Many people think they can never lose their Australian citizenship, but you can. Admittedly it takes an extreme action to loose or you can just give it up. How does this happen?

  • Renouncing your citizenship
  • By being a dual citizen or dual national and acting inconsistently with your allegiance to Australia
  • By being the child of responsible parents who cease to be citizens
  • The Minister revoking your citizenship
  • Engaging in certain terrorist or other related conduct
  • By fighting for, or being in the service of, a declared terrorist organisation overseas
  • By serving in the forces of a country at war with Australia
  • By being convicted for terrorism offences and related offences

If you cease to be an Australian citizen while in Australia you will immediately and automatically hold an ex-citizen visa. An ex-citizen visa is a permanent visa and allows its holder to remain in Australia, but does not allow its holder to travel outside of Australia. If you cease to be an Australian citizen while outside of Australia, you will have no visa.

There are circumstances under which an ex-citizen may resume their Australian citizenship.

Renunciation by application

A person may choose to renounce their citizenship. This happens by application and the Department of Home Affairs can approve or refuse your application. Some applicants renounce their Australian citizenship to avoid significant hardship or detriment, or because they want to retain or acquire another citizenship.

Should the application be approved, unlike in other circumstances in which one may have their Australian citizenship cessate, a person who renounces their citizenship will be given a sufficient amount of time to again another nationality or citizenship. A reasonable period is one that accounts for the ex citizen to complete all process required by the country in which they are acquiring their citizenship or nationality in.

Renunciation by conduct

Any person aged 14 years or older who is a national or a citizen of a country other than Australia and acts inconsistently with their allegiance to Australia is taken to have renounced their Australian citizenship. This is when they engage in specified conduct:

  • Engaging in international terrorist activities using explosive or lethal devices
  • Engaging in a terrorist act
  • Providing or receiving training connected with preparation for, engagement in, or assistance in a terrorist act
  • Directing the activities of a terrorist organisation
  • Recruiting for a terrorist organisation
  • Financing terrorism
  • Financing a terrorist and
  • Engaging in foreign incursions and recruitment

This affects those who have engaged in such activities outside of Australia or engaged in such conduct in Australia but has left Australia before they could be charged and brought to trial. If you were committing these acts whilst in Australia, you would more than lose your citizenship. You would be charged and penalised with imprisonment. We will not further cover information in regards to terrorist related activities and yes that right, at 14 years of age you will be treated like an adult.

Revocation of citizenship by the Minister

If a person has convicted of fraud or section 137.1 or 137.2 of the Criminal Act 1995 and the Minister believes that it would be contrary to the public interest of Australia for the person to remain an Australian citizen.

Fraud (False statements or representations):

  • The person makes, or causes or permits to be made, a representation or statement, and
  • The person does so knowing that the representation or statement is false or misleading in a material particular, and
  • The person does so for a purpose of or in relation to this Act


  • The person conceals, or causes or permits to be concealed, a material circumstance, and
  • The person does so for a purpose of or in relation to this Act

Yep, if you fib on your Citizenship application and they find out later it can be taken off you.

Children of responsible parents who cease to be citizens

The children of responsible parents whose citizenship has cessated due to their having voluntarily renounce it or through their citizenship having been revoked by the Minister will also lose their citizenship.

A responsible parent is:

  • The person is a responsible parent of the child except when, due to orders made under the Family Law Act 1975, the person no longer has any parental responsibility for the child
  • Under a parenting order the child is to live with the person (whether or not the person is a parent of the child)
  • Under a parenting order the person has parental responsibility for the child’s long-term or day-to-day care, welfare and development (whether or not the person is a parent of the child)
  • The person (whether or not a parent of the child) has guardianship or custody of the child, jointly or otherwise, under an Australian law or a foreign law, whether because of adoption, operation of law, an order of a court or otherwise

Resuming citizenship

Under certain circumstances a person may be able to resume their citizenship after it has cessated.

  • Must have previously held an Australian citizenship
  • Ceased to be an Australian citizenship
  • Are if good character if they are aged 18 years and above

The two situations in which this may happen include:

  • Children who have lost their citizenship because their parents voluntarily renounced their citizenship to avoid hardship and detriment
  • Those who have voluntarily renounced their citizenship to avoid hardship and detriment

There is no option for a person to resume their citizenship if their citizenship had cessated due to:

  • Renunciation by conduct
  • Service outside Australia in armed forces of an enemy country or a declared terrorist organisation
  • Conviction of terrorist and other offences

Are you in a tricky situation and been charged with terrorist related offences, please don’t come to us? However if you are in difficult situation and wish to try and reclaim your Australian citizenship, book a consultation to speak one of our highly experienced migration specialists. Call +61 2 8054 2537, 0434 890 199 or book online.