born in Australia.
One or both parents are Australian citizens
Where one or both parents are Australian citizens or a permanent residents, a child born in Australia automatically acquires Australian citizenship. As soon as the baby is born, the parents may apply for an Australian passport in respect of the child. If both parents are permanent residents, the child will become an Australian citizen before they do.
Having a child who is an Australian citizen provides a pathway to apply for a Contributory Parent 143 Visa. This is a visa that allows the holder to remain in Australia permanently, to work and study here, and to sponsor eligible relatives to come to Australia.
Parents on the same visa
Where both parents are on temporary or permanent visas, a child born in Australia will be taken to have been granted the same type of visa as the parents.
In this situation, the parents do not need to apply for a visa for the child, but they need to contact the Department of Immigration to organise for a visa to be attached to the child’s passport.
When the parents progress from a temporary to a permanent visa, so does the child.
Parents on different visas
Where both parents are on visas, but each parent holds a different type of visas, the child will acquire the ‘best’ visa status. For example, if the mother is on a temporary visa but the father is on a permanent visa, the child will acquire a permanent visa.
One parent is a citizen and the parents separate
When a person on a temporary visa has a baby with an Australian citizen and the parents then separate, the child has citizenship but the foreign parent does not automatically have the right to stay in Australia.
In this situation, the parent who is a non-citizen will have to apply for a permanent visa if they want to remain in Australia. This application may or may not be successful. A negative decision will mean that the parent will be unable to remain with their child.
Child is ordinarily resident in Australia
If a child is born to parents who are not citizens and is ‘ordinarily resident’ in Australia until the age of ten, the child becomes eligible for citizenship.
The child may have been temporarily absent from Australia during this period but their regular home must have been in Australia.
To determine whether a child is ordinarily resident in Australia, the department will look at:
- The length of time the child has lived in Australia;
- Whether the child considers Australia to be their home;
- The length and nature of any period of absence from Australia;
- Whether the child retained their right to re-enter Australia during any period of absence;
- The nature and extent of the child’s ties to Australia such as the presence of their family here, attendance at school and involvement in the community.
If the child was removed from Australia before their tenth birthday and did not retain the right to re-enter the country, they are not considered ordinarily resident in Australia for the purpose of becoming eligible for citizenship.
The children of foreign diplomats cannot be taken to be ordinarily resident in Australia for the purpose of obtaining citizenship based on having spent their first ten years here.
Applying for citizenship for a child
An application for citizenship for a person under the age of 16 must be made by a responsible parent. This is the person who has legal responsibility for the child, whether or not they are a biological parent. The application can be made online or on paper.
Affordable LawyersOur Go To Court Lawyers will assist you in all areas of law. We specialise in providing legal advice urgently – at the time when you need it most. If you need a lawyer right now, today, we can help you – no matter where you are in Australia.
How It Works
1. You speak directly to a lawyer
When you call the Go To Court Legal Hotline, you will be connected directly to a lawyer, every time.
2. Get your legal situation assessed
We determine the best way forward in your legal matter, free of charge. If you want to go ahead and book a face-to-face appointment, we will connect you with a specialist in your local area.
3. We arrange everything as needed
If you want to go ahead and book a fact-to-face appointment, we will connect you with a specialist in your local area no matter where you are and even at very short notice.