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Australian Citizenship
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Australian Citizenship

Australian citizenship is an important step in your migration story. Becoming an Australian citizen means that you are making an ongoing commitment to Australia and all that this country stands for. It is also the beginning of your formal membership of the Australian community. It is the step that will enable you to say 'I am Australian'.

Applying for Australian Citizenship

The process of applying for Australian citizenship varies depending on your eligibility. There are a number of different application options with different eligibility requirements.

Generally, to apply for Australian citizenship we assist you to:

  • Determine that you are eligible
  • Gather your original documents
  • Copy and certify your documents
  • Complete and lodge your application
  • Assist with exceptional circumstances and special cases.

A decision on your application for citizenship will only be made after you have lodged a completed application form together with the required documents and fee.

How to apply

To apply for Australian citizenship you must first determine if you are eligible.

Click on the citizenship options below and find out how you can apply.

This option is for you if you are a:

  • Migrant with permanent residence

    If you migrated to Australia, have permanent residence, satisfy the residential requirements and are of good character you may be eligible for citizenship.

    All applicants, including children under 16 years of age must be permanent residents at the time of application and also at the time we make a decision on your application.

  • Spouse or partner of an australian citizen

    p>Spouses and partners of Australian citizens do not have an automatic right to Australian citizenship. You will need to apply for citizenship and satisfy the eligibility criteria in the same way as other adult applicants.

    However, you may be eligible for a variation to the residence requirement. This means the time you spent overseas while a permanent resident may be counted as time spent in Australia, providing you can demonstrate a close connection to Australia.

    This also applies to the surviving spouse or partner of an Australian citizen and interdependent partners of Australian citizens.

  • New Zealand citizen living in Australia

    As a New Zealand citizen your eligibility for Australian citizenship depends on whether you arrived in Australia before or after 26 February 2001.

    On arrival in Australia, most New Zealand citizens are automatically granted a Special Category visa (SCV). An SCV is a temporary visa, but it allows the holder to remain and work in Australia. If you were present in Australia on 26 February 2001 as the holder of an SCV, you may be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship.

    On 26 February 2001, the Australian Government announced that New Zealand citizens arriving after 26 February 2001 are required to apply for and be granted a permanent visa if they wish to access certain social security payments, obtain Australian citizenship or sponsor their family members for permanent residence.

  • Child of a former Australian citizen

    If one of your parents lost their Australian citizenship when they acquired citizenship of another country before you were born, you may be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship if you are of good character.

    You will need to produce evidence that:

    • one of your parents was an Australian citizen before your birth, and
    • that parent lost their Australian citizenship by acquiring the citizenship of another country, as an adult, before 4 April 2002.
  • Child aged 16 or 17 years

    You must be a permanent resident at the time you apply for citizenship and when a decision is made on your application. You also need to:

    • satisfy the residence requirement at the time of your application (or show that you would suffer significant hardship or disadvantage if you had to meet this requirement)
    • understand the nature of your application
    • have a basic knowledge of the English language
    • have an adequate knowledge of the responsibilities and privileges of Australian citizenship
    • be likely to reside or continue to reside in Australia, or maintain a close and continuing association with Australia.
  • Child aged 15 years or under or an unaccompanied minor

    If you intend to apply for Australian citizenship on your own, you must be a permanent resident when you apply and when a decision is made on your application. You also need to be living with:

    • a responsible parent who is an Australian citizen or
    • a responsible parent who is not an Australian citizen and you would otherwise suffer significant hardship or disadvantage.

    Your application form must be signed by the responsible parent you live with.

  • Commonwealth Child Migration Scheme arrival

    Many unaccompanied children arrived in Australian under the Commonwealth Child Migration Scheme. Most came from the United Kingdom and some from Malta, between 22 September 1947 and 31 December 1967.

    You will need to produce evidence of your former child migrant status with your application for Australian citizenship. You can get this through the Child Migrants Trust. The service is free.

    You are entitled to a fee exemption

  • Refugee or humanitarian entrant

    Generally you may be eligible for citizenship if you arrived in Australia as a refugee or humanitarian entrant and you:

    • are a permanent resident
    • satisfy the residence requirements
    • are of good character.

    If you are 18 years or older you must live in Australia for 4 years on your permanent residency visa before you can apply for Australian citizenship.

    During that 4 years, you may leave Australia for periods that total one year. In the year immediately before you apply, you must have been in Australia for 9 months or more.

    When you apply, you will be required to complete an application form, pay a fee, and sit and pass a citizenship test to show that you can speak basic English and that you have a knowledge of Australia and the responsibilities and privileges of Australian citizenship.

    You will also have to bring original documents to show that you are a permanent resident in Australia, and prove your identity and good character.

  • Person born in Papua before independence in 1975

    You may be eligible for Australian citizenship if you were born in Papua before independence on 16 September 1975 and:

    • one of your parents was born in Australia as we now know it.
    • your parent was an Australian citizen at the time of your birth
    • you are of good character

Application process for Australian citizenship

There are 10 steps in the application process.

The time it takes to apply for and be granted Australian citizenship varies.

  • Step 1. Determine that you are eligible to apply

    In general, to apply for citizenship you will need to:

    • be a migrant who is a permanent resident
    • satisfy the residence requirement
    • be likely to reside, or to continue to reside, in Australia or to maintain a close and continuing association with Australia
    • be of good character if you are 18 years of age or over.
    • Have functional English

    There are two categories of eligibility:

    1. General eligibility commonly used for applicants:
      • aged 18 years and over and under 60 years of age.
    1. Other situations commonly used for applicants:
    • aged under 18 years or over 60 years of age
    • who suffer from a permanent loss or substantial impairment of hearing, speech or sight
    • who have an enduring physical or mental incapacity that means they are not capable of understanding the nature of the application.
  • Step 2. Ensure you meet the residence requirement

    The residence requirement is based on the time you have lived in Australia and the time you have spent outside Australia.

    You must:

    • have been living in Australia on a Permanent Resident visa for four years immediately before applying, and
    • not have been absent from Australia for more than 12 months in total, in the 4 year period, including no more than 90 days in the year before applying.
  • Step 3. Prepare for your citizenship test or interview

    Ensure you understand what Australian citizenship involves.

    • Applicants who fail three attempts at the citizenship test have a two-year ban on applying for citizenship; and
    • Applicants who attempt to cheat during the citizenship test receiving an automatic fail.
  • Step 4. Gather your original documents

    You must provide original documents.

    You will need to provide a range of documents to

    • prove your identity,
    • establish links between all names you have used,
    • establish you have not had any serious criminal convictions
    • to apply for variations to the residence requirement or fees.
    • Show evidence that applicant has integrated into the Australian community, e.g. employment, being a member of a community organisation and school enrolment (for eligible children)
    • Functional English test result
  • Step 5. Complete your application form

    There is a checklist to help you understand how to complete your application form. Ensure you complete all the questions in the application.

  • Step 6. Lodge your application form

    Applying in Australia

    Apply online or post your paper application to your nearest departmental office. Whether you apply online or on a paper application, you must attach certified copies of your identity and other documents. Do not post original documents with your application.

    You will then need to bring your original documents with you to your citizenship appointment. You must also bring a completed Identity declaration and correctly endorsed photographs for yourself and any children included in your application.

    Read the information about the application fee and how to pay it before lodging your application. In some circumstances, it is not possible to lodge your application online, for example, if you are seeking a fee concession or exemption.

    Applying from outside Australia

    If you are outside Australia, you can apply online or lodge a paper application. Send your paper application to the Overseas Citizenship Unit at our Canberra office in Australia.

    Certified copies of all the required documents need to be attached to your online or paper application. Do not post original documents.

    Read the information about the application fee and how to pay it before lodging your application. In some circumstances, it is not possible to lodge your application online, for example, if you are seeking a fee concession or exemption.

  • Step 7. Attend your citizenship appointment

    After the department receives your application, you will be invited to a citizenship appointment. The Department will send you a letter with your appointment details and further information.

    At your appointment, an authorised officer will check your original documents and verify your identity. You will also take a citizenship test or have an interview, whichever applies.

    You must bring your original documents to your appointment.

    Your application may be refused if you do not attend your appointment.

    Allow up to two hours for your appointment.

  • Step 8. Take the citizenship test or have a citizenship interview

    You are usually required to take a citizenship test if you are aged 18 years and over and under 60 years of age. The citizenship test is designed to encourage you to find out more about Australian Values and what it means to be an Australian citizen. It will test your understanding of Australian Values as well as the rights that you will enjoy once you become a citizen.

  • Step 9. Receive notification of the department's decision

    A decision on your application for citizenship can only be made after you have lodged a completed application together with the required original documents and fee.

    The Client Service Charter provides details on the service standard for processing an application for Australian citizenship. If you do not receive notification within the time given in the charter you should contact the Citizenship Information Line on 131 880.

    You must tell the department if you change your address, and you must be in the country at the time a decision is made. You may need to defer your travel plans or, if your travel is urgent contact the department for advice.

  • Step 10. Attend a citizenship ceremony

    When you receive notification that your application has been approved, you will usually need to attend a citizenship ceremony and make the Australian Citizenship Pledge. This completes the process of becoming an Australian citizen.

    Usually your ceremony will be held within six months from the time your application is approved, but waiting times between local councils can vary.

    If you have children under 16 years of age who were included on your application form they will become Australian citizens when you make the Pledge.

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