In recent times, it has become very common for Australian parents to have a child born overseas. While this may not sound like a big deal, it actually is.

That is because the parents need to take steps to make sure that everything is handled properly so that their child ends up an Australian citizen.

Typically, if the child is born on or after January 26 1949 to an Australian citizen, they can apply for Australian citizenship due to descent.

However, there is a catch. If one of the parents is also an Australian citizen by descent, they must have lived in Australia for at least two years. This does not have to be two consecutive years. Instead, the two years can total up from any point in their life.

Similar to this, if the child was born overseas before January 26 1949, they are still eligible for Australian citizenship as long as one of the parents became an Australian citizen before on or before that date as well.

For those that are Australian citizens but want to form an international surrogacy arrangement, they need to turn to Fact Sheet 36a International Surrogacy Arrangements. That is because that document will contain vital information on how to go about this.

Options For Australian Citizenship

  • Parents who are Australian citizens and have a child born overseas can apply for their child’s Australian citizenship by simply filling out Form 118, known as the “Application for Australian citizenship by descent”.
  • These individuals can apply for their child’s Australian citizenship through either a paper application form or online.

More options:

  • Unfortunately, if one of the parents had lost their Australian citizenship when the child is born, they cannot apply for Australian citizenship by descent. Not all hope is lost, though. Instead, they may be able to apply for Australian citizenship by means of being a child of a former citizen.
  • Those children adopted are also not eligible for Australian citizenship by descent. However, they may qualify for Australian citizenship by adoption.
  • For those individuals who are unclear on which option is best for their child, they can turn to the Citizenship Wizard. There, they can suggest which type of application is best for the specific situation.

Requirements for any applications that are lodged overseas

Before lodging an application, individuals should get in touch with their closest immigration office located outside Australia.

These individuals can also check that same immigration office’s website if it is more convenient to gather up some more information on the matter. This extra information is vital because:

  • The individual may have to set up an appointment where they will be required to show any original documents they own throughout the application process.
  • Some immigration offices only allow certain types of money to be used during any fee transactions that may occur during the application process.
  • Other immigration offices may require the individual to present original documents so that they can make verified copies that can be attached to the application instead.
  • Certain immigration offices may only allow individuals to present copies of original documents that are certified by an Australian citizen in the country that the individual is currently living in.
  • If the individual does not know any Australian citizens, some immigration offices will take copies of original documents that are certified by a citizen from the country the individual is currently living in.
  • Certain immigration offices may point the individual to a preferred third party for document certification instead of doing this process right there at their office.

Have one of your children been born overseas? What tips do you have to help others?

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  • A truly informative article, thank you.


  • This is interesting! Thank you for sharing this!


  • Thanks for this type of information. My daughter is overseas and might not be back in Australia until after the birth of the baby. At least we know what to do from now onwards.

    • glad to see that this is directly useful to someone


  • it s absolutly great to read these


  • it is really great to read


  • great topic


  • interesting article. thank you for sharing


  • Good to know even though this doesn’t apply to me.


  • Very informative. I’ve always wondered about this as a friend’s children were all born in different countries.


  • Great step by step, very useful!


  • My first was nearly born in London. I had a minor complication in pregnancy which resolved itself so the obstetrician could sign me off to fly at 34 weeks. Advise to plan ahead and keep all documentation.


  • useful article


  • My little one born here. Useful article to read. Thank you.


  • I’m glad I never had to worry about that.


  • thanks for a very useful article. My son was born here in Australia but his father is a European citizen.


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