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Australian Citizenship

Brief Summary of Australian Citizenship

Australian citizenship is a completely separate subject to permanent residence or living in Australia and the two should not be confused. Many people who move to Australia never become Australian Citizens as travel on their original passport when they go overseas. It is optional to become an Australian Citizen, though permanent residence visa holders enjoy most of the same rights and privileges that Australian Citizens do. Though you cannot vote in State, Territory or Federal elections, you cannot apply for an Australian passport and you do not have access to Australian Consular assistance when you are outside Australia (as have to call on the country under which passport you are travelling.

You should also be aware that some countries can automatically revoke your citizenship if you become a citizen of Australia by naturalisation, so it is wise to check with your original country if you want to retain your citizenship before you apply to become an Australian citizen.

To qualify for Australian Citizenship you will need to meet the following requirements:

  • You must have lived in Australia as a lawfully regarded Australian resident for the four years prior to making an application for Australian Citizenship (including time spent on a temporary residence visa)
  • You must have lived in Australia as a permanent resident for the last 12 months prior to applying for citizenship.
  • You must not have been absent from Australia for more than one year in total in the last four years, including not more than 90 days in the last year before applying for Australian Citizenship.

The citizenship process involves completing and lodging an application for citizenship form which can be completed online or by completing a paper application for yourself and any children included in your application. Once your form has been received by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, you will be invited to attend a citizenship appointment which may include either a citizenship test or an interview (if you are not required to sit the test). The Department will notify you of their decision to grant citizenship and you must be in Australia at the time that the citizenship decision is made.

For more information and how to apply for Australian Citizenship, visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s Citizenship Website.

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