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How long does it take to become an Australian citizen, and what rights and responsibilities come with it?

Julianne Leybag
28 March 2018 3 minute readShare
australian citizenship application passport

Along with having various rights and privileges, becoming an Australian citizen has a lot of exciting opportunities.

Processing and waiting times may vary depending on the specific situation and circumstance of the applicant. Applications are assessed on a case-to-case basis, thus the duration of these processes are affected by individual circumstances that include the following:

  • Time consumed by attending a citizenship ceremony or receiving a citizenship certificate if citizenship application is via conferral
  • Whether the application lodged is complete, meaning it includes all required and necessary supporting documents and/or pieces of evidence/proof
  • Response time to request for additional information, which means the more prompt the response time is, the faster it will take for the process to be completed
  • The time it takes to do required checks and inspections on provided supporting information
  • The time it takes for said additional information to be received from sources or external agencies, particularly information related to health, character, and national security requirements

 When it comes to applying for Australian citizenship, the following is required:

  • Be a permanent resident
  • Meet the residence eligibility requirement
  • Be likely to reside in Australia or establish the maintenance of a  close connection with Australia
  • Establish  good moral character if 18 years old and up

 Applicants must also satisfy the residency requirement, which makes the following compulsory:

  • Have been residing in Australia on a valid four-year Australian visa before lodging their citizenship application, including the last 12 months as a permanent resident
  • Not have been out of the Country for more than a year in total within the four-year period, which includes no more than 90 days in the year before lodging the application

 After gathering all required and necessary documents to prove  eligibility for citizenship application, the following must be accomplished:

  • Complete the application form
  • Lodge the application
  • Attend the citizen appointment
  • Take the citizenship test or interview

 After completing all these, applicants will then have to wait for the decision on their citizenship application. Successful applicants will then have to attend the scheduled and required citizenship ceremony, where they will make your pledge to complete the process of becoming an Australian citizen.

Bear in mind that applicants will ultimately decide on the speed and success of their citizenship application, depending on how complete their application requirements are Lodging an application with all the necessary documents, information, and other requirements—a complete application—will no doubt speed up the citizenship confirmation process.


A person is automatically an Australian citizen when one is born in Australia through an Australian or permanent resident parent. However, if the situation is otherwise, potential citizens could still apply and be accepted if:

  • They were born overseas to an Australian parent (application for citizenship by descent)
  • They were adopted by an Australian citizen (application for citizenship by adoption)
  • They lost or gave up their citizenship (application for citizenship by resumption)
  • They migrated to Australia and have met all the requirements, therefore making them eligible to apply for citizenship by conferral

 Upon becoming an Australian citizen, they will gain key rights, including the right to:

  • Vote
  • Apply for an Australian passport
  • Enter Australia without a visa for Australia (given the existence of an Australian passport)
  • Participate in specific visa programmes with other countries
  • Stand for election in the Australian government
  • Work for and engage in Australian public service
  • Serve under the Australian flag in the army, navy, and the air force
  • Have  overseas-born children given Australian citizenship
  • Have Australian diplomatic and/or consular protection, assistance, and aid when overseas

After becoming an Australian citizen, children who are born on-shore will automatically be Australian citizens. In some cases, Australian citizens will also be allowed multiple citizenships, and of course, the opportunity to be a valuable part of the Australian nation and community. Read more on how to become an Australian citizen.

 The application process varies depending on the applicant’s eligibility for a specific citizenship application type, as well as their application requirements, but regardless of application type, it is necessary to do the following:

  • Determine personal circumstances and then identify the most appropriate application type
  • Confirm application eligibility for the selected application type
  • Gather and compile all required documents proving the applicant’s identity and circumstance and establish your good moral character to confirm  eligibility
  • Lodge and complete  application with all the necessary documents and appropriate fee(s)
  • Wait to find out whether application has been approved for citizenship

How long does it take to become an Australian citizen, and what rights and responsibilities come with it?
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Julianne Leybag

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