Do children born to migrants automatically get Australian citizenship?

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It is often assumed that children born in a foreign country are recognised as citizens. Not so fast though! This is not always the case and it’s certainly not the case in Australia.

Whether or not your children automatically gain Australian citizenship is dependent on the type of visa or status you hold at the time of their birth.

Children born in Australia where at least one parent is a citizen or permanent resident

If you or your partner is an Australian citizen or permanent resident when your child is born, your child automatically gets Australian citizenship. Once your child’s birth certificate is issued, you can apply for their passport.

Children born in Australia where both parents are permanent residents

Australian legislation states that if you are both permanent residents, your child will get citizenship. This means your child get their citizenship status as well as an Australian passport.

Children born overseas to permanent residents

Children born outside of Australia to permanent residents, whether it’s one or both parents, don’t automatically qualify for Australian citizenship. These children also do not qualify for citizenship by descent.

Instead, you’ll have to apply for a permanent visa for your child. Once your child receives their visa, they are free to enter and live in Australia.

The visa in question will likely be the Child Visa (subclass 101), as most children born outside Australia to permanent resident parents have to apply for this visa. At the moment, 90% of these visas take up to 19 months to process.

Children born in Australia to parents on visas

If both you and your partner are in Australia on a visa then legally your child will hold the same type of visa. While you don’t have to apply for your child’s visa, you must inform the Department of Home Affairs of your child’s birth so that a visa can be attached to your child’s passport.

Neglecting to notify the Department of your child’s arrival can lead to complications. Specifically if you travel with your child outside of Australia without a visa. The golden rule? Get in touch with the Department as soon as possible after your child’s birth!

When it comes to getting permanent residency, your child will receive this status at the same time as you do. It is also important to note that children born in Australia who hold temporary visas and live in Australia for 10 consecutive years, are eligible to apply for Australian citizenship.

Get in touch if you need professional assistance with a child visa application

Should you find yourself in a position where you have to apply for a visa for your child, please do not hesitate to contact us. You can get in touch online or call us on either +27 (0) 11 234 4275 or +27 (0) 21 202 8200.

Our immigration agents can explain all the visa requirements, do an assessment, and help you put together your application from start to finish. We’re there for you every step of the way.

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