Immigration And Citizenship
Australia is a megadiverse country, is the fourteenth-largest economy and has tenth-highest per capita income. It is a beautiful country and in every corner, you’ll find unique experiences and landscapes bursting with colour, culture and natural beauty. The essence of Australia can be discovered as much by spending time in its thriving, cosmopolitan cities as it can undertaking an epic journey along its awe-inspiring coast.
In the recent “Economic Recovery Plan For Australia”, the Government has taken numerous measure to build the economy. The reforms include delivering lower taxes for families and businesses to support consumption and stimulate investment, creating new jobs, economic security for women, tax concessions and business incentives making it easier to do business and investing in infrastructure.
Being an Australian citizen is a privilege not a right. As an Australian citizen, you are eligible for certain entitlements. 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
· Seek election to parliament, if you are aged 18 years or over and are not dual citizen
· Register the birth of your children in another country as an Australian citizen
You must meet criteria before you apply. Conferral and descent are the most common ways to apply. Become an Australian citizen (by conferral).
Permanent residents or New Zealand citizens. This is for:
· Australian permanent residents aged 18-59
· Children aged 16 or 17
· Children 15 years or younger applying with a parent or guardian
· Commonwealth Child Migration Scheme migrants
· Eligible New Zealand citizens
· Partners or spouses of an Australian citizen
· Refugees or humanitarian migrants
Cost. AUD285; no cost for a child 15 years or younger applying with a parent. Other exemptions and concessions apply.
Processing times. From application to the ceremony 24-30 months depend case to case.
· Be a permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen when you apply and when we decide your application
· Be in Australia when we decide on your application in most cases
· Have spent time in Australia and know about our country
· Intend to live in Australia or maintain a lasting link with Australia while overseas
Things to note
· This information is for people 59 years old and under. If you are 60 years old or older, other rules applies.
· You can include a dependent child aged 15 years or younger in your application at no additional cost. The child must be a permanent resident.
· If a responsible parent is not applying to become an Australian citizen, a child 15 years or younger can apply on their own and must pay the associated fee.
· You cannot include a dependent child aged 16 or 17 on your application. They must apply on their own by following the process outlined on this page. The child must be a permanent resident.
You must also meet these criteria:
The authorities consider the amount of time you have lived in Australia in the last 4 years. In certain cases, you may be exempted from this requirement.
Meet the general residence requirement, at the time you apply you must have been:
· Living in Australia on a valid visa for the past 4 years
· A permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen for the past 12 months
· Away from Australia for no more than 12 months in total in the past 4 years, including no more than 90 days in total in the past 12 months
For children 16 or 17 years old, if meeting this requirement would cause significant hardship or disadvantage, you will need to provide proof. Children under 16 do not need to meet the general residence requirement but must be permanent resident.
Calculate your permanent residence. Your residency starts on the date:
· When granted the permanent visa when you were in Australia, or
· You first entered Australia on a permanent visa
General exemptions. You do not need to meet the residence requirement if you:
· Are under 16 years
· Were born to a former Australian citizen who lost their citizenship before 4 April 2002
· Were born in Papua before 16 September 1975 and one of your parents was born in Australia and was an Australian citizen when you were born.
You must be of ‘good character’ if you are 18 years or over. Good character is the ‘enduring moral qualities of a person’.
When assess good character, consider whether you are likely to:
· Uphold and obey the laws of Australia
· Meet the other commitments made through the citizenship pledge
· Any recorded criminal convictions
· Obligations you may have to a court in Australia or overseas
· Your association with people of concern
· Incidents of reported domestic violence
· Whether you have been honest in your dealings with the Australian community, including providing false or misleading information in relation to a visa or citizenship application
You must understand what it means to be an Australian citizen. To assess this, most applicants will sit the citizenship test. At the time you have an appointment, you must know about:
· Australia and its people
· Australia’s democratic beliefs, rights and liberties, and
· Government and the law in Australia
If you score 75% or more in citizenship test, then you meet the knowledge requirement.
You need a basic knowledge of the English language to become an Australian citizen.
English is our national language. Communicating in English helps you to live a full life in Australia.
If you score 75% or more in the citizenship test, then you meet the language requirement.
Some applicants do not have to sit the test but must have an interview to show they:
· Understand what it means to become an Australian citizen.
· Have an adequate knowledge of the responsibilities and privileges of Australian citizenship.
You must intend to live in Australia or maintain a close and continuing association with Australia while overseas.
Citizenship is a privilege that requires a long-term commitment to Australia.
We may consider if you have:
· A child who is an Australian citizen
· A partner who is an Australian citizen and your time together
· Extended family in Australia
· Spent time in Australia
· A bank account in Australia
· A job in Australia
· Paid income tax in Australia
· Property in Australia
Identity. Your application may not be approved if authorities are not satisfied of your identity. Identity is assessed from birth.
· When proceedings for an offence against an Australian law (including proceedings by way of appeal or review) are pending.
· When it is less than 2 years since you were released from prison after serving a prison sentence of 12 months or more, or 10 years if you are a repeat offender.
· You are subject to certain conditions set by an Australian court (such as being released on parole, good behaviour or bail) where action may be taken against you for breach of those conditions.
· You are in prison or a psychiatric institution by order of the court at the time of decision.
Risk to National security. If you are assessed as a risk to the security of Australia.
Former citizen. If applicant ceased to be an Australian citizen in the past 12 months.
Location at time of application approval. If you apply for Australian citizenship on the basis of meeting the requirements for:
· General eligibility
· Having a permanent or enduring physical or mental incapacity, or
· Being a person aged 60 or over or having a hearing, speech or sight impairment
The authority may not approve your citizenship application if you are outside Australia at the time we decide your application, unless:
· You satisfied one of the special residence requirements, or
· The spouse or interdependent partner discretion was applied to assist you to meet the general residence requirement
Step 1. Make sure you are eligible. You need to meet our requirements before you apply.
Step 2. Prepare your documents
You need to give evidence that you meet the requirements. The authorities need:
· Original police certificates
· Scans of your original documents if you are applying online
· Certified copies of all other documents if you have to lodge a paper application
· As much information as possible to help us decide your application
· Each document only once, even if you are using it to show more than one thing
· All documents with your application if you can
Step 3. Apply for citizenship
You can apply and pay online whether you are in Australia or overseas. In some situations, you must apply on paper. Submit your citizenship application online in ImmiAccount.
Step 4. Come to your appointment
Most people aged between 18 and 59 years will have an interview with us, and sit the citizenship test. Others might only have an interview with us. We will send you an appointment letter with the details. The time from when you apply to your appointment date varies, but can take several months.
Step 5. Wait for our decision
Provide us with any extra documents we ask for, and let us know if any of your circumstances change.
Step 6. Outcome
The authority will notify you in writing. You will receive a letter when a decision has been made on your application.
Step 7. Attend a citizenship ceremony
Most applicants for citizenship by conferral must attend a citizenship ceremony and 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 vary.