How To Become An Australian Citizen: A Complete Guide

People want to know how they can become Australian citizens by descent, marriage, and permanent residency.

 

Australia is a young, multi-cultural, and democratic country with an ever-developing economy. Its unparalleled natural beauty and quality of life attract people from nooks and corners of the world.


Australian citizenship offers peace of mind and numerous benefits in terms of living, studying, voting, and working.


To become an Australian citizen, you must know the eligibility criteria and different stages of the application process. This comprehensive guide discusses everything that you need to know on how to become a citizen of Australia.

 


1. Why Should You Become An Australian Citizen?


Citizenship of Australia allows you to live and work independently while staying committed to the values of the country. It entitles you to the following rights:

 

  • Obtain an Australian passport to leave and return to Australia

  • Obtain help from diplomatic representatives of Australia when abroad

  • Serve in the Defense Army

  • Work in the Government Service

  • Stand for Parliament

  • Vote to choose a member of the Parliament

 


2. What Are The Responsibilities Of An Australian Citizen?


By gaining Australian citizenship, you are legally required to:

 

  • Adhere to laws and regulations of Australia

  • Defend Australia when deemed necessary

  • Serve on the position of a jury when called to do so

  • Enroll on state and territory voting registers

  • Vote in Parliamentary elections

 


3. Australian Permanent Residency Vs Australian Citizenship


An Australian permanent resident differs from an Australian citizen based on privileges and entitlements. Australian permanent residents are not a citizen of the country. They hold a permanent visa that enables them to live, study, and work without constraint in Australia.


Let’s see in what ways do an Australian citizen and an Australian permanent resident differ:

 

  • Travel: An Australian citizen has the full right of entry to Australia. A permanent resident must have a valid permanent visa with an official travel authority to travel internationally.

 

  • Vote and Run an Election: A citizen can cast his vote and run an election in Australian government elections. However, permanent residents do not have the right to vote or run an election in Australia.

 

  • Work in Administration services or Australian Defense Force: Australian citizens are allowed to work in government services and the defence force. However, permanent residents do not get this right.

 

  • Study Loan: Where Australian permanent residents aren’t eligible for government study loans, Australian citizens can apply for loans capped at low-interest rates.

 

  • Government Support (when overseas): Australian citizens can obtain official assistance while living or working abroad. However, this support isn’t provided to permanent residents of Australia.

 

  • Citizenship Eligibility for offspring: Children born to Australian citizens are eligible for applying for Australian citizenship. In the case of permanent residents, children born in Australia are eligible for Australian citizenship. However, if born outside the country, they can apply for a permanent residency.

 


4. How To Apply For A Permanent Residency (PR) In Australia?


You must meet various requirements to apply for permanent residency:

 

  • Must have been legally residing in Australia for 4 years immediately before the date of application for Australian citizenship. 

  • Should have stayed for 12 months in Australia as a permanent resident

  • Should not have stayed away from the country for more than 1 year and more than 3 months in the last 12 months before the application date.


Check out the Citizenship Wizard on the Department of Home Affairs website to know more about the residence requirement.

 


5. How To Become An Australian Citizen?


To be an Australian citizen, you must make a continued commitment to the country and everything that it supports and uphold. Following are the Australian citizenship requirements:

 

  • Should be of 18 years and above

  • Should have lived in Australia for 4 years, including 1 year as a permanent resident

  • Should be an Australian permanent resident at the date of application,

  • Should have passed a citizenship test (if below 60 years),

  • Should continue residing in Australia or maintaining a continuing association with Australia

  • Should have good social and moral conduct

  • Should possess adequate knowledge of rights and responsibilities as an Australian citizen.

 


6. When Can I Apply For Australian Citizenship?


You can apply for an Australian citizen in three different ways if you meet the criteria before applying.

 


Citizenship by Birth


Under this case, you must meet the following requirements:

 

  • You are born in Australia

  • At least one of your parents was an Australian permanent resident or Australian Citizen at the time of your birth

 


Australian Citizenship by Conferral


To be eligible for citizenship through this mode, you must meet the following resident criteria:

 

  • Should have stayed in Australia for 1 year as a permanent resident

  • Should be a legal resident in Australia for 4 years just before submitting the citizenship application. (This includes the time spent in Australia as a student, working holiday, tourist, or temporary visa)

  • Should not have stayed outside Australia for over 1 year in the past 4 years and not over 90 days in the 1 year immediately before lodging the application.

 


Scenario 1:


Do you want to know how to become an Australian citizen from New Zealand? You must meet the following criteria to obtain Australian citizenship:

 

  • Australian permanent residents between 18 and 59 years old

  • Children between 16 or 17 years of age

  • Children aged 15 years or below when applying with their parent or guardian

  • Eligible New Zealand citizen at the time you apply and when the department decides your citizenship application

  • Spouses or partners of an Australian citizen

  • Commonwealth Child Migration Scheme migrants

  • Refugees or humanitarian migrants

  • Likely to continue living in Australia or sustaining a close association with Australia while abroad

 


Australian citizenship cost:

 

  • AUD 490 for general people

  • AUD 300 for people who are 16 or 17 years of age at the time of application.

  • No fee for a child 15 years or below.

 


Scenario 2:


If you are 60 years or above, then you can also apply for Australian citizenship by conferral mode. It is necessary to meet the following requirements:

 

  • Eligible New Zealand citizen or a permanent resident on the date of applying and when the board decides your application

  • Commonwealth Child Migration Scheme migrants

  • Spouses or partners of an Australian citizen

  • Humanitarian migrants

  • Refugees 

  • Continue staying in Australia or keeping association with Australia when overseas


When applying for citizenship under this category, you are required to make a payment of AUD300. Those holding a concession card would need to pay only AUD35.

 


Scenario 3:


Thinking about how to get Australian citizenship by marriage? You can obtain Australian citizenship by conferral if your spouse is an Australian citizen.

 

You would need to submit the citizenship application along with the supporting documents, and a fee of AUD 490 to the Home Affairs Department.

 

After security checks and document verification, you would be granted Australian citizenship.

 

 

Dual Citizenship


Australia allows its citizens to have dual citizenship where an Australian citizen can obtain citizenship of another country while maintaining their Australian citizenship.


However, it depends on the citizenship regulation of the other country to decide whether you can continue being their citizen after becoming an Australian citizen.

 

 

Citizenship by Descent


If you were born outside Australia and one of your parents is/was Australian citizenship at the time of your birth, then you are eligible for an Australian Citizenship by Descent. An applicant can lodge a citizenship application online. It is processed via the responsible Australian Embassy or High Commission.


You will need to pay a citizenship cost of AUD 315 for general people and AUD 130 for every consequent sibling who applies.

 


7. What Is A Citizenship Test?


On meeting the eligibility requirements, applicants must pass a citizenship test before applying for Australian citizenship. This test evaluates the understanding of an applicant about history, traditions, culture, national symbols, laws, geography, political system, and values of Australia.


Moreover, the test also examines the English language abilities and adequate knowledge of the duties and rights of being an Australian citizen.


The fundamental objective of the test is to help social cohesion and successful addition into the community. It comprises 20 questions and applicants must obtain at least 75% to pass the test.


A certain set of applicants are exempted from taking the test:

 

  • Below 18 years or above 60 years

  • Suffer from a significant loss of sensory power

  • Applied before October 01, 2007

  • Have a mental or physical debility

  • Have been born to a former Australian citizen


Applicants who have a low level of English literacy are given help to take the test.

 


8. What Is A Citizenship Ceremony?


Once the citizenship application is approved, applicants must participate in a Citizenship Ceremony to make an Australian Citizenship Pledge. This pledge shows the following:

 

  • Loyalty to Australia

  • Share the democratic beliefs of the country

  • Respect its liberties and rights 

  • Preserve its laws

 


After they take the pledge, applicants are given the “Citizenship Certificate”. It is a necessary document when applying for an Australian passport.

 


9. Steps to Become an Australian Citizen


Now that you know the eligibility criteria, you must learn about the required documents, application forms, and the general process for becoming an Australian citizen.

 


Step 1: Check Your Eligibility


The first step to becoming an Australian Citizenship is to ensure that you meet the general eligibility requirements.

 


Step 2: Get All The Necessary Supporting Documents


You would require the following documents to support your application:

 

  • Identity proof (with your name, photograph, and/or signature) that confirms your identity such as a driver’s license, a national identity card, or passport.

  • Australian Residence proof: Provide a document that confirms that you have been staying lawfully and continuously in Australia for the last 4 years. Common acceptable documents include a rental contract, a utility bill, a bank statement, or an insurance policy, that contains your address.

  • Date of birth proof: A copy of your birth certificate.

  • Passport-style photograph (not older than 6 months)

  • Evidence of your parent’s or spouse’s Australian Citizenship Status

  • Hand-written original signature

 


Step 3: Get Copies Of The Supporting Documents


You must upload or attach copies of all official documents to process the application.

 

Therefore, you must take out copies of the documents and send them along with the form. However, you are required to provide originals when attending citizenship interviews/appointments.

 


Step 4: Translate Your Official Documents (if needed)


The documents you send to the DHA have to be in English. This requires you to translate your non-English documents to the English language using an accredited translator.

 

NAATI is a standard and professional translator that is widely used for translation and interpretation worldwide.

 


Step 5: Complete your Application Form


Based on your specific scenario, you need to duly fill out the Australian citizenship application form and submit it online. List all the official documents that you are providing.

 

Find someone who can attest legitimacy of your documents and your identity. Nominate a representative (when necessary) and choose your preference to pledge during the Australian Ceremony.

 

 

Step 6: Submit Application


Submit your completed form with documents to DHA online or by post along with the application processing charges.

 

Click here to find the location to post your application.

 


Step 7: Attend your Citizenship Appointment and Citizenship Test


On receiving your application, the DHA will call you for a citizenship appointment to confirm your identity and the authenticity of your submitted documents.

 

Next, you will have to sit for the Australian Citizenship test.

 


Step 8: Attend the Citizenship Ceremony


The last step to becoming an Australian Citizen is to attend a Citizenship Ceremony and make your Australian Citizenship Pledge.

 

This ceremony is held within 6 months from the date of approval of your application. The average time taken to process the application is around 3 months.

 


10. How To Become An Australian Citizen From The UK?

 

  • To become an Australian citizen, you must fulfill the residence requirement mentioned as per the guidelines of the Department of Home Affairs

  • Submit a completed completed application form along with the applicable fee to the department. 

  • The concerned team will conduct security assessments and review your migration history. 

  • On satisfactory assessment, applicants between 18 to 59 years of age will have to undertake a Citizenship test and those above 60 years of age will attend a Citizenship appointment.

  • On completing the above step, you will participate in an Australian citizenship ceremony, that includes the Australian Citizenship Pledge.

 

 

11. How To Resume An Australian Citizenship?


If you had been an Australian citizen, then you can apply to regain your citizenship. For this, you must fulfill the following conditions and take the necessary steps to apply. 

 

  • Provide identify proof if 16 years or older

  • Evidence of good character

  • Present evidence that shows the termination of your Australian citizen


The eligibility to resume Australian citizenship is based on your citizenship termination reason. Those who aren’t eligible to resume their ceased Australian citizenship can apply for Australian citizenship via conferral mode. The application fee to resume your citizenship is AUD210.

 


Step 1: Arrange the necessary documents


If you meet the eligibility criteria, then you need certain documents to apply to regain your Australian citizenship.

 

Here is the complete Australian citizenship document checklist:

 

  • Identity documents that show your birth name, birth date, and gender

  • Birth certificate that shows your mother’s and father’s name

  • Family registration document 

  • Official document for name change (if required): marriage certificate, divorce certificate 

  • Residential address proof such as electricity bill, water bill, gas bill, or rental contract

  • Australian driver's license

  • National identity card

  • Proof of arrival in Australia such as existing or previous passport, or travel document with a visa

  • Passport-sized photograph signature

  • Responsible parent documents

  • Good character documents such as Australian national police check and penal clearance certificates

  • Citizenship documents that show termination of your citizenship

 


Step 2: Apply to resume Australian citizenship


You can complete the Form 132 application and post it with the certified copies of documents to the address mentioned on the form. Applicants can apply from within or outside Australia.

 


Step 3: Make the payment


Pay the application processing fee at the time of applying.

 


Step 4: Wait for the official communication


Once you have completed the above formalities, all you need is to just wait for the concerned authorities to reach you. Most likely, you will get an email stating the outcome of your application.


If your application is approved, you will receive proof of your Australian citizenship. The total turnaround time to receive it is 10 business days from the date of approval. However, if you have applied outside the country, then it may take more time.


On the other hand, if your application is rejected, you will receive a letter stating the reason for the refusal. An applicant can reach out to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to review the decision.

 


12. Conclusion


Gaining Australian citizenship is a dream for countless people worldwide.

 

However, one must remember that with privileges also comes the commitment and responsibilities to the people and values of the country.

 

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