Question of the Week

What is the lawful residence date? Read about why the citizenship clock for a community member was reset.

Category: Citizenships

Question asked


I have a question regarding Australian citizenship eligibility.

I entered Australia for the first time on 31 Jan 2018 and lived there till 19 February 2022 without any visits outside Australia. I went overseas on 19 Feb 2022. My student visa expired on 1st march 2022 and I was not holding any valid Australian visa till 10 December 2022, when I got Australian PR.

Now, If I plan to travel to Australia before 15 Feb 2023 (let’s say 10 Feb 2023) to not breach the condition for citizenship of “not staying outside Australia for more than 12 months in past 4 years”

Then what will be my lawful residence date?

Will it be the 31st Jan 2018 (the date I entered on a student visa) or the 10th Feb 2023 (the date I am planning after PR)? Keeping in mind that from 1st march 2022 to 10 December 2022, I was not holding any valid Australian visa, while I was overseas.



Answer provided by Migration Agent

Hello M.

From what you have said, your lawful residence date will be 10 December 2022 when you gained PR. According to policy and for the purposes of the residence calculator, the lawful residence date will be the date that the ‘in effect visa’ that was held ‘on the day 4 years immediately prior to the day of application’ came into effect. So, in your case as you were out of Australia with no visa the residency calculator is re-set.

The start date of the 4-year lawful residence period is usually the date 4 years immediately before they lodge their application. However, if the person has not made their first entry into Australia, they need to wait at least 4 years after their first entry to meet this requirement.

Where a person was outside Australia on the day 4 years immediately before applying, but had previously been in Australia, they may still use the day 4-years immediately before applying as a start date (for the purposes of being eligible to satisfy the 4 year lawful requirement), providing that on that day they held a visa which was in effect on that day (a visa granted in Australia is in effect from the day of grant, a visa granted offshore comes into effect when the person enters Australia on that visa).

Migration Agent

----- Clarification Request ------


thanks for your detailed response.

I have applied to a TR before I left Australia and I was granted bridging visa A which would be in effect after my student visa expires (1st March 2022).

But I left for overseas before my bridging visa became active? So will this change the circumstances for my lawful residence date or not?

------ Clarification by Migration Agent ------

Unfortunately, you cannot travel on a Bridging Visa A. So that was removed the moment you left Australia. The citizenship clock has reset.

You can also read more about it: Australian Citizenship

If you need further services from myself, please contact Amy at, and don’t forget to mention your question ID so that I can keep providing immigration services to you.


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