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Citizenship

The final step in your migration story

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.

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Introduction

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. 

Australian citizenship is a privilege that offers enormous rewards. By becoming an Australian citizen, you are joining a unique national community. Being an Australian citizen is a privilege. While you are granted entitlements as a citizen of Australia there are important responsibilities you must accept too

You can become a citizen of Australia in different ways. You must meet the Department’s criteria before you apply. Conferral and descent are the most common ways to apply.

Citizenship by Conferral

Becoming a citizen by conferral is a common way to become an Australian citizen. You need to be a permanent resident and meet certain criteria before you can apply.

Eligibility:

When applying for Citizenship by Conferral, you must:

  • be a permanent resident of Australia (and have been a permanent resident for at least the last 12 months)
  • have lawfully resided in Australia for at least the last 4 years
  • not have been outside Australia for more than a total of 1 year in the last 4 years (and no more than 90 days during the last 12 months)
  • be likely to reside in, or maintain a close and continuing connection with, Australia
  • register the birth of your children in another country as an Australian citizen
  • be of ‘good character’ if you are 18 years or over.  

Once the DOHA has determined that you are eligible for the Conferral of citizenship, they will ask you to attend an appointment with a case officer. At this appointment, you will sit the Citizenship test. This contains questions regarding the rights and responsibilities of Australian citizenship, along with questions relating to life in Australia and what it means to be an Australian citizen. Each eligible adult applicant must sit this test. The questions are based on testable information contained in the Australian citizenship test resource book, which you can study before your test.

After you have passed your citizenship test and the DOHA has approved your application, you need to attend a citizenship ceremony, where applicant will make the Australian Citizenship Pledge to become an Australian citizen

Generally, you will receive an invitation to a ceremony within 6 months of your application being approved, but waiting times may vary.

Citizenship by Descent

You could be eligible for Australian Citizenship by Descent if you were born outside Australia and one (or both) of your parents at the time of your birth was also an Australian citizen at that time.

Eligibility:

When applying for Citizenship by conferral, you must:

  • have been born outside Australia
  • ensure that the person you are claiming descent from was your parent at the time of your birth and was also an Australian citizen at the time of your birth
  • be of ‘good character’ if you are 18 years old or over when you apply

Once the DOHA has determined that you are eligible for citizenship, you will not have to attend any test nor the ceremony. The Department will inform you once the application has been approved. 

Entitlements

As an Australian citizen, you can:

  • apply for an Australian passport
  • leave and re-enter Australia as many times as you want
  • ask for help from an Australian consulate if in trouble overseas
  • vote in federal, state or territory elections
  • vote in a Constitutional referendum or plebiscite
  • register the birth of your children in another country as an Australian citizen

Application Fees and processing time

  • Citizenship by Conferral:: $285 – no cost for a child under 16 years applying with a parent.
  • Citizenship by Descent: $230 –  $95 for each sibling who applies at the same time as you.

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