Becoming an Australian citizen gives you privileges and responsibilities in joining a unique national community. Citizenship gives you the opportunity to wholly participate in building the Australian democratic nation.
Of course, you’ve automatically become an Australian citizen when you are born in Australia through your Australian parents or permanent resident parents.
Another way is to apply and be accepted for citizenship under such circumstances:
If you migrated to Australia and meet the eligibility requirements you can apply for citizenship by conferral. Citizenship by conferral means to be given citizenship.
If you were born overseas to an Australian parent you can apply for citizenship by descent.
If you were adopted by an Australian citizen you can apply for citizenship by adoption.
If you lost or gave up your citizenship you can apply for citizenship by resumption.
The process of becoming Australian citizen may vary depending on the application requirements but generally, you will need to do the following:
Determine which type of application for citizenship suits your personal circumstances
Check that you are eligible to apply for your selected application type
Gather your original documents that prove your identity, show you are of good character and support your eligibility
Complete and lodge your application with the necessary documents and appropriate fee
Wait to find out if you have been approved and, if you applied for citizenship by conferral attend a citizenship ceremony to legalize the decision.
Children under 16 years of age are usually included on a responsible parent’s application form but can apply on their own behalf in some circumstances.
According to Australian Government (Department of Immigration and Citizenship), there are 10 steps in the application process. The time it takes to apply for and be granted Australian citizenship varies.
STEP ONE: Applicant’s Eligibility
Generally, in applying for Australian citizenship you will need the following:
You must be a permanent resident.
You must meet the residence eligibility requirement.
You must be likely to reside in Australia or to maintain a close connection with Australia.
You must be of good character if you are 18 years old and above.
There are two categories of eligibility:
Form 1300t Australian citizenship – General eligibility commonly used for applicants:
aged 18 years and over and under 60 years of age
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.
Form 1290 Australian citizenship – Other situations commonly used for applicants:
STEP TWO: Residence Requirement
The residence requirement is based on the time you have lived in Australia and the instance you have spent outside Australia.
have been living in Australia on a valid four-year Australian visa before applying, including the last 12 months as a permanent resident, and
not have been out from Australia for more than a year in total, in the 4 year period, which must includes no more than 90 days in the year before applying.
STEP THREE: Australian Citizenship Resource Book
The Australian citizenship test resource book contains everything that you will need to pass the citizenship test. The book also contains useful information for those people who have a citizenship interview.
STEP FOUR: Gathering Original Documents
You will need to provide variety of documents to:
prove your identity,
establish links between all names you have used,
prove you have not had any serious criminal convictions,
to apply for variations to the residence requirement or fees.
As a guide to original documents required, you will need the document checklist.
STEP FIVE: Complete Application Form
To help you understand how to complete your application form. You must read the checklist.
STEP SIX: Lodging Application Form
Making an application in Australia
If you lodge your citizenship application online you can attach all of your required documents and bring the original documents to your citizenship appointment.
Also bring a completed Identity declaration and correctly endorsed photographs for yourself and any children included in your application, to your appointment.
If you lodge your citizenship application through paper it is a must to attach certified copies of original documents.
Do not post original documents with your application.
If you are applying for citizenship by conferral you will usually be in Australia when you apply because of the residential requirement, and the requirement to be in the country when the decision on your application is made.
Read the information about the application fee and how to pay it before lodging your application.
Making an application outside Australia
If you are overseas when lodging your application for citizenship by conferral, you should send your application along with certified copies of all required documents by post or courier directly to the Overseas Citizenship Unit at the department’s Melbourne Office in Australia. Do not post original documents with your application.
You cannot lodge your application online when applying outside of Australia.
STEP SEVEN: Attend Citizenship Appointment
When the citizenship department receives your application you will be invited to attend a citizenship appointment (for interview and citizenship test). The department will send you a letter with your appointment details and further information.
At your appointment, a departmental officer will confirm your eligibility for Australian citizenship, check your original documents, verify your identity and ensure that you have satisfied all the requirements.
It is very important that you attend your appointment. If you do not, your application may be refused.
STEP EIGHT: Take Citizenship Test or 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 life in Australia and what it means to be an Australian citizen. It will test your understanding of the responsibilities of citizenship as well as the rights that you will enjoy once you become a citizen.
If you are not required to sit the test you may have a citizenship interview. At the interview we will confirm you understand the nature of your citizenship application, have a basic knowledge of the English language and understand the privileges and responsibilities of Australian citizenship.
STEP NINE: 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 TEN: Attend a Citizenship Ceremony
After your application has been approved you will need to attend a citizenship ceremony and make the Australian Citizenship Pledge to complete the process of becoming an Australian citizen.
Generally, you will be invited to attend a citizenship ceremony within three months, but waiting times between local councils may 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.
Becoming an Australian citizen means that you have commitment and responsibilities and all this country stands for. Australian citizenship is a privilege that offers rewards.
The strength of the Australian community depends on the people who must work together to solve all problems arising and to make it the best country.
Responsibilities and Privileges of Australian Citizenship
According to Australian government, when you become a citizen of Australia, you will have new responsibilities. You will also have a range of new benefits and rewards.
Responsibilities– what you will give Australia.
As an Australian citizen you must:
obey the law
defend Australia should the need arise
serve on a jury if called to do so
vote in federal and state or territory elections, and in a referendum
Privileges – what Australia will give you.
As an Australian citizen, you have the right to:
vote in federal and state or territory elections, and in a referendum
apply for work in the Australian Public Service or in the Australian Defence Force
seek election to parliament
apply for an Australian passport and re-enter Australia freely
receive help from an Australian official while overseas
register children born overseas as Australian citizens by descent
Australians believe in the dignity, freedom, and equality of men and women and the rule of law. Australian citizenship is about living out these values in your everyday life. By becoming an Australian citizen you can call it your home and say ‘I am Australian’.