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How to become an Australian citizen

Julianne Leybag
28 March 2018 3 minute readShare
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Along with rights and privileges that comes with being an Australian citizen, there are interesting opportunities for business owners who want to become an Australian citizen. Read on for a list of things to account for when applying for an Australian citizenship.

Aside from being a natural-born Australian it is actually possible to become an Australian citizen after lodging a citizenship application depending on the applicant’s personal circumstances:

  • Application for citizenship by descent — applicant was born overseas to an Australian parent
  • Application for citizenship by adoption — applicant was adopted by an Australian citizen
  • Application for citizenship by resumption — applicant has either lost or gave up their citizenship
  • Application for citizenship by conferral — applicant has migrated to Australia and has now met all the requirements, making them eligible for citizenship conferral

Six new requirements have been announced to apply for and acquire Australian citizenship:

  • All applicants must pass a standalone English examination that includes proficiencies in reading, writing, listening, and speaking the language
  • Applicants must have lived in Australia as a permanent resident for at least four continuous years
  • The citizenship examination will be amended and strengthened with new and more meaningful items to effectively assess the applicant’s knowledge, understanding, and commitment to shared Australian national values and responsibilities
  • Applicants must be able to show the steps they have taken in order to successfully integrate into and contribute to the Australian community; evidence will be required, such as certificate of employment, proof of community organisation(s) membership(s), and school enrolment for eligible children
  • An applicant can fail the citizenship examination a maximum of three times only
  • Cheating during the citizenship examination will automatically result in a failing mark for the applicant

The following are required with regards to completing an application for Australian citizenship:

  • Eligibility
  • Residence requirement(s)
  • Other required documents
  • Official document translations
  • Australian Citizenship Resource Book
  • Application form completion
  • Application form submission
  • Citizenship appointment
  • Citizenship exam and/or interview
  • Decision


Before initiating the Australian citizenship application process, applicants need to be certain that they are indeed eligible to apply for citizenship. Applicants must be able to satisfy certain conditions requiring that they should accomplish the following:

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

Residence requirement(s)

After taking into account the above eligibility requirements, the next step is to prepare and provide all of the necessary documents that will prove that the applicant has lived continuously and legally in Australia for the past four years. To establish this residency requirement—and therefore the applicant’s eligibility to apply for citizenship—applicants must be able to provide acceptable documents which contain their current address, as well as other important information. These documents include:

  • Lease or rental contract
  • Utility bill (gas, electricity, or water)
  • Bank statement
  • MediCare or insurance letter
  • Any other similar document bearing the applicant’s permanent Australian address

Other required documents

Aside from the above residency documents, applicants will also need to provide other relevant documents, such as:

  • Identity documents — any document with the applicant’s photograph and signature, proving their identity; driver’s licence, passport, or national identity card are examples of acceptable documents
  • Birth certificate — bearing the applicant’s date of birth, birth name, and any name changes if applicable
  • Passport-style photograph — the photo must be taken within the last six months

 Please note that above documents are the minimum requirements for supporting documents. Applicants may be required to provide additional documents and evidence based on their personal situation.

Official document translations

All documents sent to the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) must be in English or must have corresponding official English translations. By official, we mean a translation done by an accredited translator.

Australian Citizenship Resource Book

Applicants will need—and need to study—the Australian Citizenship Resource Book in order for them to pass the citizenship examination. The book contains everything applicants need to know about how to pass the said examination.

Application form completion

Citizenship applicants are encouraged to visit the DIBP’s official website for a checklist of things needed on the form in order for applicants to complete their Australian citizenship application form.

Application form submission

Applicants can lodge their citizenship application online, or on paper then post the form to the nearest departmental office. Applicants should make sure that they have completed answering all the questions in the said form and have attached all the required documents. Applicants should also remember to bring their original documents to their citizenship appointment.

Citizenship appointment

Upon receiving the application, the citizenship department will invite the applicant to attend the citizenship appointment—this is for a personal interview and for the applicant to take the citizenship exam. The applicant will receive a letter from the department with all the necessary information on their appointment.

 The appointment will involve a departmental officer confirming the applicant’s eligibility for Australian citizenship by inspecting the original documents, verifying their identity, and ensuring that they have completed and satisfied all requirements. It is a must that all applicants attend their appointments or else their application may be refused if not denied.

How to become an Australian citizen
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Julianne Leybag

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