Recruitment Centre



Like a number of other countries, the Australian Government considers that it is appropriate for its Defence Force members to be Australian citizens as a demonstration of their commitment to, and long-term stake in, the future of Australia.

Only Australian citizens are permitted to serve in the ADF.

Proof of Australian citizenship

You will need to provide one of the following documents to prove your Australian citizenship:

  • a full Australian Birth Certificate. If you were born in Australia on or after 20 August 1986, you must also provide proof that one of your parents was an Australian citizen, or a permanent resident in Australia, at the time you were born;
  • an Australian Passport that had two years validity or more, and was issued after 20 August 1986, but was not cancelled;
  • an Australian Citizenship Certificate (including an extract from the register of citizenship by descent or extract from the register of Australian births abroad).

Eligibility of non-Australian citizens to join the ADF

If you do not meet the Citizenship criteria, and you are a Permanent Resident of Australia, the ADF may consider a temporary waiver of the citizenship requirements if the position for which you are applying cannot be filled by an applicant who meets all the citizenship requirements, and then only in exceptional circumstances. In addition to these considerations:

  • If you are a permanent resident who is eligible to apply for Australian citizenship you must provide a Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) receipt to prove that you have applied for Australian citizenship.
  • If you are a permanent resident who is ineligible to apply for Australian citizenship and you are approved for a temporary waiver you will be required to obtain Australian citizenship as early as possible following enlistment or appointment. You must be prepared to sign an undertaking to apply for citizenship after completing 3 months full-time service in the ADF or 6 months part-time service in the ADF Reserve.

If you are a permanent resident who enters the ADF (having been granted a temporary waiver) you must be aware that your service will be terminated if you:

  • fail to apply for citizenship when eligible to do so;
  • are not offered citizenship; or
  • fail to accept citizenship when it is offered.

Some positions also require high level security clearances involving extensive background checks, which may limit options for some Permanent Resident applicants.

Each individual case will be considered on its merits.

More information on citizenship requirements and the citizenship waiver process is available from your Defence Force Recruiting Centre.

If you are not an Australian permanent resident or an Australian citizen, but you have previous military experience, you will need to refer to the individual Navy, Army and Air Force information pages for your entry options. These can be found in the Overseas Applicants section.

If you are not an Australian permanent resident or an Australian citizen and you have no previous military experience, you are not eligible to apply to join the ADF.

New Zealand citizens in Australia

New Zealand citizens are only considered to be permanent residents for citizenship purposes if they:

  • Hold a permanent visa granted under the Migration Act.
  • Were in Australia on 26 February 2001 as holders of a Special Category Visa (SCV)
  • Were outside Australia on 26 February 2001 but were in Australia as the holder of a SCV for one or more periods totaling 12 months, in the 2 years prior to 26 February 2001.
  • Did not fall within the above two categories but have a Centrelink certificate, issued under the Social Security Act 1991, which states that the person was, for the purposes of social security, residing in Australia on a particular date.

Due to an Agreement between the two countries which came into effect in February 2001, New Zealand citizens who first arrived in Australia on or after 27 February 2001 on a SCV are not considered permanent residents and must apply for, and be granted, Australian permanent residence if they wish to obtain Australian citizenship.


Further information on citizenship and permanent residency

Further information relating to eligibility for Australian citizenship (including the New Zealand Special Category Visa) can be found at the Department of Immigration and Citizenship's citizenship website at, or by contacting the Citizenship Information Line on 131 880.

Further information on visas is available at the Department of Immigration and Citizenship's website, or by contacting the General Inquiry Line on 131 881.