What do you need to know about applying for Australian citizenship?
Becoming an Australian citizen is one of the most sought-after citizenships in the world because Australia offers a secure environment for families to thrive in large, open spaces. Regarding freedom to travel, according to recent reports, possessing an Australian passport is the 8th strongest passport in the world. It allows passport holders to visit 181 countries and territories visa-free or get a visa on arrival.
Other benefits of being an Australian citizen include being able to remain in Australia indefinitely as well as being able to re-enter the country at any time. Once you have Australian citizenship you can stay out of the country as long as you want and you won’t lose your citizenship status. However, if you choose to stay you are eligible to apply for jobs in the following federal organizations:
- The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade;
- Australian Federal Police;
- Australian Defence;
- Australian Border Force.
You can stand to be elected as Australia’s Prime Minister as well!
When you finally become an Australian citizen you get privileges and responsibilities as a citizen to fulfill. You are required by law to do the following:
- obey Australia’s laws;
- to vote in the state, territory, and federal elections as well as in referendums;
- to defend Australia;
- to serve on jury duty if a request is made.
The privileges you get as an Australian citizen are:
- being able to apply for a child born in another country to become an Australian citizen by descent;
- the chance to apply for an Australian passport so that you can re-enter the country freely;
- get consular assistance when overseas.
How to Become an Australian Citizen
Australian citizen application
Before you can apply for Australian citizenship you need to fulfill the following criteria:
- be an Australian permanent resident;
- be over the age of 16;
- have lived for four years in Australia including twelve months as a permanent resident;
- be of good character;
- have sufficient knowledge of your privileges and responsibilities as an Australian citizen.
There are other ways you may be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship which are:
- being born in Australia to a citizen or permanent resident;
- one of your parents has an Australian citizen and if a child is born overseas she or he can be registered for Australian citizenship through descent;
- you have a partner or spouse who is an Australian citizen.
Applying for Australian citizenship
Before you complete your Australian citizenship application online you need to prepare some documents. These are the following:
- get a passport-size photo;
- provide an identity declaration signed by an authorized Australian citizen;
- provide your birth certificate which shows your parent’s details;
- evidence if you have changed your name;
- original police certificates showing you have committed no criminal offenses;
- your passport.
You may apply from either in or outside Australia.
When your application is being considered you may be asked to attend an interview if more information is required to support your application. If you are between 18 and 59 years of age you will be asked to take a citizenship test.
Who qualifies for Australian citizenship?
People who are from other countries may apply for Australian citizenship once they have acquired Australian permanent residency and have held it for 4 years.
Only certain people fit Australian citizenship requirements which are:
- be a permanent resident;
- have reached 16 years old;
- have resided in Australia for four years which includes twelve months with permanent residency;
- have a good character;
- have sufficient knowledge of the responsibilities and privileges when a citizen.
What documents are required for a citizenship application?
Australian citizenship document checklist
3 original documents that show any of the following:
- a photograph;
- your signature;
- present residential address;
- your birth name;
- your birth date;
- your gender;
- evidence of name change, if applicable;
- a complete birth certificate;
- evidence of any links between previous and present names such as an official divorce or marriage certificate, if applicable;
- evidence showing the date you arrived in Australia for the first time and your current country of citizenship such as a current or previous passport, a travel document showing a visa such as a Document to Travel to Australia.
Other identity documents could include an Australian state or territory driving license, a passport, a document from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and a national identity card.
All supporting documents should include a translation if not in English, performed by a NAATI translator.
Is a birth certificate mandatory for Australian citizenship?
A birth certificate is an important document required for an Australian citizenship application as it provides certain details that other records don’t provide such as your date and place of birth and your parents’ names which confirm your identity. There is no good substitute for an original birth certificate.
Is there a test to become an Australian citizen?
A citizenship test is part of the Australian citizen application process for most applicants wishing to gain Australian citizenship by conferral. It shows you have sufficient knowledge of English and you understand what becoming an Australian citizen means.
You cannot do the Australian citizenship test online as you must attend a Department of Home Affairs office which can be found in all major towns throughout Australia.
What happens if I fail the citizenship test?
If you fail the test you should you can arrange it re-sit the test on the same day or if you think you need a bit more time to get ready for it choose a later date. You will not be charged any more money and it will not affect your right to stay in Australia.
How much does Australian citizenship cost?
This depends on the type of citizenship you are applying for whether by descent or conferral and the cost is between $315 and $490. It also depends if your family is included in your citizenship application.
Australian Citizenship Processing Time:
How long does it take to get citizenship in Australia?
The processing time for Australian citizenship applications can vary but typically ranges from three to fifteen months. It’s important to be patient throughout the process and ensure that all required documents are submitted accurately and in a timely manner.
Does Australia allow dual citizenship?
Australia allows dual citizenship as it has no rules prohibiting it. However, the following countries do not allow their citizens to hold dual citizenships with any other country, including Australia:
|Zimbabwe||Philippines||Papua New Guinea|
So if you are a citizen of any of the countries listed above you may have to give up your original citizenship if you wish to become an Australian citizen.
What is an Australian citizenship certificate?
This is an official document that indicates you have Australian citizenship. You may apply to get this certificate or replace it if it has been damaged or lost.
Replacing an Australian Citizenship Certificate:
In the event that an Australian citizenship certificate is lost or damaged, it can be replaced. The cost for an initial certificate is $240, but there is no additional cost for a replacement due to loss or damage.
How much does it cost to replace an Australian citizenship certificate?
The initial cost for this certificate is currently $240 but there is no additional cost if you need to replace it because it has been lost or damaged.
Australian Citizenship Test:
To obtain Australian citizenship by conferral, most applicants need to pass the Australian citizenship test. The test assesses your knowledge of Australia’s history, culture, values, and the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship. It is typically conducted in English and includes multiple-choice questions.
Once your Australian citizenship application is approved, you will be invited to attend a citizenship ceremony. These ceremonies are special events where you pledge your loyalty to Australia and officially become an Australian citizen. They often include the presentation of citizenship certificates and may involve community celebrations.
Children and Australian Citizenship:
There are specific provisions for children to acquire Australian citizenship, such as by descent or if they were born in Australia to at least one Australian citizen or permanent resident parent. Understanding the requirements and processes for children to become Australian citizens is essential for families.
Resuming or Renouncing Australian Citizenship:
In some cases, individuals who have previously held Australian citizenship may have the option to resume their citizenship. On the other hand, there may be situations where individuals wish to voluntarily renounce their Australian citizenship. These processes have their own requirements and implications.
Australian Citizenship for New Zealand Citizens:
New Zealand citizens living in Australia are eligible for a specific pathway to become Australian citizens. This pathway is designed to recognize the special bilateral relationship between Australia and New Zealand.
Citizenship Application Assistance:
For those seeking guidance and assistance with their Australian citizenship application, there are various resources available. This includes official government websites, support services, and migration agents who can provide professional advice and assistance throughout the application process.
Australian Citizenship Benefits:
- Right to Remain in Australia: Australian citizenship grants you the right to live and remain in Australia indefinitely. You can enjoy the security and stability of being a permanent member of the Australian community.
- Access to Social Benefits: As an Australian citizen, you are entitled to access various social benefits and government services, including healthcare, education, and social welfare programs.
- Political Participation: Australian citizens have the right to participate in political processes, including voting in federal, state, and local government elections. This gives you a say in shaping the country’s future.
- Passport and Travel Benefits: Holding an Australian passport provides you with visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to numerous countries around the world. This facilitates hassle-free travel and enhances your global mobility.
- Consular Assistance: Australian citizens can seek consular assistance from Australian embassies and consulates when traveling or residing overseas. This support includes help during emergencies, such as lost passports or legal issues.
- Job Opportunities: Australian citizenship opens up employment opportunities in certain sectors and federal government organizations, such as the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Federal Police, Australian Defence, and Australian Border Force.
- Dual Citizenship: Australia allows dual citizenship, enabling you to retain your original citizenship while becoming an Australian citizen. This provides you with the flexibility and advantages of being a citizen of multiple countries.
Australian Citizenship Responsibilities:
- Obeying Laws: As an Australian citizen, you are required to obey the laws and regulations of Australia. This includes complying with federal, state, and local laws, respecting public order, and upholding the values and principles of Australian society.
- Participating in Democratic Processes: Australian citizens have the responsibility to participate in democratic processes, such as voting in federal, state, and local government elections, as well as referendums. This ensures active engagement in shaping the nation’s governance.
- Defending Australia: In times of need, Australian citizens may be called upon to serve and protect their country. This includes potential military service if required for national defense.
- Serving on Juries: If summoned, Australian citizens must serve on juries. This civic duty contributes to the fair administration of justice and the functioning of the legal system.
- Respecting and Promoting Australian Values: Australian citizens are encouraged to respect and promote the values that underpin Australian society, such as equality, diversity, freedom, and respect for the rights and dignity of all individuals.
Understanding and fulfilling these responsibilities is an integral part of being an Australian citizen and actively participating in the Australian community.