Even though Australian citizenship is a highly sought after privilege, there are legitimate reasons why somebody might want to give it up. Most notably, this may be the case when an individual wishes to hold the citizenship of a country that does not permit dual citizenship.
In this article, we outline some of the key considerations for anybody who is contemplating a renunciation of their Australian citizenship (by application). This article does not address the involuntary revocation of citizenship.
Australia strives to ensure that an individual will not become stateless after renouncing their citizenship. To apply, you must satisfy the Department that either:
- you are already a citizen of another country; or
- you will become a citizen of another country, immediately upon relinquishing your Australian citizenship.
If you are under 18 years of age, you must also satisfy the Department that:
- you were either born or are ordinarily resident in a foreign country; and
- you are not entitled to acquire citizenship of that country because you are an Australian citizen.
Furthermore, applications for children under 16 years of age must be made by a responsible parent.
You must complete a paper application form (Form 128) and send it via post, along with your supporting documentation. All copies of documents must be certified as being a true copy of the original. Outlined below is a list of the required documentation:
- Form 128 – Application for renunciation of Australian citizenship
- Three identity documents, which together show your:
- Birth name, date of birth, and gender
- Current residential address (such as utility bills, rental agreement etc.)
- Evidence of any change of name
- Form 1195 – Identity declaration, signed by an Australian citizen with the correct authority
- A passport photograph signed by the same person who signs your Form 1195
If the Department is willing to approve your renunciation, you will be asked to send through your current Australian passport, and your Australian citizenship certificate if you have one.
Your status after renunciation
You will cease to be an Australian citizen on the day your application is approved. Your subsequent immigration status depends on whether you are in, or out of, Australia at this time.
If you are in Australia at the time your application is approved, you will automatically be deemed to hold an “ex-citizen visa.” This is a permanent visa which will allow you to continue to reside in Australia as a permanent resident.
The ex-citizen visa expires upon your departure from Australia. If you wish to be able to travel out of, and return to, Australia as a permanent resident, you can apply for a Resident Return Visa (RRV) which will give you a period of “travel facility”.
If you are outside of Australia at the time your application is approved, you will not be deemed to hold any Australian visa. You must obtain a visa before you can enter Australia.
Depending on the duration of your absence and your ties to Australia, you may be eligible for the grant of an RRV. This would allow you to enter Australia as a permanent resident.
Children of responsible parents who cease to be citizens
If you cease to be an Australian citizen due to renunciation and are the responsible parent of a child aged under 18, the Minister may also revoke your child’s citizenship. However, this is discretionary and usually does not happen unless you request it.
Exceptions apply if at the time your citizenship ceases, the child has another responsible parent who is an Australian citizen, or if such a parent is deceased. Revocation would also not happen if it would result in the child becoming stateless.
Becoming an Australian citizen again
After a renunciation, you retain options for restoring your Australian citizenship.
You can apply to “resume” your citizenship if your renunciation was for either of the following reasons:
- To acquire or retain the citizenship of another country; or
- To avoid suffering significant hardship or detriment.
You will need to satisfy the Department of your identity, character, and eligibility. You can apply at any time after the cessation of your Australian citizenship, whether you are inside or outside Australia.
Citizenship by conferral
To restore your Australian citizenship after renouncing it for any other purpose, you may apply for “citizenship by conferral.” Among other criteria, you must be living in Australia as a permanent resident when you apply. Conferral is the process through which citizens of other countries usually acquire Australian citizenship. However, there are some differences when applying as a former citizen:
- You are exempt from the usual 4-year residence requirement.
- Your application for citizenship by conferral cannot be approved within 12 months of the day on which you ceased to be an Australian citizen.
The procedure and requirements are otherwise identical to the regular process for acquiring citizenship by conferral.
How we can help?
Renouncing your Australian citizenship is a major decision, and it is important to consider the implications of doing so. Our staff are well placed to assist with all issues in relation to citizenship, including renunciation, resumption and conferral, as well as immigration matters such as obtaining an RRV or other visa.
Feel free to contact us by email at [email protected] or phone +61 3 9016 0484 if you would like advice or assistance with the renunciation process.