Law and policy

This page provides information on law and policy relating to Australian citizenship.

Australian citizenship legislation

The Australian Citizenship Act 2007 (the Act) is the legal basis for all citizenship provisions. It commenced on 1 July 2007.

The Australian Citizenship Regulation 2016 (the Regulation) is subordinate legislation that sets out detailed requirements for some matters as provided for by the Act.

The Act and Regulation are not published on our website. These can be accessed from the ComLaw website.

How Australia is defined for citizenship

The Australian Citizenship Act 2007 defines the territory of Australia as including the six states and:

  • the internal territories of:
    • Northern Territory
    • Australian Capital Territory
    • the Jervis Bay Territory
  • the external territories of:
    • Norfolk Island
    • Cocos (Keeling) Islands
    • Christmas Island
    • the Australian Antarctic Territory
    • Ashmore and Cartier Islands
    • the Coral Sea Islands
    • Heard and McDonald Islands.

If the applicant for citizenship has spent time as a permanent resident in the Australian Antarctic Territory, Ashmore and Cartier Islands, the Coral Sea Islands, and Heard and McDonald Islands, they must provide evidence of the time spent in those territories, such as a letter from their employer.

Citizenship Policy

The Citizenship Policy document (1.99MB PDF) contains policy guidance about the Australian Citizenship Act 2007.

If you need an alternative accessible format of the Citizenship Policy document, email

The Citizenship Policy document is also available to subscribers of LEGENDcom, our online database of migration and citizenship legislation and policy documents.

Proposed changes to Australian citizenship legislation

In April 2017, the Australian Government announced its plans for strengthening the integrity of Australian citizenship. The Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2017 (the Bill) was introduced into Parliament in June 2017. The Bill is not currently before the Parliament. Continue to check our website where information regarding any changes to Australian citizenship will be available.

Citizenship applications continue to be processed under the current legislation, see Citizenship pathways and processes.