The Australian Citizenship Act 1948, Section 25 provided for the automatic acquisition of Australian citizenship by certain categories of people born before 26 January 1949 who were British subjects immediately prior to that date. The repeal of section 25 on 1 May 1987 did not affect the Australian citizenship status of people who acquired citizenship under these provisions.
Relevant categories of people are:
- People born in Australia including Papua prior to 26 January 1949, unless at the time of the person’s birth, the father:
- Was not a person who would have become an Australian citizen on 26 January 1949; and
- Possessed immunity from suit and legal process which is accorded to an envoy of a foreign country accredited to His/Her Majesty.
- People born in New Guinea (as distinct from Papua) prior to 26 January 1949;
- Note: Birth in New Guinea in itself did not confer British subject status.
- People naturalised as British subjects in Australia prior to 26 January 1949 under any Act of the Commonwealth or of a State;
- People who were ordinarily resident in Australia or New Guinea for the five-year period between 26 January 1944 and 26 January 1949;
- People who were born outside Australia and New Guinea prior to 26 January 1949 and, whose father was born or naturalised in Australia or born in New Guinea and held British subject status on 25 January 1949, who entered Australia:
- Prior to 26 January 1949 on an unrestricted basis, or if they entered on a restricted basis, they had been granted permission to remain in Australia for permanent residence prior to that date; or
- Subsequent to 26 January 1949 but prior to 6 May 1966 on an unrestricted basis; or
- Subsequent to 6 May 1966 but prior to 1 May 1987 on an unrestricted basis having the status of a British subject.
- Women who prior to 26 January 1949:
- Had married a person who became or, but for his death would have become, an Australian citizen on 26 January 1949; and
- Entered Australia without restriction, unless they had been granted permission to remain in Australia for permanent residence prior to 26 January 1949.
Passport applicants who automatically acquired Australian citizenship under the transitional provisions of the Australian Citizenship Act 1948 and who do not hold documentary evidence of citizenship, must apply to DIAC for a Certificate of Evidence of Australian Citizenship.