How to become an Australian Citizen?
There are different ways in which you can become a citizen of Australia.
- Be an Australian permanent resident and meet certain criteria before you can apply. Most applicants will be required to sit the citizenship test.
- 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.
If your application is approved, you will receive a notification to attend a citizenship ceremony. At the citizenship ceremony, you must make the Australian Citizenship Pledge. This completes the process to become an Australian citizen. You will receive your Australian citizenship certificate at your ceremony.
Interested to find out the criteria of becoming an Australian Citizen? Want to know the benefits and obligations of an Australian Citizen? Let Ascent Lawyers break it down for you below!
1. I am a PR. What are the criteria for applying for Australian citizenship?
You can apply for Australian citizenship if you:
- hold an Australian permanent residency visa
- meet residency requirements:
- lived in Australia in the last 4 years
- held a PR status for at least 1 year of the 4 years
- 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
- applicants over the age of 60 are not required to take the citizenship test
- other applicants are required to score 75% or more on the test and answer all 5 questions on Australian values correctly
- need a basic knowledge of the English language
- must intend to live in Australia or maintain a close and continuing association with Australia while overseas.
2. What is the process of applying for citizenship in Australia?
For permanent residents, the process is as follows：
- fill and submit the citizenship application to the citizenship ceremony
- wait for notification to sit the citizenship test
- pass the citizenship test, await decision
- attend citizenship ceremony, make the Australian Citizenship Pledge, receive citizenship certificate
- apply for Australian passport
If you are unable to satisfy one of the many criteria or have been convicted of a criminal offence, your application may be refused.
If you have any queries when applying for citizenship, please do not hesitate to contact Ascent Lawyers for a consultation to obtain advise that is tailored to your situation.
3. What are the benefits of becoming an Australian citizen?
As an Australian citizen, you can enjoy the following benefits:
- visa-free travel
- no need to renew your visa every 5 years if you intend to travel (Resident Return Visa)
- consular support
- your children can become Australian Citizens even if born overseas
- participate and vote for your chosen political party
- pay domestic fees for education, including HECS-HELP loan
- join the Australian Defence Force
- apply for Federal Government Department jobs
- live and work in New Zealand
4. Can I have dual citizenship?
Australian citizens may also hold the citizenship of another country or countries, if the laws of those countries allow. This is known as dual, or multiple, citizenship.
However, even if a person is also a citizen of another country, an Australian citizen within Australia must follow all Australian laws at all times. Some Australian laws must also be followed by Australian citizens even when they are overseas.
5. How do I renounce my Australian citizenship?
You may be eligible to apply to give up your Australian citizenship if you:
- are 18 years of age or older, already have citizenship of another country
- cannot become a citizen of the country where you were born or are ordinarily resident in while you are an Australian citizen
Children under the age of 16 can apply to renounce their Australian citizenship. A responsible parent usually must make the application on their behalf.
Your application cannot be approved if you do not have another foreign citizenship, it is not in Australia’s interests.
6. Will my citizenship application be refused?
We understand that it is not easy to obtain permanent residency in Australia. Applying for citizenship is no easy feat as well.
Here are a few common reasons for a refusal of an Australian Citizenship:
- failing the citizenship test
- no intention to live in Australia or maintain a close and continuing association with Australia while overseas.
- failure to meet character requirements
- suspected of involvement in extremist groups, etc
If your citizenship application has been refused, you may engage immigration Lawyers at Ascent Lawyers to assist you for the decision to be reviewed by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (‘AAT’).
If you or anyone around you have questions relating to immigration, please do not hesitate to contact us. Ascent Lawyers is always ready to be of your assistance.