Australia is a nation of immigrants. Every year, thousands of migrants make their way to the Land Down Under to start a new life and live the Australian dream. In fact, this continent of a country is one of the most diverse nations on Earth, with a foreign-born population exceeding 20%. But many migrants do not have proper knowledge of how to apply to the Australian government for Australian citizenship . That’s what we’re here to change!
Metropolises like Sydney and Melbourne are incredibly cosmopolitan, with people of all ethnicities living there. Australia has only one official language recognized by the Australian government, English, which serves as the lingua franca between all these groups.
People who live in Australia can be grouped into temporary residents, permanent residents, refugees (non-citizens who were victims of a humanitarian crisis), citizens by birth (citizen by being born in Australia), citizens by descent (citizen where parents were Australian citizens), and citizens by conferral (citizen by passing the naturalization test and associated processes). This article will concentrate on the latter.
However, there is a difference between a permanent resident and an Australian Citizenship certificate holder! The latter enjoys various duties and privileges which the former doesn’t. This article will explain all you need to know on how to apply for Australian citizenship, the documents you need, the rights and duties associated with Australian citizenship, and the myriad other questions related to this topic.
The Australian Citizenship Certificate is a document given to naturalized citizens of Australia to mark the final stage of Australian naturalization and citizenship process for immigrants residing in Australia, with the citizenship ceremony happening within six months of its approval. It serves as the official proof that the holder is an Australian citizen, and is given by the government of Australia.
It has two unique numerical codes, the stock number, and the evidence number, that are verified by the Australian Department of Home Affairs. These numbers are unique to every Australian Citizenship Certificate and serve as proof of authenticity.
To apply to become an Australian citizen means making a commitment to Australia and all that it stands for. The requirements in Australia are comparatively extremely lenient, considering Australia’s cultural and linguistic diversity. The conditions and steps for acquiring Australian Citizenship are listed below:
The permanent residence requirements for the Australian citizenship application (except citizens of New Zealand) are-
There are special exemptions for citizens of New Zealand. New Zealand and Australia share a special relation. For many years, Australia has been in an arrangement with New Zealand called the Australia-New Zealand Trans-Tasman Travel Agreement. Thus those who are citizens of New Zealand should check out the New Zealand page on the website to learn the special requirements for New Zealand. New Zealand and Australia also have a strong cricket rivalry!
All people who apply for Australian citizenship must sit for and pass the citizenship exam. Those covered by extraordinary circumstances (under 18, over 60, lack of hearing, speech or sight, or any other impairment) are exempted from this, though.
The test will examine the examinee’s English skills, as well as help future Australian citizens get an understanding of Australia’s values, traditions, history, and national symbols. It is an integralpart of ensuring the capacity to fully participate in the Australian community as a citizen. It also promotes social cohesion and cultural integration into the Commonwealth of Australia.
Dual Citizenship is also a popular option in Australia. To know more about it, click here
The Australian Ministry of Immigration government agency reserves the right to refuse Australian citizenship to anyone for the following reasons.
However, even if your citizenship is rejected on one of the above grounds, you can still file an appeal at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal government agency within the timeframe specified on your refusal letter.
You can apply for Australian citizenship online by:
Please be sure to go through the website thoroughly before submitting your application!
Depending on the Department of Home Affairs form you use to file your citizenship application, the cost of the government fees ranges from $180 to $285. Here is a breakdown:
Form 118 - This is the citizenship by descent form for people who have at least one parent/both parents who was an Australian citizen. The fee is $230.
Yes, Australia allows citizens to hold dual citizenship of other countries if the laws of those countries allow. In fact, you can even hold the citizenship of multiple other countries, especially New Zealand!
People can become dual citizens automatically if they hold the citizenship of another compatible country at the time of acquiring Australian citizenship. Conversely, you can also become a dual citizen, if, as an Australian citizen, you are granted citizenship of another country.
As an example, a citizen of Australia can automatically gain dual citizenship in another country through marriage, or a permanent resident in Australia can acquire dual citizenship upon becoming an Australian citizen.
There is, however, an exception in that public representatives (elected members of the Australian Parliament) cannot hold Australian citizenship. In fact, in 2017, there was a citizenship crisis in the Australian Parliament, when several Members of Parliament discovered they had unknowingly been dual citizens from their parents.
These rules regarding dual citizenship are quite new, as, before 4 April 2002, any Australian citizen who became the citizen of another country automatically lost their Australian citizenship.
The documents you need to apply for the Australian citizenship process are divided into three categories. Category I (proof of identity), Category II (evidence of good character), and Category III (supporting documents). They include:
After filing your citizenship application, the Australian Department of Home Affairs aims to process your request within 10 to 14 months from the time you apply. After receiving your Australian citizenship certificate, the citizenship swearing-in ceremony will happen in 6 months.
All new citizens of Australia are required to take a solemn oath of loyalty to Australia and commitment to its security, progress, and principles of democracy and the rule of law. The wording of the Oath of Allegiance has changed. The last change happened in 1986. The wording was -
“I swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Australia, Her heirs, and successors according to law and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Australia and fulfill my duties as an Australian citizen.”
In 1994 the Oath was replaced with a Pledge of Commitment to Australia:
“From this time forward, under God,
I pledge my loyalty to Australia and its people,
whose democratic beliefs I share,
whose rights and liberties I respect, and
whose laws I will uphold and obey.”
All new citizens have the choice of making the pledge with (Pledge 1) or without (Pledge 2) the words ‘under God’, according to their religious beliefs.
The last step in the process of acquiring Australian Citizenship is to attend the Australian citizenship ceremony! This is, in many ways, the most critical step of all! Citizenship in Australia is not granted after meeting all the above requirements or passing the citizenship test. Instead, Australian citizenship is actually granted at the Australian Citizenship Ceremony.
This ceremony generally takes place within three months after approval of your application by the Department of Home Affairs. However, the waiting time will vary between the various local councils.
The invitation to the ceremony, along with the relevant details, will be sent to you by the local council. It is at the citizenship ceremony that you will finally take the Oath of allegiance as the ultimate stage of the procedure of becoming a citizen of Australia. This is compulsory; every qualified adult applicant mandatorily must attend this. There are sporadic exceptions made for this, though.
I hope you found this article on how to apply for Australian citizenship informative and helpful. Australia is a nation descended from the ships, and they continue to uphold their commitment to being a place of refuge for the world’s people, and a significant destination for migrants worldwide. Stay tuned for more great blogs about all aspects of Australia regularly! Thank you for reading!