Records Authority 2012/00542174

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship

Citizenship Management

December 2012

This is an accurate reproduction of the authorised records authority content, created for accessibility purposes


The Department of Immigration and Citizenship and the National Archives of Australia have developed this Records Authority to set out the requirements for keeping or destroying records for the core business area of Citizenship Management. It represents a significant commitment on behalf of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to understand, create and manage the records of its activities.

This Authority is based on the identification and analysis of the business of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. It takes into account the agency's legal and organisational records management requirements, and the interests of stakeholders, the agency and the National Archives of Australia.

The Authority sets out those records that need to be retained as national archives and specifies the minimum length of time that temporary records need to be kept. This Authority gives the Department of Immigration and Citizenship permission under the Archives Act 1983, for the destruction of the temporary records described after the minimum retention period has expired. Retention periods for these temporary records are based on: an assessment of business needs; broader organisational accountability requirements; and community expectations, and are approved by the National Archives of Australia on the basis of information provided by the agency.

As changes in circumstances may affect future records management requirements, the periodic review of this Authority is recommended. All amendments must be approved by the National Archives.

Application of this Authority

  1. This Authority partially supersedes Records Authorities RDA 902 and RDA 1032 that were both issued to the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs in September 1991:   
    • This Authority supersedes classes 7.1 to 7.5 inclusive and 17.1 to 17.8 inclusive in RDA 902 and classes 3.1 to 3.3 inclusive in RDA 1032.  These superseded classes cannot be used after the date of issue of this Authority.
    • This Authority replaces coverage for citizenship management policy, procedure and precedent forming matters under classes 1.1 and 1.2 of RDA 902.  These classes cannot be used for citizenship management policy, procedure and precedent forming matters after the date of issue of this Authority.
  2. This Authority is to be used to determine how long records must be kept. Records are matched to the relevant core business and records class in the Authority.
    • Where the minimum retention period has expired and the records are not needed for agency business they should be destroyed as authorised in this Authority.
    • Records that have not reached the minimum retention period must be kept until they do.
    • Records that are identified as Retain as National Archives (RNA) are to be transferred to the National Archives of Australia for preservation.
  3. This Authority should be used in conjunction with general records authorities such as:
    • the Administrative Functions Disposal Authority (AFDA)  and/or AFDA Express issued by the National Archives to cover business processes and records common to Australian Government agencies;
    • General Records Authority (31) for source (including original) records that have been copied, converted or migrated.
  4. The Normal Administrative Practice (NAP) provision of the Archives Act 1983 gives agencies permission to destroy certain records without formal authorisation.  This usually occurs where records are duplicated, facilitative or for short-term use only.  NAP does not replace arrangements agreed to in this Authority but can be used as a tool to assist in identifying records for destruction together with an agency's Records Authority or Authorities, and with AFDA and AFDA Express.  The National Archives recommends that agencies develop and implement a Normal Administrative Practice policy.  Advice and guidance on destroying records as a normal administrative practice and on how to develop an agency NAP policy is available from the National Archives' website at
  5. Records that are reasonably likely to be needed as evidence in a current or future judicial proceeding or are subject to a request for access under the Archives Act 1983, the Freedom of Information Act 1982 or any other relevant Act must not be destroyed until the action has been completed.
  6. Records subject to a disposal freeze must not be destroyed until the freeze has been lifted. Further information about disposal freezes and whether they affect the application of this Authority is available from the National Archives website at
  7. Where the method of recording information changes (for example from a manual system to an electronic system, or when information is migrated from one system to a new system) this authority can still be applied, providing the records document the same core business. The information must be accessible for the period of time prescribed in this Authority. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship will need to maintain continuing access to the information, including digital information, for the periods prescribed in this records authority or until the information is transferred into the custody of the National Archives.
  8. In general, retention requirements indicate a minimum period for retention. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship may extend minimum retention periods if it considers that there is an administrative need to do so, without further reference to the National Archives. Where the Department of Immigration and Citizenship believes that its accountability will be substantially compromised because a retention period or periods are not adequate, it should contact the National Archives for review of the retention period.
  9. Records coming within ‘Retain as national archives' classes in this Authority have been determined to be part of the archival resources of the Commonwealth under section 3C of the Archives Act 1983. The determination of Commonwealth records as archival resources of the Commonwealth obliges agencies to transfer the records to the National Archives when they cease to be current and, in any event, within 15 years of the records coming into existence, under section 27 of the Archives Act 1983.
  10. Records in the care of agencies should be appropriately stored, managed and preserved.  Agencies need to meet this obligation to ensure that the records remain authentic and accessible over time.  Under Section 31 of the Archives Act 1983, access arrangements are required for records that become available for public access including those records that remain in agency custody.
  11. Appropriate arrangements should be made with the National Archives when records are to be transferred into custody. The National Archives accepts for transfer only those records designated as national archives.
  12. Advice on how to use this Authority is available from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship records manager. If there are problems with the application of the Authority that cannot be resolved, please contact the National Archives.

Contact information

For assistance with this authority or for advice on other recordkeeping matters, please contact National Archives' Agency Service Centre.

Queen Victoria Terrace
Parkes ACT 2600

PO Box 7425
Canberra Mail Centre ACT 2610



Person to whom notice of authorisation is given:

Mr Martin Bowles PSM
Acting Secretary
Department of Immigration and Citizenship
PO Box 25
Belconnen ACT 2616


Authorises arrangements for the disposal of records in accordance with Section 24(2)(b) of the Archives Act 1983

Determines records classed as 'Retain as national archives' in this Records Authority to be part of the archival resources of the Commonwealth under section 3C of the Archives Act 1983.


All core business records relating to Citizenship Management.

This authority gives permission for the destruction, retention or transfer to the National Archives of Australia of the records described. This authority will apply only with the consent of the agency currently responsible for the business documented in the records described.

Authorising Officer:

David Fricker
National Archives of Australia

19 December 2012


Citizenship Management

The core business of managing Australian citizenship, formerly known as naturalisation, in compliance with government legislation and policy.  Includes citizenship acquisition by descent, overseas adoption and by the granting or conferral of citizenship after meeting set requirements. Includes individual requests for renunciation of citizenship and also resumption of citizenship. Also includes citizenship revocation, formerly known as deprivation. Includes promotion of citizenship.

Citizenship management includes the following activities specific to the core business:

  • processing, assessing and decision-making on applications to acquire, cease or resume citizenship;
  • processing, assessing and decision-making on citizenship revocations;
  • designing, conducting and assessing citizenship requirements such as citizenship tests;
  • reviewing and making findings on citizenship status;
  • processing, assessing and decision-making on requests for evidence of citizenship;
  • issuing of citizenship certificates and evidence of citizenship certificates;
  • replacing lost citizenship certificates and destroying unissued certificates;
  • managing appeals against citizenship decisions;
  • managing citizen and non-citizen complaints;
  • monitoring and enforcing of citizenship law including managing investigations into illegal citizenship practices and breaches of legislation;
  • promoting Australian citizenship including designing, updating and distributing public information, promotional products and citizenship forms and applications; and
  • managing Citizenship Day celebrations and citizenship ceremonies.

Citizenship management includes the following activities directly supporting the core business:

  • preparing and presenting addresses;
  • providing and receiving advice;
  • establishing, maintaining and reviewing agreements;
  • making arrangements;
  • auditing;
  • managing committees and meetings;
  • managing agency conferences and attending external conferences;
  • delegating powers and authorising actions;
  • handling enquiries;
  • evaluating and reviewing core business activities;
  • liaising with government, professional, private and community groups including managing staff representation on community organisations;
  • planning;
  • developing policies and procedures;
  • researching, reviewing and reporting;
  • managing risks;
  • implementing standards; and
  • training industry, contractors and government.

For managing the preparation and passage of citizenship legislation through parliament, use AFDA/AFDA EXPRESS - GOVERNMENT RELATIONS.

For managing the development of proposals for new legislation and amendments to existing legislation, use AFDA/AFDA EXPRESS - STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT.

For managing tendering and contracting-out arrangements to support citizenship management, use AFDA/AFDA EXPRESS – PROCUREMENT.

For managing financial transactions such as accepting or refunding application fees, use AFDA/AFDA EXPRESS – FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT.

For staff training in citizenship management activities, use AFDA/AFDA EXPRESS – STAFF DEVELOPMENT.

For developing and publishing material to support citizenship management, use AFDA/AFDA EXPRESS – PUBLICATION.

For developing and maintaining citizenship management business systems, use AFDA/AFDA EXPRESS – TECHNOLOGY & TELECOMMUNICATIONS.

Class no Description of records Disposal action

Records which guide and direct the overall management and influence the direction of citizenship management:

  • addresses by portfolio Minister or agency head;
    [For addresses by agency staff use class 61258]
  • advice to or from the Minister, international organisations, government and non-government organisations;
  • internal advice that is precedent setting such as leads to a change of legislation, policy or procedures;
    [For other internal advice use class 61258]
  • committees with inter-government (State/Territory and overseas) and/or inter-agency representatives where the agency provides the Secretariat, is the Commonwealth’s main representative or plays a significant role;
  • internal committees with high level internal representatives such as those chaired by agency executives;
  • policies including supporting records such as proposals, research papers, results of consultations and major drafts;
    [For minor drafts and minor working papers of policies, and for minor  internal policies use class 61258]
  • master sets of procedures, manuals, handbooks and directives  that document the processes involved with the assessment of citizenship applications and cases including investigations; [For the development of master sets, use class 61235;
    For other procedures use class 61258]
  • evaluations, reviews and reports including documentation that provides context or support such as major drafts and summaries of consultation. Includes reviews of known controversial issues such as the Australian citizenship test.
    [For  documentation not required for context or support, and for minor and routine internal evaluations and reports use class 61258]

Records documenting Australian citizenship assessments, registration and certification that have enduring value:

  • applications and associated assessments, findings and decisions  for acquisition, renunciation, cessation or resumption of citizenship;
  • assessments and decisions about the loss of citizenship including revocations and cancellations;
  • appeals and complaints where a precedent is set such as lead to a change of legislation, policy or procedures;
    [For all other appeals and complaints use class 61258]
  • indexes of people who have been granted or lost citizenship;
  • registers for all citizenship processes including citizenship registers, citizenship certificate allocation register and registers of births overseas. Includes data sets or equivalent from digital registers;
  • citizenship certificate design processes including major changes and security features;
  • legacy naturalisation certificates 1904-1962;
  • legacy colonial naturalisation records.

Records of citizenship promotions and ceremonies that have enduring value :

  • final versions  of promotional material and any other official information for public distribution;
    [For records documenting the outcomes of promotional activities and citizenship promotions such as programs and requirements, use class 61233]
  • unique and important citizenship ceremonies (eg first ceremony in a locality, and ceremonies attended by the portfolio minister or higher representation);
    [For records of other citizenship ceremonies and of Citizenship Day  celebrations including their development and management, use class 61233;
    For administrative arrangements to support celebrations and ceremonies, use class 61236]
  • legacy 20th century records of national promotional initiatives such as the Australian Citizenship Convention and the Good Neighbour Movement.
Retain as National Archives

Records documenting:

  • the development and management of citizenship promotions, ceremonies and Citizenship Day celebrations including ceremonial records;
    [For ceremonial records of unique and important citizenship ceremonies, use class 61232;
    For administrative arrangements to support celebrations and ceremonies, use class 61236]
  • formal investigations into breaches of citizenship legislation;
  • arrangements for the creation and distribution of blank citizenship certificates;
  • arrangements for the creation, printing, distribution and destruction of completed citizenship certificates.
Destroy 100 years after action completed
61234 Formal investigations into breaches of citizenship legislation by an individual. Destroy 100 years after date of birth

Records documenting:

  • authorisations and delegations of power to agency staff to take administrative actions;
  • development of agency procedures for the processes involved with the assessment of citizenship applications and cases including investigations;
    [For master set of procedures, manuals, handbooks, directives, use class 61232;
    For other procedures use class 61258]
  • monitoring and enforcement of citizenship law including initial investigation of apparent breaches.
    [For formal investigations use class 61233 and for formal investigations involving an individual use class 61234]
Destroy 20 years after action completed

Short term temporary records documenting non-financial and non-contractual arrangements for:

  • travel and accommodation;
  • the delivery of goods and equipment; and
  • catering, venue hire, and entertainment for ceremonies and celebrations.
Destroy 2 years after action completed

Records documenting citizenship management core business and support activities, other than those covered in classes 61232 to 61236 and including the following:

  • deferred, withdrawn or lapsed applications for conferral of citizenship;
  • routine operational tasks supporting the core business.
Destroy 10 years after action completed
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