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I'm filling in an online application form for an Australian visa, and there is a step "Contact details" which asks for a "Country of residence", specifically "Usual country of residence" (see the screenshot below). There is a ? hint and it is not informative—here is the full text of that hint:

From the option list, select your usual country of residence.

In a later step, you will be asked to provide your full residential address in this country.

MY QUESTION:

What is really meant by "Country of residence" here? Is it the country of my citizenship or the country I currently reside in? Now I'm not in my country of citizenship. I reside in another country with an extended tourist visa. I have resided in that country for six months now and plan to go to Australia from that country. So what should I state: the country I'm residing in now or the country of my citizenship?

Screen shot of form asking for usual country of residence

  • 1
    @MarkMayo, sure I did. The full text of that "?" hint I copy/pasted in my question: From the option list, select your usual country of residence. In a later step, you will be asked to provide your full residential address in this country. – Green Sep 14 '15 at 13:46
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    I think you're overthinking it. They will later ask you for a residential address in that country. Where can you get mail reliably? – Najib Idrissi Sep 14 '15 at 18:32
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    You answered this yourself: "..or the country I currently reside" the question is about residence. ...reside..., ...residence... – Octopus Sep 14 '15 at 20:28
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    The simple fact that there is discussion about the form negates any 'sense' it may make to any proportion of humanity ... – Lamar Latrell Sep 15 '15 at 1:33
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    There are clearly two possibilities, and the opinions (no matter how cogent and clearly expressed) of strangers on the Internet are unimportant compared to that of the Australian government. Contact them and ask. – Tim Lymington supports Monica Sep 15 '15 at 17:45
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Note the word 'usual'. If you're on a tourist visa in another country for just 6 months, that's not really where you NORMALLY reside. You're considered a visitor in that country, not a resident.

In this case it's likely to be your country of citizenship, if that's where you usually live when you're not travelling on this tourist visa.

  • That's confusing though, why not just say country of citizenship ? If later pages don't refer to citizenship I suppose usual residence then would mean country of citizenship – blackbird Sep 14 '15 at 13:45
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    @Blackbird57 because if you're like me, I've got a South African and New Zealand citizenship, and live in Australia. So they have to specify, to make sure. – Mark Mayo Supports Monica Sep 14 '15 at 13:46
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    That's the thing that I usually do not live in my country of citizenship – Green Sep 14 '15 at 14:03
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    If you do not usually reside in your country of citizenship, then the answer should be the country in which you usually reside. – DJClayworth Sep 14 '15 at 14:18
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    some people may technically no longer be a resident anywhere, for example if you have chosen to become a nomad and travel the world, and have been doing so for many months. Your last country of residence, your last permanent country before you started your travel, might be the most relevant. In practice, they are looking for an address for which they can contact you – EdmundYeung99 Sep 15 '15 at 1:07
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Your residence

What address would you give someone who intends to send you critical correspondence at some indefinite point in the future? Where do you have your mail shipped? Where do you receive your bills? What address does your most recently opened bank account have on it? What address do you put on your tax forms? What address is nearest the school you would send your kids to (if you had any)? Etc.

That is your current residence. This is not always the same as your citizenship.

An example

Residence: I live in Japan. My kids go to school there, I have a permanent residential address, have a residency visa, etc.

Visitor: I visit other countries for work for several months at a time. Sometimes I rent an apartment, sometimes I'm staying with people I know (at their residence), but I might leave at any time and am usually either on a work visa or tourist visa.

Citizen: I am an American citizen. I was born in Texas and my passport says so.

Where you live, where you are, and what place claims to own you.

You can be in-between

For a few years I didn't really have a residence. I hopped around a lot and didn't have a single city or even country I could call "home". If someone had, in an official capacity, asked me where I lived I would have still replied "Texas". Even though that wasn't true in the sense that I hadn't been there for a few years, it was more true than claiming some place I had only been staying for a few weeks or months and knew I wouldn't be in much longer (especially on a tourist visa).

It is useful to note that many official bureaucracies (and their documents) are particularly unfriendly to people who don't fit the "born, schooled, worked, died -- all in the same 10 miles" mould. This bureaucratic detail can significantly hinder your efforts to get even the simplest things done in life, despite being a completely made-up problem. For that reason it is usually much less painful to use your place of birth or your family's residence (if you have a family or parents) as a sort of administrative anchor rather than try to explain the details of your situation.

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    disagree with the part: "What address would you give someone who intends to send you a letter sometime next year?" as this would imply the OP should list Australia, which is where the OP intends to be – EdmundYeung99 Sep 15 '15 at 1:03
  • @EdmundYeung99 The point is uncertainty. I'll change it to express that more deliberately, since it apparently wasn't clear that planning to have someone address a letter a year hence to a place one hasn't yet aquired a visa to is the height of wishful thinking. – zxq9 Sep 15 '15 at 1:31
  • ah yep, I misread that first paragraph, but I see your point now – EdmundYeung99 Sep 15 '15 at 2:02
  • +1 As an Australian citizen also residing in Japan (on a non-permanent resident visa), for all Australia matters (filling in the incoming Immigration form etc.) I am a resident of Japan regardless of citizenship. – The Wandering Coder Sep 16 '15 at 2:25
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The question boils down to:

Do you have permanent residency in another country; rather than than the one which issued your passport?

For example, I live and work in Kuwait. I am not a Kuwaiti citizen, but a permanent resident.

So for that application, I would put Kuwait as the country of my residency, even though its not the country of my nationality.

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    And to extend to the OPs scenario - if you were to visit a third country on a tourist visa, you would still put Kuwait as the country of your residency. – HorusKol Sep 15 '15 at 6:37
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    For the Australian Visa (and Immigration Declarations) there is no requirement to be a permanent resident of any country in order to fill in that answer. I am an Australian citizen, however I reside (without permanent residency) in Japan. I write Japan as the answer to the question, Where is you country of residence? as I live and work in Japan. In Australia the stipulation also exists in tax law. If you have working rights in Australia (Working Holiday, Student and Working Visa's to name a few) you are considered a resident of Australia for tax purposes regardless of time lived in Australia. – The Wandering Coder Sep 16 '15 at 2:21
  • Permanent Residency is not required. I equate the Usual country of residence to being the country in which you are ordinarily resident. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordinarily_resident_status – Rodney Hawkins Jul 25 '17 at 19:37
  • If you are ordinarily a resident, you have either permanent residency or a citizenship - otherwise, you are just a temporary visitor. – Burhan Khalid Jul 26 '17 at 5:48
  • The last comment is incorrect. It is possible to reside for a long time or even indefinitely in some countries without having permanent residence or citizenship there. – phoog Dec 9 at 14:29
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The form asks for an address in your country of residence. Figure out which address makes sense. The country that is in is your country of residence. I think that should be the crux of the question.

If you don't have an idea of which address or addresses to use for that part of the form then maybe you need an immigration attorney to interpret the question for you confidentially. Sometimes a situation is completely legal but hard to explain, and that's what those attorneys are for.

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Country of residence means exactly that, where you're living right now. I've come across forms with this phrasing, usually they ask you about citizenship in a separate question later

Also note the little question mark next to the question, that can give you a hint as to how they define country of residence

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    It does say 'USUAL' country of residence, so it might not be that clear cut... – Mark Mayo Supports Monica Sep 14 '15 at 13:32
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    Also countries where you're on a tourist visa don't generally consider you to be living there, you're visiting. – Mark Mayo Supports Monica Sep 14 '15 at 13:32
  • I copy/paste the full hint in my question. It is not informative. – Green Sep 14 '15 at 13:43
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    disagree, not where you are "living", but where you are "residing". Where you happen to be while filling out the form is irrelevant. As Mark pointed out, you may be a tourist or otherwise. – EdmundYeung99 Sep 15 '15 at 1:01
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    @EdmundYeung99 a tourist doesn't live in a country, they're passing through – blackbird Sep 15 '15 at 1:03
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This was a subject of discussion in the EU. The consensus seems to be, for the majority of cases, that this is the place where you pay your taxes (except if you have formally requested residency)

This is not always the case, though: in cases where you wonder whether you should switch to another country's driving license, you should use the one of the country your car is usually parked in.. This has apparently changed in 2013.

I found out this when doing some research in the past, form memory it was on the EU web site, deeply hidden. This does not cover the exotic cases, thought (when someone lives in multiple countries throughout the year and does not have the usual clear cut for taxes (which is 1/2 year + 1 day))

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In this case since you are to be invited for an interview at the closest destination to you, the country of residence is where you live right now.

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    Er, pretty sure that's covered by the NEXT question - where they ask the applicant's closest office. You could be on holiday for the next month in Europe, so the closest office might be in Paris, for example. – Mark Mayo Supports Monica Sep 15 '15 at 6:52
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Your country of residence is where you spend over 50% of the time when you are not being a tourist.

Excluding all the time you are travelling on a tourist visa, where will you spend 50% or more of your year? This may be in the country of your citizenship, but could be where you have a work visa, or permanent resident's visa.

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    No such country has to exist though. For example lets say I was an international consultant, who was in hight demand. My home base might be say the UK, but one year, I might spend 3 month in France, 3 Months in Australia, 3 Months in the USA, and with the remainder spent in between job at my home in (say) the UK. The next year I might go to different countries, or the same. Who knows. But I don't spend 50% of my time in any country. But the answer the form wants is probably the UK, being the only country I am certain to be at at somepoint on a regular basis. – Lyndon White Sep 16 '15 at 12:54

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