Can a person lose their Australian citizenship?

by The FindLaw Team

There are a number of ways that an Australian citizen may lose their citizenship voluntarily. However, the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection (the Minister) can take away or revoke a person’s citizenship under limited circumstances.

How can a person lose their Australian citizenship?

Australian citizens may give up or renounce their citizenship under the following circumstances:

  • they are a citizen of another country; or
  • are entitled to become a citizen of another country.

Alternatively, a person may lose their citizenship if they had become a citizen of another country before 4 April 2002; or the person’s citizenship has been revoked; or a responsible parent or parents have ceased to be citizens when the person was still a minor, and the Minister has revoked their citizenship status.

A person may also give up their citizenship if they are a citizen of another country, or have become a citizen of another country when they have renounced their Australian citizenship.

Under what circumstances can an Australian citizenship be revoked?

The Minister can take away or revoke a person’s citizenship under the provisions found under the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 (Cth). However, the Minister cannot take away or revoke a person’s citizenship if they are an Australian by birth, or citizenship has been conferred, and the Minister is satisfied that it would not be against the public interest for a person to remain a citizen.

The Minister will revoke a person’s citizenship if they are satisfied that it would be against the public interest for the person to remain a citizen on some of the following grounds:

  • the person has been convicted of making a false statement or false representation or they have produced a false document in relation to their application to becoming an Australian citizen;
  • the person has been convicted of a serious criminal offence at any time prior to becoming a citizen which had resulted in a sentence of death or 12 months or more;
  • the person became an Australian citizen resulting from migration fraud;
  • the person became an Australian citizen resulting from third party fraud such as fraudulent conduct by a migration agent in the application for citizenship.

Under the provisions of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth), a person who has their citizenship status revoked while in a migration zone, will then become a holder of an ex-citizen visa. The person may remain in Australia unless the Minister makes the decision to cancel the ex-citizen visa on the basis that the person is not of good character. If the Minister deems the person is of not good character, their ex-citizen visa may be cancelled, and they will be removed from the country. Upon leaving Australia, the person can no longer enter the country on an ex-citizen visa.

A child under the age of 18 years may lose their citizenship status if their parent or guardian has had their citizenship revoked. However, the child will not lose their citizenship if another parent is an Australian citizen, or in circumstances where the child will be deemed to be stateless. 



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