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Citizenship by Descent
A child can be registered as an Australian citizen if one of their biological parents was an Australian citizen at the time of their birth. A child must be registered as an Australian citizen before they apply for an Australian passport.
The London office processes citizenship by descent applications for clients residing in the UK, Ireland and the following countries: Andorra, Ascension Island, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia Herzegovina, Canary Islands, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faeroe Islands, Falkland Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Saint Helena, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Vatican City.
This page contains information on the following:
- Application Charge
- Processing Times
- Application Checklist
- Certified Documents
- Translation of Documents
- Where to Send Applications
- Applying for a Passport
- Adopted Children of Australian Citizens
- Children of Australian Citizens by Descent
The current application for the first application and any siblings whose application is lodged at the same time can be found by the link below:
The average processing time is 14 days from when we receive a valid application to when we issue the certificate. However if the application is not submitted with the all the required documents there may be significant delays. Below are the most common reasons why an application is delayed:
- Not all the required identity documents were provided;
- Evidence of other citizenship the Australian parent holds was not provided;
- Translations were not provided or the translation was provided without the original/certified document;
- The application form was not signed or correct proof of signature not provided.
Applications that do not provide the required identity document or correct proof of identity may be returned as an invalid application.
Can my application be processed faster?
If compelling or compassionate reasons exist for the processing of the application to be expedited, please include a covering letter along with any supporting evidence. Please note that the following scenarios are generally not regarded as compelling or compassionate:
- If you have booked an appointment with the Passport Office;
- If you have booked travel;
- If you need to travel to Australia to commence employment.
For applications from Greece, please refer to the checklist below:
For applications from Italy, please refer to the additional information below:
Identification documents required
Before you make an application you must ensure you have all of the required documents. If all the documents are not sent with the application form, the application may be returned to you.
1. Identification document required for the child
Child’s full length birth certificate:
- The birth certificate must state the names of both parents.
- The Australian parent must be stated on the birth certificate.
- ‘Certificate extracts’, ‘baptismal certificates’, ‘family register’, ‘municipal certificates’ or any other types of birth certificate are not acceptable.
The name on the birth certificate will be printed on the citizenship certificate, unless a subsequent change of name document is provided.
2. Identification document required for the Australian parent of the child
The Australian parent’s:
- Australian birth certificate issued before 20 August 1986, or
- Australian passport issued after 1 July 2005, or
- Australian citizenship certificate or naturalisation certificate
The Australian parent’s identification must match their name on the child’s birth certificate.
- If the parent has changed their name since the child was born they must provide evidence ofthe name change, for example a marriage certificate or change of name by deed poll. Please note that for Australian marriage certificates, we only accept certificates issued by the Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages
- If the parent has the same name but it is written slightly differently they must provide a signed statement explaining why the names do not match.
3. Proof of signature of the person signing the form
If the child is under 16 years of age their parent will sign the declaration in Part I of the application form. Children over 16 years of age sign the form themselves. The following may be provided as proof of signature.
- A passport
- Driver's Licence
- ID Card
4. Evidence of current residential address
Evidence of the child’s or responsible parent’s address must be provided (it must match the address stated on the application form). Examples of acceptable documents are:
- Utility bill (gas, electricity, water)
- Residential lease or rental agreement
- Council or municipal rates notice
- Bank statement
5. Evidence of other citizenships held by the Australian parent
If the Australian parent holds or has held citizenship of any other country they must provide evidence of how and on what date they acquired that citizenship. A foreign passport is not acceptable as it does not state how on what date they acquired that citizenship, please provide either:
- Naturalisation certificate
- Full birth certificate that states the names of both parents (if citizenship acquired by birth)
Note: Australian parents who hold Bosnian citizenship should provide either an “rješenje” document from the Ministry of Justice and the Municipal Court or an “uvjerenje” document from the Ministry of Interior and Municipal Court.
Australian parents who hold Croatian citizenship should provide either an "rješenje" from the Ministry of the Interior or an "uvjerenje" document from the Registrar's office. These documents must state the date and exact article of the Citizenship Law under which citizenship has been acquired.
Send original documents or certified copies
Original documents are not required. Copies that have been ‘certified’ are acceptable. You must provide a photocopy of identity documents along with either the certified copy or the original document. Original documents will be returned via registered post once the application has been finalised.
How to get documents certified
A ‘certified’ copy is a photocopy of an original document that has been certified to state that the copy is a true copy of the original. The certifier must see the original document and then annotate the copy to state "I certify this to be a true copy of the original". Under the annotation they must add their signature, name, profession and the date.
Documents can be certified by the same person endorsing the passport photograph or by another person who belongs to the list of 38 occupations detailed on page 5 of your application form. Please note that in some countries local laws only allow certain professions to certify documents and they may not allow people on the list of 38 occupations to do it.
Translating documents into English
All documents that are not written in English must be translated into English by an accredited translator (this includes all identity documents and proof of address). Multilingual documents that include English do not need to be translated. You must provide:
(a) the translation of the original document and a photocopy of this document; and
(b) either the original document or a certified copy of the original document.
Where to send the application
We recommend all passports and valuable documents are sent to us by registered mail to ensure the mail can be tracked. Please post the application to:
Australian High Commission
Application Form 118
Complete the current version of Form 118. This can be downloaded from our website through the link below.
Form 118: www.immi.gov.au/allforms/pdf/118.pdf
An endorsed photograph of the child must be stapled to the top right hand corner of the application form to avoid it becoming lost. The photo must be endorsed on the back by a person who knows the child and who belongs to one of the 38 professions detailed on page 5 of your application form. This person must either be an Australian citizen or a citizen of the country where you reside. They must also complete Part D - Identity Declaration on the application form.
Part A – Your details
This is where the child’s details are entered. Please also note the following:
- The place of birth stated in question 6 should be the same as the birth certificate. Where there are discrepancies, the place of birth listed on the birth certificate will be printed on the citizenship certificate.
- The residential address in question 7 must be the same as proof of address document submitted.
- Provide us with an email address, this enables us to communicate with you quickly.
- For question 13 if you no longer have the visa label number write ‘unknown’.
Part B – Your parents
The details of the Australian parent are entered in question 14. The details of the other parent are entered in question 15. Details of both parents must be provided.
Part C – Proof of identity
This is where the identity documents for the child are listed.
Part D – Identity declaration
The person who has endorsed the child’s photograph must complete this section of the application form.
Part E – Good character
This section does not need to be completed for children under 18. For those applying for citizenship who are aged 18 or above a police certificate must be provided for each country they have resided in for more than 12 months since reaching the age of 18 (this includes Australia) and complete Form 80. Further information can be found below.
Part F – Supporting documents
This is where the identity documents for the Australian parent are listed.
Part G – Nomination of representative
Only complete this section if you would like us to contact your representative in regard to the application.
Part H – Payment details
Please click on this link to see further information on current charges.
Part I – Declaration
If a child is 16 years or older they need to sign the form. The responsible parent should sign on behalf of children under 16.
Applying for a Passport
Once citizenship has been granted you may wish to apply for an Australian passport. Passports are issued by the Australian passport office (not the Department of Immigration and Border Protection). Australian Passport offices are also located in Australian Embassies and Consulates. You should contact your nearest Australian Embassy or Consulate for further information in regard to passport applications.
Clients in the UK see: Consular and Passport Office in London - www.uk.embassy.gov.au/lhlh/Passports.html
Please note that the Passport Office in London does not accept applications for clients resident outside the UK. If you are outside the UK, please see: www.dfat.gov.au/missions/index.html
Can we send the citizenship certificate to the Passport Office?
Once an application for citizenship by descent has been finalised, we send the certificate by registered mail to the postal address listed on Form 118. We do not send the citizenship certificate directly to the Passport Office to facilitate the issuing of an Australian Passport.
Adopted Children of Australian Citizens
What if my child was adopted?
A requirement for Citizenship by Descent is that a person has an Australian citizen parent at the time of their birth. Children who are adopted outside Australia under other adoption arrangements, as well as privately arranged adoptions that take place in Hague Convention countries, are not eligible to be registered as an Australian citizen by full Hague adoption.
Such children may be eligible to apply for an Australian permanent residency visa such as an Adoption visa (subclass 102) or be included as a dependent child on a partner migration application (subclass 100 or 300). Once a permanent residency visa is successfully granted and activated, the child may be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship by conferral, using Form 1290.
Further information regarding Australian visas can be sourced from the department’s Australian website at http://www.immi.gov.au
What if my child has been adopted under the Hague Convention?
The Hague Adoption provisions were introduced into the Act on 1 July 2007. It provides an equivalent pathway to citizenship for children adopted under full Hague Convention adoption arrangements as is available for children born overseas to Australian citizen parent/s under the descent provisions.
A Hague Convention adoption is one that has been arranged under one of Australia's Intercountry adoption programs by the relevant Australian State or Territory adoption authority with the adoption authority of the other Hague Convention country.The adoption is highly specific and there are many rules and conditions that have to be met for the adoption to be a full Hague adoption. In a full Hague adoption all legal ties with the birth parents have been severed, and the parents do not need to seek further recognition of the adoption in Australia. The child is eligible to be registered as an Australian citizen without first going through the migration process.
To be eligible to apply for citizenship using Form 1272, a valid Adoption Compliance Certificate (ACC) must be issued by the Adoption Central Authorities in the country in which the child was adopted. The ACC must be in accordance with Article 23 of the Hague Convention.
Further information on how to apply for Australian Citizenship for your child if they were adopted by an Australian citizen in accordance with the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption can be found at the department’s Citizenship website at: http://www.citizenship.gov.au/applying/how_to_apply/
Children of Australian citizens by descent
Please note if your parent became an Australian citizen by descent, he or she must have been present in Australia for periods totalling two years at some time in their life in order for the child to now be registered as an Australian citizen by descent.