Applying for evidence of citizenship on behalf of a child

Follow this procedure when applying for evidence of citizenship on behalf of a child in out-of-home care for whom the Secretary has parental responsibility.

Document ID number 1123, version 1, 6 May 2017.

Introduction

A person is required to provide evidence of Australian citizenship to apply for a passport to travel overseas as an Australian citizen, and to obtain a Medicare card or access the National Disability Insurance Scheme (noting permanent residents are also eligible for Medicare and the NDIS).  

A person becomes an Australian citizen automatically if they are born in Australia and one or both of their parents are Australian citizens or permanent residents when they are born. Evidence of Australian citizenship can be demonstrated through presentation of:

  • either parent’s full birth certificate (where the parent was born before 20 August 1986)
  • either parent’s Australian passport (valid for at least two years at the time of the child’s birth)
  • an Australian Citizenship Certificate issued to either parent (before the child’s birth) or to the child.

Where none of the documents listed above are available, child protection should make an application to the Commonwealth Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) to obtain evidence of citizenship on behalf of the child.

Under section 6(1) of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007, child protection are able to apply for evidence of Australian citizenship on behalf of a child under the age of 16 for whom the Secretary of Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has parental responsibility.

If you are applying for evidence of citizenship as part of a passport application on behalf of a child see Passports - procedure for tasks that must be completed, and Passport – advice for additional information. If the passport application is for an Aboriginal child, evidence of citizenship may be demonstrated in other ways. Contact the Australian Passports Office for advice.

Procedure

Case practitioner tasks

Child protection should only apply for evidence of Australian citizenship on behalf of a child for whom the Secretary has parental responsibility. This includes children subject to care by Secretary and long-term care orders.

Child protection practitioners should seek parental consent for children on a family reunification order. When making a determination about whether to apply for evidence of citizenship for a child on a family reunification order, the circumstances of the application and potential implications for the child’s case plan and permanency objective must be considered.

Confirm eligibility

  • Confirm the child's eligibility. A child is eligible if they were:
    • previously issued with an Australian citizenship certificate or extract (or on a parent’s citizenship certificate)
    • born in Australia and acquired Australian citizenship at birth
    • born in Australia after 20 August 1986 and acquired Australian citizenship on their 10th birthday
    • adopted in Australia and acquired Australian citizenship
    • born outside Australia and acquired Australian citizenship by descent.

Documents to accompany applications

  • Locate and include the following identity documents to accompany DIBP Form 119 (for a child under the age of 16):
    • birth certificate
    • evidence of links between birth name and current name, if applicable
    • identity document with photograph and current name, if available (for example a student card)
    • one passport sized photograph and identity declaration signed by an Australian citizen with appropriate authority.
    • current Children’s Court order.
  • As the person applying on behalf of the child, include:
    • current proof of your identity and role including your signature, photograph and proof of work address (for example, a DHHS ID Badge and letter on departmental letterhead explaining your role at DHHS and relationship with the child).

In addition to the documents listed above, additional documentation must be provided to demonstrate how the child became eligible for citizenship.

  • If the child became a citizen at birth because at least one parent was an Australian citizen or permanent resident of Australia at the time of birth, the following support documents will be required:
    • evidence of one parent’s Australian citizenship (if available), for example an Australian passport issued after 1 July 2005, a certificate of Australian citizenship, or an Australian birth certificate, or
    • evidence of one parent’s permanent residence in Australia (if available), for example a passport with a visa granting permanent residence or permanent entry stamp.
  • If these documents are unavailable or unable to be located, attach a cover letter to the application explaining the Secretary has parental responsibility for the child, the efforts that have been taken to locate the relevant documents and the reason why the documents are unable to be obtained. 
  • If the child became an Australian citizen on their tenth birthday because they lived in Australia for the first 10 years of their life and neither parent was entitled to diplomatic privileges during this time, the following support documents will be required:
    • evidence of both parents’ status at the time of the child’s birth (if available), for example a passport, or
    • evidence the child has resided in Australia for 10 years, since the child’s birth (for example immunisation certificates, school reports).
  • If these documents are unavailable or unable to be located, attach a cover letter to the application explaining the Secretary has parental responsibility for the child, the efforts that have been taken to locate the relevant documents and the reason why the documents are unable to be obtained.

Documents that are not in English must be provided with official translations. The translator must be accredited by the National Accreditation Authority of Translators and Interpreters. More information is available on the NAATI website.

  • Copy, certify and attach required documents to the application. The certified copy must be authorised as being a true copy of the original document by an appropriate authority. The list of professions that can certify a document is available on page 9 of the application form.

Completing the application form

  • Complete DIBP Form 119 – Application for evidence of Australian citizenship on behalf of the child.
  • Organise an eligible person to sign the  ‘Identity Declaration’ located in Part L of the application (in the case of child under 6 years of age, this section is not required). The eligible person must:
    • have known the child for at least one year and belong to the list of professionals on the list on page 9; and
    • not be related to the person by birth, marriage or de facto relationship; and
    • be accessible by telephone during normal working hours.

If no Australian citizen has known the child for at least one year, the declaration can be signed by a person who belongs to a profession on the list on page 9 who has known the child for less than one year. Amongst the persons authorised to perform this task are people who have been employed by the Department of Health and Human Services, or any other state or Commonwealth department, continuously for a period of five years, police members and some teachers.

  • Ensure the person who signs the declaration also endorses the passport photograph of the child. Instructions for this are located on page 3 of the application form.
  • Ensure the required documents are certified and included with the application, including the endorsed photograph.
  • Include the application fee of $190 dollars with the application. Payment can be made using a procurement card. An administration assistant can assist with this process.    

Note: No fee is payable if the application is to replace evidence of Australian citizenship that was lost, destroyed or damaged due to a natural disaster. The DIBP website, ‘Becoming an Australian Citizen’ provides more information on applying for a fee exemption and documentation required to do so.

  • Send the application, certified documents and fee to:

Evidence Processing Unit Parramatta

Department of Immigration and Border Protection

GPO Box 9984

Sydney, NSW 2001

Once the child’s application is approved, you will be notified in writing. It may be an additional 10 working days until you receive the child’s citizenship certificate.

Young people over 16 years of age

If the application is for a young person over the age of 16, wherever possible, assist the young person to complete and sign DIBP Form 119 themselves. A copy of the Children’s Court order is not required where a young person over the age of 16 is able to complete and sign their application form.

The following documents will be required:

  • a current document with the young person’s photograph and signature (for example, a student card or learner’s permit)
  • birth certificate
  • documentation confirming the young person’s address (for example, a letter from the school, Department of Health and Human Services or Centrelink)
  • one passport sized photograph and identity declaration signed by an Australian citizen with appropriate authority
  • documentation providing evidence of how the young person became eligible for citizenship – see Documents to accompany applications above.

Storing the child’s citizenship certificate

A child’s citizenship certificate belongs to the child and, where appropriate, should follow them. Store the child’s original citizenship certificate on their child protection paper file while the Secretary maintains sole parental responsibility for the child.

  • Attach a copy of the citizenship certificate to CRIS as part of a case note titled Citizenship Certificate - <name of child>.
  • Provide the child’s citizenship certificate to their parent if a child returns home.  
  • Provide the original citizenship certificate to the child’s permanent care parents if a permanent care order is made.
  • Provide the original citizenship certificate to the young person when they transition to independent living when leaving out-of-home care upon reaching adulthood.

Supervisor/ Team manager tasks

  • Provide support to the child protection practitioner when they are completing the required tasks.
  • Approve funding for an application.

 

 

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