The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia. Verifying residence/citizenship


If an individual receiving FTB and/or SIFS was born overseas, evidence must be obtained to verify that they are an Australian resident (1.1.A.130). This means that the person must:

  • have the right to live in Australia (1.1.A.120) permanently, and
  • intend to live in Australia permanently.

This topic explains the following:

  • verifying the individual is an Australian resident
  • evidence of residency
  • Australian citizenship
  • permanent visa
  • special category visa, and
  • special purpose visa.

Note: The test used to verify residency/citizenship for FA purposes differs to the test used for taxation purposes. For more information please refer to the 'Are you a resident?' page on the ATO's website.

Verifying the applicant is an Australian resident

Evidence must be provided by the individual that they:

  • are an Australian citizen, or
  • hold a
    • permanent visa
    • special category visa, or
    • special purpose visa, and
  • intend to remain in Australia permanently.

This is explained in the rest of this topic.

Policy reference: FA Guide Residence requirements

SS Guide 9.1 Citizenship & visas

Evidence of residency

Suitable evidence of Australian residency may include:

  • information obtained from the Department of Home Affairs verifying the date of arrival, residence status, etc.
  • a passport
  • a citizenship certificate, or
  • a visa (1.1.V.10) or travel documents from the Department of Home Affairs stating that the person has been granted permanent residence.

Australian citizenship

An individual may become an Australian citizen by applying for grant of Australian citizenship. A certificate of Australian citizenship is issued to approved applicants.

Explanation: Most people born in Australia before 26 January 1949 became Australian citizens on that date when the Australian Citizenship Act 1948 first came into force. People born in Australia on or after 26 January 1949 and before 20 August 1986 automatically became Australian citizens on their DOB unless one of their parents was a diplomatic or consular official of a foreign country. There is also provision for children born in Australia who would otherwise be stateless to apply for Australian citizenship by registration. Children who live in Australia until their 10th birthday acquire Australian citizenship on that birthday. A child born overseas to Australian parents, or a child adopted by Australian parents, may be registered as an Australian citizen by the child's parents at the nearest Australian Embassy or Consular post.

Policy reference: SS Guide Residence requirements

Permanent visa

A permanent visa gives the holder permission to remain in Australia indefinitely. An individual may apply for a permanent visa inside or outside Australia, depending on the category of visa.

Special category visa

An SCV is the type of visa granted to people who enter Australia on a New Zealand passport. Like a permanent visa, it allows the holder to remain in Australia indefinitely. However, New Zealand citizens entering Australia are granted the same visa regardless of whether they are entering as visitors or settlers. This is why the FA(Admin)Act requires the holder of an SCV to be also 'residing in Australia' to be eligible for FTB.

Explanation: Prior to 1 September 1994, New Zealand citizens and certain other groups did not require a visa to enter and remain in Australia. However, since the commencement of the Migration Reform Act 1992, a person must be either an Australian citizen or the holder of a valid visa to be legally present in Australia.

Act reference: FAAct section 21(1)(b)(i) … the individual is an Australian resident

SSAct section 7(3) In deciding for the purposes of this Act whether or not a person is residing in Australia …

Policy reference: SS Guide 9.1.3 New Zealand citizens

Special purpose visa (SPV)

An SPV is the type of temporary visa granted to people with a prescribed status or who are declared by the Immigration Minister to hold such a visa, to enter and stay in Australia. An SPV allows a person to undertake their normal work while in Australia, and is granted on entry to Australia including if they are:

  • a member of the Royal Family (that is, the King's immediate family)
  • an official guest of the Australian Government or their spouse, de facto partner or dependent child
  • a member of the military or civilian component of the armed forces of a country that has a Status of Forces Agreement with Australia, or their accompanying spouse, de facto partner or dependent relative
  • a member of the armed forces of a specified Asia-Pacific or a Commonwealth country, who is travelling to Australia, or is in Australia, as part of their duty, or their accompanying spouse, de facto partner or dependent relative
  • a person who forms part of the complement of a ship of the regular armed forces of a foreign government and who is on board the ship, or
  • an airline crew member or an airline positioning crew member.

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