When immigrants arrive in Australia they do not have the privileges of natural born subjects. They can however become naturalised to be invested with the rights of a citizen. Prior to 1949, Australians were British subjects. On 26 January 1949 the status of Australian citizen was created when the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948 came into force.
The two main types of citizenship records are naturalisation certificates and case files. Naturalisation case files, which include the application for citizenship, oath of allegiance and other correspondence, generally give more detail than the certificate.
Citizenship records provide much information about the migrant including date of arrival in Australia, ship (or flight) travelled on, town and country of birth, names of other family members, education, profession and address in Australia at the time of naturalisation.
What records on naturalisation do we have?
The National Archives holds citizenship records for all states from 1904, when the citizenship function was passed to the Australian Government. The Archives holds duplicate copies of certificates issued between 1904 and 1962.
For more information on naturalisation records see the following fact sheets:
- Naturalisation records held in Canberra
- Records relating to Italian migration held in Sydney
- Citizenship in Australia
- Records relating to Italian migration held in Perth
Sample naturalisation records
You can see a sample naturalisation record in our postwar migration records showcase.