March 24, 2021

Australian Permanent Residency VS Australian Citizenship: Need to Know

australian residency visa

While an Australian residency visa or Australian citizenship may sound like one and the same thing, there are stark differences between the two. 

What is meant by Australian Citizenship?

Australian citizenship grants you the freedom to say ‘I am Australian’. You get an Australian passport and you can make Australia your home, partaking in all their civic activities.

There are 4 ways of becoming a citizen in Australia:

  • The Citizenship by birth
  • Citizenship by descent
  • Citizenship by adoption under a law in force in a State or Territory
  • The Citizenship by conferral.

What is meant by an Australian Permanent Residency Visa?

As a migrant, permanent residency grants you the ability to live, study or work, and enrol for Medicare in Australia with no restrictions. Since you are not a citizen of the country, there are differences in the activities of the country you may participate in.  You need a current visa of your home country that allows you to live in Australia permanently. 

Some key permanent residency visas include 

  • Skilled Independent visa (Subclass 189), 
  • Skilled Nominated Visa (Subclass 190), 
  • Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186), and 
  • Business Innovation and Investment Permanent visa (Subclass 888).

What are the differences between Australian Citizenship and Australian Residency?

Here are the key differences between the two:

Rights and PrivilegesPermanent ResidencyCitizenship
Right to vote and run for electionsNoYes
Right to government jobsNoYes
Support from ConsulateNoYes
Student LoanYou can pay a domestic school fee but you cannot apply for HECS- HELP loan.Yes
TravelOnly up to 5 years of travel facility. The travel facility needs to be renewed with a valid travel authority after five years to enter into Australia with a PR.Automatic right to entry into Australia any number of times.
PassportHome country PassportAustralian Passport
DeportationCan be deportedCannot be deported
Government benefitsDepends on the rules of the governmentYes
New Zealand Residency (on arrival)YesYes
Children’s citizenship eligibilityYesYes

What is the eligibility requirement to apply for Australian Citizenship?

The applicant must qualify according to the following criteria:

  • Should be over the age of 18
  • Have passed the Australian citizenship test with a score above 60
  • Should be a permanent resident at the time of application and at the time of approval of the application
  • Must satisfy the residency requirements, which are:
  • Must be lawfully residing in India for four years after 1st July 2007
  • Should have been a permanent resident for 12 months
  • Should not have been away from Australia for more than 3 months in the above 12-month period
  • Total time away from Australia should not be more than 12 months 
  • Should be likely to reside or reside in Australia or maintain a close connection with Australia
  • Should uphold good character

What is the Citizenship Test?

Applicants (between 18-60) need to pass a general citizenship test before applying for Australian Citizenship. Applicant below the age of 18 and above 60, or those who are suffering from a substantial impairment of hearing, sight or speech are exempted from the citizenship test. The citizenship test is designed for the future citizens of Australia to gain a deep understanding of Australia’s values, history, national symbols, and traditions.

To be eligible to sit for the test, the applicant should:

  • Be a permanent resident of Australia
  • Satisfy the department of home affair of your identity
  • Allow the officials to take your photograph or provide one for yourself.

What is the eligibility for Australian Permanent Residency?

  • Age: Below 45 years
  • Points: Secure at least 65 points
  • English Language Test: Should have an optimum score in the English language test
  • Profession: Your occupation should be in the MTSSL list
  • Skills: Get your skills and education assessment
  • Character: Show proof of good character and health

What are the stages of the application for Permanent Residency in Australia?

  • Skill Assessment: A designated body will assess your skills according to the documents you provide. The department will take 45-60 days in this process.
  • Expression of Interest: Your interest is proven through Skill Select. Your eligibility score is decided at this stage. If you have a higher score, you will get a quicker ITA (invitation to apply).
  • Visa Application: Once you have an ITA, you are required to submit a visa application to DIBP – The Department of Immigration and border Protection. You are required to state any depends at this time. 
  • Verification and Medical Examination: Once you have applied for visa, you are required to apply for verification and medical for a quicker approval.
  • Visa Approval: The DIBP should verify and approve your application within 3 to 5 months.
  • Arrival: Once you get your visa approval, you must migrate to the country within 6 months.

You can get more information on the Department of Home Affairs website.

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