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It is the result of the interaction of the laws of two countries. People can become dual citizens automatically, or after successfully applying for the citizenship of another country.
Examples of ways in which people can become dual citizens automatically are:
- a child born in Australia who is an Australian citizen at birth and is automatically a citizen of the
country of birth, or citizenship, of a parent or grand-parent
- an Australian citizen who automatically becomes the citizen of another country through marriage.
Examples of circumstances in which people apply for another citizenship are:
- Australians who apply for the citizenship of another country because a parent or grand-parent was born
in, or is a citizen of, that country
- Australians living and working overseas, for work or family or other reasons, who apply for the
citizenship of the country in which they are living
- permanent residents of Australia who apply for Australian citizenship and are citizens of countries which allow dual citizenship.
Yes, provided the other citizenship is acquired after 4 April 2002.
Prior to 4 April 2002, Section 17 of the Australian Citizenship Act 1948 provided that adult Australians who did "any act or thing- the sole or dominant purpose of which, and the effect of which, is to acquire the nationality or citizenship of a foreign country shall upon acquisition cease to be an Australian citizen".
Any children under 18 also lost their citizenship, unless their other parent was an Australian citizen.
Section 17 did not apply to those who acquired another citizenship automatically or simply obtained a passport of a country of which they were already a citizen.
Further information on dual citizenship, Australian passports and consular assistance is available from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
See: Travel information for dual nationals