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Old 15.09.2015, 10:24
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Having a baby and registering the birth in Australia / Getting Australian citizenship

Hi All,

My wife and I will be having a baby soon. She is a Swiss citizen and I am from Australia. I would like the baby to have an Australian passport if possible, as it will make travel to/from Australia much easier, but also for his/her future life options.

Does anyone have any experience with this? I have read that you can apply for citizenship by descent but they require character references etc. so it doesn't seem like it is applicable to a baby (who doesn't really have a character yet).
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Old 15.09.2015, 10:34
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Re: Having a baby and registering the birth in Australia / Getting Australian citizen

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Hi All,

My wife and I will be having a baby soon. She is a Swiss citizen and I am from Australia. I would like the baby to have an Australian passport if possible, as it will make travel to/from Australia much easier, but also for his/her future life options.

Does anyone have any experience with this? I have read that you can apply for citizenship by descent but they require character references etc. so it doesn't seem like it is applicable to a baby (who doesn't really have a character yet).
http://uk.embassy.gov.au/lhlh/immi_citz.html
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Old 15.09.2015, 11:04
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Re: Having a baby and registering the birth in Australia / Getting Australian citizen

We looked at this as we are in the same situation. No problems registering kids later. First through London embassy to get citizenship then Geneva to get a passport. Once they are an Australian citizen they can only travel to Australia with their Australian passport. The downside of quick registration is cost and time to get to Geneva as you must present in person. I would wait a couple of years if you are not planning moving back in that time as baby passports need regular renewal.


See http://geneva.mission.gov.au/gene/consular.html the helpline for passport was quite helpful and links there to London.
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Old 15.09.2015, 11:16
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Re: Having a baby and registering the birth in Australia / Getting Australian citizen

Thanks RTN. Yes, it looks like a child passport will be valid for 5 years (instead of 10 as with adults).
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Old 15.09.2015, 18:11
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Re: Having a baby and registering the birth in Australia / Getting Australian citizen

My husband and I are Australian and our children are British, we haven't bothered to get their australian passports for a variety of reasons

They don't last long (5 years)

They are strict on the photo

They can easily travel on any other passport into the country (as I have done with my kids many times)

They are effing expensive compared to any other passport known to man (ok I don't know about that but you get me)

They can get them at any age, including when/if you move back there, so there really is no rush.
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Old 15.09.2015, 18:19
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Re: Having a baby and registering the birth in Australia / Getting Australian citizen

Our position was quite the same about 12 years ago.
I am Aussie and my wife is Swiss, but she also became a naturalized Australian while we lived there together.
Our second son was born in Switzerland soon after we moved.

As I recall we had little bureaucratic difficulty but the process took some time to complete.

Contact the Australian embassy and tell them what you want and they will tell you how to do it.

Once you have it, it is much easier to renew in the future.
We live in a very dynamic world today in which such rules are changing rapidly - and usually in a tightening direction.
We did this so that he (our son) would have no problems with a potential move back to Australia in the future.
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Old 15.09.2015, 19:59
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Re: Having a baby and registering the birth in Australia / Getting Australian citizen

Agree with Sizzler to some extent but Australia would not ever knock back a kid with a natural Australian parent. Bio passport here 1/4 the price and the last one arrived 48 hours after the photo!
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Old 15.09.2015, 20:45
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Re: Having a baby and registering the birth in Australia / Getting Australian citizen

There seems to be confusion here between citizenship and holding a passport. You (or your baby) can be a citizen without having a passport (like 90% of Americans, allegedly). So unless you really need the baby to have an Aussie passport (for example, to travel to and from Australia), just get the citizenship sorted and hold off on getting the passport.


Like dogs, citizenship is for life, not just for Christmas. Passports expire.
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Old 16.09.2015, 06:28
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Re: Having a baby and registering the birth in Australia / Getting Australian citizen

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There seems to be confusion here between citizenship and holding a passport. You (or your baby) can be a citizen without having a passport (like 90% of Americans, allegedly). So unless you really need the baby to have an Aussie passport (for example, to travel to and from Australia), just get the citizenship sorted and hold off on getting the passport.


Like dogs, citizenship is for life, not just for Christmas. Passports expire.
The problem being once you are an Australian citizen you can only travel to Australia with your Australian passport which is expensive and doesn't last that long for kids and needs a trip to Geneva to replace.
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Old 16.09.2015, 12:17
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Re: Having a baby and registering the birth in Australia / Getting Australian citizen

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There seems to be confusion here between citizenship and holding a passport. You (or your baby) can be a citizen without having a passport (like 90% of Americans, allegedly). So unless you really need the baby to have an Aussie passport (for example, to travel to and from Australia), just get the citizenship sorted and hold off on getting the passport.


Like dogs, citizenship is for life, not just for Christmas. Passports expire.
Some countries may require that if you have citizenship of that country, you have/carry ID of that country while you're within its borders.

Best to check that with the countries that you're a citizen of before deciding which passports and/or ID cards you want to order.
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Old 16.09.2015, 12:21
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Re: Having a baby and registering the birth in Australia / Getting Australian citizen

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Some countries may require that if you have citizenship of that country, you have/carry ID of that country while you're within its borders.
... but not Australia. We don't have any form of compulsory ID in Australia -- that idea was firmly dismissed in a referendum (for the "Australia Card") a few years ago. There is no legal requirement for any form of personal identification within Australia.
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Old 16.09.2015, 20:49
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Re: Having a baby and registering the birth in Australia / Getting Australian citizen

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Hi All,

My wife and I will be having a baby soon. She is a Swiss citizen and I am from Australia. I would like the baby to have an Australian passport if possible, as it will make travel to/from Australia much easier, but also for his/her future life options.

Does anyone have any experience with this? I have read that you can apply for citizenship by descent but they require character references etc. so it doesn't seem like it is applicable to a baby (who doesn't really have a character yet).

I can probably give you the most up-to-date experience as I'm Aussie and my fiancé is Swiss and we've just received our 2.5 month old son's Aussie passport yesterday (making him a dual Swiss - Australian citizen).

We first applied for his Aussie citizenship through the Australian High Commission in London which took about 3 weeks to come through - they required the application form, identity declaration by someone who's known the applicant for 12 months or whatever length of time for babies and is not related to either parent or the child and is either an Australian citizen or a Swiss citizen and one of the professions in the list they provide), photos, international birth certificate, ID of both parents and other various ID documents of the Australian parent, and it's relatively easy if you have all the documents (which aren't difficult to organize I thought).

No character reference per se required that I'm aware of. The identity declaration seems to be the only slightly complicated document to organize but if you have an Aussie or Swiss colleague who has known your child since he or she has been born and that person is one of the professions in their list, it shouldn't be too hard to organize.

Then once you get the citizenship certificate either parent has to go in person to the Australian Consulate in Geneva (doesn't have to be the Aussie parent), and new rules mean you don't have to bring the baby in person (which is a blessing!) with the application form, the citizenship certificate, photos, and ID of the parent who is applying, 120.- later and voila - 2 weeks later the passport comes through!

Hope that helps
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Old 17.09.2015, 09:24
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Re: Having a baby and registering the birth in Australia / Getting Australian citizen

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Then once you get the citizenship certificate either parent has to go in person to the Australian Consulate in Geneva
Thank you, good info from someone who knows! Just one pedantic clarification, though -- you don't "have" to go to the Consulate to get a passport for your baby; only if you want one! i.e., you don't have to get a passport for your child to be registered and recognised as a citizen of Australia (that's what the citizenship certificate is for), but if you want one, then yes, you have to go to the Consulate to get one. And as others have pointed out, if you want to travel to Australia with your Australian citizen-baby, s/he should travel on an Australian passport -- but it's generally not required otherwise.
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Old 17.09.2015, 09:57
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Re: Having a baby and registering the birth in Australia / Getting Australian citizen

Absolutely right 22_yards. You don't have to go to the Australian Consulate for the passport, only if you want to get the passport. If you just get the citizenship that's obviously fine and, as was said, it can't be taken away and doesn't expire so you'd just have to apply for the passport when you want it. I'm just glad the Australian parent isn't required to make the application (either parent can do so) and you don't have to bring the baby to the Consulate in person anymore!

Thanks for clarifying that for everyone!
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Old 21.09.2015, 17:27
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Re: Having a baby and registering the birth in Australia / Getting Australian citizen

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... they required the application form, identity declaration by someone who's known the applicant for 12 months or whatever length of time for babies and is not related to either parent or the child and is either an Australian citizen or a Swiss citizen and one of the professions in the list they provide), photos, international birth certificate, ID of both parents and other various ID documents of the Australian parent, and it's relatively easy if you have all the documents (which aren't difficult to organize I thought).

No character reference per se required that I'm aware of. The identity declaration seems to be the only slightly complicated document to organize but if you have an Aussie or Swiss colleague who has known your child since he or she has been born and that person is one of the professions in their list, it shouldn't be too hard to organize.
What I don't understand is: do they require an identity declaration of me, or of my child? As I understand it I fill out the application for the child because he/she is under 16 years of age but I am not the applicant myself. The identity declaration should "include a photo of the applicant" but they require someone to know the applicant/baby for at least a year before they can get citizenship? This would mean I shouldn't apply for the citizenship until they are >1 year old. That doesn't sound right.

What was your experience with this, was the identity declaration for yourself or the baby?
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Old 21.09.2015, 18:27
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Re: Having a baby and registering the birth in Australia / Getting Australian citizen

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What I don't understand is: do they require an identity declaration of me, or of my child? As I understand it I fill out the application for the child because he/she is under 16 years of age but I am not the applicant myself. The identity declaration should "include a photo of the applicant" but they require someone to know the applicant/baby for at least a year before they can get citizenship? This would mean I shouldn't apply for the citizenship until they are >1 year old. That doesn't sound right.

What was your experience with this, was the identity declaration for yourself or the baby?
It was for our baby. The identity declaration is of your child, the one who wants the citizenship/passport. Technically the applicant is your child - you're only filling in the form and "making the application" because they're not able/permitted (?) to themself - so the photo should obviously be of your child. And the person who can sign an identity declaration must:

(a) be either Australian or Swiss (being your country of residence)
(b) be one of the professions in their list (i.e. Lawyer, Doctor, notary, pharmacist, accountant, nurse, and a number of other options)
(c) have known the applicant (i.e. Your child) for more than 12 months, and
(d) not be related to either you, your partner or your child. So in our case we couldn't ask my fiance's family members.

There's also some small print saying in the case of a minor, the person doing the identity declaration can obviously have known the applicant for a shorter time (or something like that. I can't remember exactly now).

In our case we applied for his Aussie citizenship when he was one month old (to get all the paperwork out of the way and not have to worry about it once the little man is up and roaming about!), and we didn't have any issues having our Swiss lawyer friend sign the identity declaration that he's known our son for only one month. We'd also only known him for one month back then! The High Commision (for his citizenship) didn't question the identity declaration (there's nothing to question really), and only the Australian Embassy (for his passport) called our friend to verify that he completed the identity declaration and knows our son.

It's pretty easy overall actually. I know it sounds slightly confusing or complicated with the applicant wording, but hopefully now you've got some clarification it should be relatively straightforward.

I think the only difficulty you might have is if you don't know an Aussie or Swiss person who is one of the professions in their list who is willing to sign the identity declaration...

Does that help a bit more?

Last edited by melb15; 21.09.2015 at 18:31. Reason: Additional note
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Old 21.09.2015, 22:30
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Re: Having a baby and registering the birth in Australia / Getting Australian citizen

Thanks, yeah that helps. It's confusing and what I worry about with these bureaucratic processes is that the forms get knocked back and I'll have to re-do and re-submit. Also the restricted list of professions for the identity declaration sure doesn't help, but "finance company"' is one of those listed and there's no shortage of those in Switzerland, so I should be able to find someone to help
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Old 15.10.2015, 19:40
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Re: Having a baby and registering the birth in Australia / Getting Australian citizen

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Hi All,

My wife and I will be having a baby soon. She is a Swiss citizen and I am from Australia. I would like the baby to have an Australian passport if possible, as it will make travel to/from Australia much easier, but also for his/her future life options.

Does anyone have any experience with this? I have read that you can apply for citizenship by descent but they require character references etc. so it doesn't seem like it is applicable to a baby (who doesn't really have a character yet).
We are pretty much on the same boat. My Swiss girlfriend is expecting. i would like our child to have Australia nationality too. We are going to get married in a month. Is it possible for our child to have both Swiss and Australian citizenship?
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Old 15.10.2015, 21:04
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Re: Having a baby and registering the birth in Australia / Getting Australian citizen

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What I don't understand is: do they require an identity declaration of me, or of my child? As I understand it I fill out the application for the child because he/she is under 16 years of age but I am not the applicant myself. The identity declaration should "include a photo of the applicant" but they require someone to know the applicant/baby for at least a year before they can get citizenship? This would mean I shouldn't apply for the citizenship until they are >1 year old. That doesn't sound right.

What was your experience with this, was the identity declaration for yourself or the baby?
You need someone that know the baby from birth. I saw a friend's baby and that was enough. An Australian work colleague witnessed the photos on our son's citizenship application. An interview in Geneva is a big trip for a 2 year passport. Now both my kids get 5 year passports it might be worth it.
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Old 08.01.2016, 09:39
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Re: Having a baby and registering the birth in Australia / Getting Australian citizen

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I can probably give you the most up-to-date experience as I'm Aussie and my fiancé is Swiss and we've just received our 2.5 month old son's Aussie passport yesterday (making him a dual Swiss - Australian citizen).

We first applied for his Aussie citizenship through the Australian High Commission in London which took about 3 weeks to come through - they required the application form, identity declaration by someone who's known the applicant for 12 months or whatever length of time for babies and is not related to either parent or the child and is either an Australian citizen or a Swiss citizen and one of the professions in the list they provide), photos, international birth certificate, ID of both parents and other various ID documents of the Australian parent, and it's relatively easy if you have all the documents (which aren't difficult to organize I thought).
Why did you lodge the application through the London High Commission? We are just about to start the process and when I look at this page it mentions Berlin as the one "in charge" of Switzerland. And I couldn't find the physical address to send it to, but that just might be because I haven't had my second coffee yet.

Thanks!
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