Citizenship Information for Australian Intercountry Adoptees

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Information provided by the Australian Federal Central Authority for Intercountry Adoption, DSS’s Intercountry Adoption Australia in consultation with the Department of Home Affairs, provided to ICAV in Nov 2018.

Please read and share widely through the Australian intercountry adoption community.

DSS received confirmation from the Department of Home Affairs about the Australian citizenship pathway for intercountry adoptees both prior to 1984 and post 1984, as follows:

  • From 22 November 1984, children adopted in Australia under Australian law acquired Australian citizenship automatically by operation of law, provided at least one of their adoptive parents was an Australian citizen and they were residing permanently in Australia at the time of the adoption as the holder of a permanent visa.
  •  People who were adopted in Australia under Australian law prior to 22 November 1984, and whose adoptive parents did not complete an application for Australian citizenship on their behalf, need to apply for Australian citizenship as their adoptions occurred before the citizenship by adoption provisions came into effect.

DSS recommends that all intercountry adoptees apply for evidence of their Australian citizenship if they do not have a citizenship certificate. DSS recommends that people who were adopted in Australia under Australian law prior to 22 November 1984, and whose adoptive parents did not complete an application for Australian citizenship on their behalf, apply for Australian citizenship in accordance with the steps outlined here: Australian citizenship and passports for intercountry adoptees Nov 2018.

This clarification was requested by ICAV due to the media case earlier this month about an Australian intercountry adoptee being deported. There was one other media reported case in July.

Australian intercountry adoptees and adoptive families, please remember there is the free 1800 197 760 national hotline to call  or online contact the Intercountry Adoption Australia team for any problems renewing your passport or proving your citizenship. This hotline and website was created for intercountry adoptive families and intercountry adoptees.