Restore an unlawfully cancelled citizenship

A client came to us to assist with her RRV and Australian citizenship matter:

  • To secure a second resident return visa on compassionate and compelling grounds (she had spent minimal amount of time in Australia on your earlier RRV
  • To investigate whether the purported cancellation of her citizenship was lawful

A client had applied for Australian citizenship when on the basis of conferral (having met the requirement as an eligible Australian permanent resident).

Due to family reasons, she had to travel overseas to work and live for some time.

Her application to become an Australian citizen was approved on paper on 8 April 2013.  She must then attend a citizenship ceremony to finalise the formality to become an Australian citizen.

Because of her family reasons, she had to postpone a few times on her citizenship ceremony appointment.  In the end, she wrote to the Department to request a withdrawal of the citizenship application.

There had been some disconnect between the Department and the Council where the citizenship ceremony was to be held. The Council wrote to the applicant inviting her to attend a citizenship ceremony on 3 April 2014.

The client then wrote to the Immigration Department to recant the earlier withdrawal request via email. The Department did not respond to the client’s request to recant the withdrawal. She travelled to Australia and completed her citizenship ceremony on 3 April 2014, not knowing that the Department had purportedly cancelled her already approved citizenship on 27 March 2014.

When the applicant attended the Department to apply for her Australian passport, her citizenship certificate was confiscated by the Department on the basis that her citizenship had been cancelled on 27 March 2014.

The client had engaged a law firm, who in turn, instructed a barrister to write to the Department, seeking for the cancellation to be vacated.  However, the Department advised the client that they should appeal the cancellation through the Administrative Appeals Tribunal or the court system.


  • We secure a 1-year resident return visa for the client (the client had spent minimal amount of time in Australia on their earlier resident return visa)
  • We lodged a complaint to the Department in relation to the unlawful cancellation of the client’s citizenship on the basis in November 2020
    1. An applicant cannot withdrawal an already approved citizenship application under the Citizenship Act.
    2. The Department’s cancellation was not permitted under the Citizenship Act
  • The Department wrote back on 23 December 2020 conceding that the cancellation did not have any legal effect and the client had been an Australian citizen since 3 April 2014, the date she swore allegiance to Australia.
  • In effect, the client’s citizenship was restored and backdated to 3 April 2014.
  • We are seeking a refund of the costs that the client had incurred unnecessarily as a result of the unlawful cancellation of her citizenship by the Department under the Compensation for Detriment caused by Defective Administration Scheme.

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