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Understanding the Distinctions: Australian Permanent Residents vs. Australian Citizens

Australia, known for its diverse population and welcoming communities, offers two distinct immigration statuses: permanent residency and citizenship. While both provide individuals the opportunity to live, work, and study in the country, they come with varying rights, privileges, and responsibilities. In this article, we will explore the key differences between Australian permanent residents and citizens, as well as the privileges and responsibilities associated with Australian citizenship.

Australian permanent residency:

An Australian permanent resident holds a permanent visa but is not a citizen. Permanent residents enjoy the freedom to live, work, and study in Australia without restrictions, making a significant contribution to the nation’s cultural fabric. Despite sharing many rights and entitlements with citizens, there are noteworthy distinctions.

Rights and entitlements:


  1. Australian citizens have an automatic right of entry to Australia.
  2. Permanent residents must ensure they possess a valid travel authority on their permanent visa to return to Australia.


  1.  Citizens can vote in Australian government elections.
  2. Permanent residents generally cannot vote, except for those enrolled before 1984 as British subjects.

Government services and benefits:

Eligibility for government services and benefits for both citizens and permanent residents depends on the rules set by the relevant government agency.

Australian citizenship:

Becoming an Australian citizen is a significant step, symbolizing a commitment to the country and its values. Citizenship comes with both privileges and responsibilities, making it a crucial aspect of a person’s integration into the Australian community.

General eligibility criteria:

  1. To be eligible for Australian citizenship, individuals over 18 must.
  2. Pass a citizenship test (unless over 60).
  3. Be a permanent resident at the time of application.
  4. Satisfy the residence requirement.
  5. Be of good character.

Residence requirement:

  1. Adults becoming permanent residents after July 1, 2007, must have lawfully resided in Australia for four years before applying.
  2. This includes 12 months as a permanent resident and specific conditions for absences from Australia.

Citizenship test:

  1. The test assesses understanding of Australia’s values, traditions, history, and national symbols.
  2. Australian permanent residents are required to take the test as part of the citizenship application process.

Privileges of Australian Citizens:

  1. Live in Australia without restrictions.
  2. Apply for an Australian passport.
  3. Seek assistance from Australian diplomatic representatives abroad.
  4. Work in the public service.
  5. Serve in the armed forces.
  6. Register children born overseas as Australian citizens.
  7. Stand for Parliament and vote in elections.

Responsibilities of Australian citizens:

  1. Obey Australian laws.
  2. Defend Australia if required.
  3. Serve on a jury when called.
  4. Enroll on federal and state/territory electoral registers.
  5. Vote in elections.


Understanding the distinctions between Australian permanent residency and citizenship is vital for those navigating the country’s immigration landscape. While both statuses offer significant benefits, citizenship carries a deeper commitment to the nation’s values and responsibilities, shaping a person’s role in the Australian community.

Find out about your eligibility by reaching out to us:

Phone: +919382050505

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