What is the process to apply for Australian citizenship in 2020?
Posted on December 17, 2019
Australian citizenship is the dream of many migrants who have managed to get a permanent residency in Australia. The citizenship process may look long and expensive, but if you follow each step diligently and are well-prepared for each step in the process, then it will be easy to get your citizenship. This post will give you details of the Australian citizenship process for 2020.
With Australian citizenship, you get numerous rights and privileges which includes the right of entry into Australia, the right to vote in elections and eligibility to apply for government services. Before you start the process of applying for citizenship, check if you are eligible for citizenship. The general eligibility requirements include:
- Applicants must have a PR visa
- They must be above 18 years
- They must satisfy the residency requirement
- They are most likely to reside or continue to live in Australia
- They should have a good character
This is based on the period you have lived in Australia and the time you have spent outside the country. The residence requirements include:
Must have been living in Australia on a valid visa for four years before the date of application
Must have lived the last 12 months as a permanent resident
Must not have been away from Australia for more than one year in this four-year period
Must have not been away from the country for more than 90 days in the year you are applying for the PR visa
Citizenship test or interview:
If you meet the eligibility requirements, you will be called for a citizenship test or an interview. The test or interview will basically test your understanding of the Australian traditions, values, history, and national symbols. This test is required to ensure you can participate in the community and in turn integrate into society successfully.
In order to take the test, you must be a permanent resident of the country and prove your identity when registering for the test.
Applicants who are below 18 years or above 60 years are exempt from giving the test. Those who have an impairment related to hearing, speech or vision are exempted from giving the test.
Provide the original documents:
You must submit your original documents when applying for citizenship. These documents must prove:
- Your identity
- You have no serious criminal record
- Links between the various names you have used
Complete your application form:
Ensure that you give answers to all the questions in the application form.
Submit your application form:
You can either apply online or post a paper application form to the nearest department office. The application form must be accompanied by documents which prove your identity. However, ensure you do not submit any original documents with your application.
You will have to bring the original documents when attending the citizenship appointment. Other documents you must bring with you include an identity declaration, your endorsed photos and those of any children included in your application.
Understand the instructions about paying your application fees and the amount before submitting your application form.
Attend your citizenship appointment:
Once you submit your application, you will receive an appointment notification from the immigration department. During the appointment, an authorized officer will check all your original documents and verify your identity. You will also need to take a citizenship test or interview.
Get the notification on the department’s decision on your application:
You can get a decision on your citizen application provided you have submitted a complete application form, with the original documents and paid the required fees. You can check on the service standard for processing your application by referring to the Client Service Charter. If you don’t receive the notification in the stipulated time you should contact the department. It is necessary for you to be in the country when a decision is made.
Attend the citizenship ceremony:
Once you receive the notification that your application has been approved, you will have to attend a citizenship ceremony and take the Australian Citizenship Pledge.
This ceremony is usually held within six months of approval of your application. If children under 15 were included in your application form, they will also become citizens when you take the pledge.
Processing time for Australian citizenship:
The processing time for citizenship applications generally varies between 19-25 months. A citizenship application under the general category takes about 19 months to two years. This includes the period from the date of application to the decision and the date of approval to the citizenship ceremony.
If the processing of your application does not happen in the stipulated time, there could be various reasons for this:
- Failure to submit the complete application or the supporting documents
- Time taken by the department to cross-check the information you provide to them
- Time taken by other agencies to provide information related to character and national security
The Department of Home Affairs of the Australian government recently introduced certain reforms to streamline the application process for citizenship to reduce the processing time. The number of applicants has increased in recent times owing to the high quality of life and career opportunities Australia offers.
If you follow the application process diligently you have very good chances of getting your citizenship in Australia.