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Australian Citizenship: The Ultimate Guide


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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. When it comes to 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!

Australian citizenship 

When you finally become an Australian citizen you not only get privileges but you also have 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 documents don’t provide such as your date and place of birth and your parents’ names which confirms 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 if 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.

How long does it take to get citizenship in Australia?

The Australian citizenship processing time can be between three and fifteen months.

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:

 Sweden  Solomon Islands  Peru
 Thailand  Singapore  Nepal
 Venezuela  Romania  Norway
 Vietnam  Poland  Pakistan
 Zimbabwe  Philippines  Papua New Guinea
 Mexico  Japan  Ecuador
 Mauritius  Iran  Denmark
 Malaysia  Indonesia  China
 Lithuania  India  Chile
 Latvia  Iceland  Burma
 Korea  Germany  Brunei
 Kiribati  Finland  Belgium
Kenya  Fiji  Austria

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.

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.