Congratulations to young Ms. Vrunda Patel (pictured right), who last week became one of Australia’s newest Australian Citizens. She was born in Australia whilst her parents were studying here and although spent a large amount of time outside of Australia before the age of 5, was still able to gain her Citizenship.

You may remember our article last year discussing how children born in Australia can gain their Citizenship after their 10th birthday, amongst other requirements. The article generated a great deal of interest amongst international students who have been in Australia for many years already and have children who were born here. It soon became apparent from speaking to a few parents that the department was regularly refusing citizenship applications in cases where the child had spent some time overseas with other family members (mostly grandparents) before the age of 5 years old. Even though these children returned to Australia to undertake all their education here the immigration department was refusing applications saying the children were not considered “ordinarily resident” because of the time they spent outside of Australia before they started school.

In our opinion the department has been in the past unfairly refusing applications with similar circumstances. In Vrunda’s application our office pointed out to the immigration department that in 2016 Justice Gleeson of the Federal Court made a decision that period of absences of the child from Australia does not mean they are not “ordinarily resident” as long as the intention was that the child was going to return to Australia.

Of course all individual applications have various circumstances but in general, if your child (obviously born in Australia) held a student dependent visa (or some other temporary residency visa) and you took them home to live with other family members whilst you managed your studies here, and then brought them back to Australia to commence their schooling here, then there is a good chance the Citizenship application will be granted.

The Patel family (below) were of course very happy at the news of the grant and now the next stage will be how they can all gain permanent residency through Vrunda being a Citizen.

If any readers out there have children born in Australia and would like to know if their children may obtain Citizenship once they turn 10 years old, please give us a call.