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Australia - Citizenship
Australian citizenship can be claimed by those who are migrants with permanent residency status, the spouse or partner of somebody who already has Australian citizenship, a New Zealand citizen who is resident in Australia, the children of former citizens of the country, those who arrived on the Commonwealth Child Migration Scheme, refugees or those born in Papua before 1975. Citizenship by descent can be claimed by those who are born in another country but one or both parents are Australian citizens. In a similar way, those who are adopted by Australian citizens can apply.
In order to apply for citizenship as a migrant who has permanent status, you need to ensure that you meet the minimum residence requirement. You must also be able to demonstrate that you intend to continue living in Australia. You also need to demonstrate that you are of good character. There are separate forms for those who are under 18, over 60 or between the two. In order to meet the residence requirement you need to have lived in Australia with a valid visa for at least the four years prior to application. One of those years must have been spent as a permanent resident. You cannot have been out of the country for more than one year during that time, and for not more than 3 months in the 12 month period prior to application.
You need to ensure that you understand what it means to be an Australian citizen and there is a resource book about the citizenship test which can be ordered or downloaded from the Australian Immigration Department website. This is also useful for those who will be required to sit an interview.
There is a certain amount of documentation required to support your application and these are used to establish your identity and character. If you choose to make your application online you will need to take along your documentation to the appointment you make for your citizenship interview. If you choose to apply by post you can enclose photocopies with your application form and take the originals along to the interview for checking.
Documents which show your photograph, current address, signature, date of birth and birth name are required. This includes passports, marriage certificates and birth certificates. You need to include travel documents which detail your movements since you arrived in Australia. Also included should be documentation to prove good character in the form of penal clearance certificates from other countries if you have lived there since your Australian visa was issued. There should also be included any documentation relating to children that are also on the application.
When you have completed and lodged your application form you need to attend the citizenship appointment. You may be asked to undergo a test or an interview, depending upon which one applies to you. At the appointment an officer will check all your documentation, confirm your identity and determine if you are eligible for citizenship. The test and interview are to determine if you have an understanding of Australian life and all questions are based on the resource book available from the immigration department.
Most applications are decided within 60 days and you must be in the country for this otherwise your decision will be delayed. If your application is successful you will need to attend a citizenship ceremony and take the citizenship pledge to complete the process. This usually takes place within 6 months of the decision.
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