Lawful Residence Date for Australian Citizenship

When does the Lawful Residence Date for Australian Citizenship begin?.

Migrants to Australia can generally apply for Australian Citizenship after being lawfully resident in Australia for FOUR years.

There is confusion on this date, with many people thinking it is the date from their first Residency Visa, example: the 309 or 820 temporary partner visa etc.

However, many also think it that it also includes any Visitor visas etc.

    • Lawful residence means living in Australia on a valid Australian temporary or permanent visa. Visitor Visas come under that classification.

One major requirement is that the Citizenship Applicant must have been living in Australia on a valid Australian visa for the four years immediately before applying.

Other requirements are:

    • You MUST have been a permanent resident for at least the last 12 months, before applying.
    • You MUST NOT have been absent from Australia for more than one year in total, in the last 4 years.
    • You MUST NOT have been absent from Australia for more than 90 days in the year immediately before applying.

Lawful Residence Date for Australian Citizenship.

The Citizenship departments residence calculator helps you count the number of days you have lived in Australia.

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However, note the “Lawful Residence date”.

This is the date of your first valid visa for Australia that counts as part of the last 4 years on valid visas in Australia, prior to the Citizenship Application date.

At the time you apply for Citizenship you must have been living in Australia on a valid visa for the past 4 years.

The Living in Australia definition allows for trips overseas to be still counted as residence in Australia, assuming you had a valid visa during those trips.

Any period in those four years, without a valid visa, would reset your Lawful Residence Date to the new entry date.


Updated Sept 2020 for clarification, following a question related to Bridging Visas.

What is a Valid Visa for Citizenship?

Most of the information that the department talks about is a “valid visa”.  But the wording should be “a Substantive visa”.
That gives rise to the question:

What does a “Substantive visa” mean?

A substantive visa is any visa that allows the visa holder to remain temporarily in Australia other than:

  • a bridging visa
  • a criminal justice or enforcement visa

This means that a Bridging Visa is NOT normally an eligible visa for calculating Residence for Australian Citizenship.

I used the word normally just in case there are any exclusions.

Update 27 April 2021

Another page on the immigration website seems to give conflicting information with other pages.

Lawful Residence date

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The information we give is based on personal experiences, reading and formulation of available statistics.
Some Visa Applicants might find an Experienced Australian Migration Agent of great assistance. - ai16

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