What are the general eligibility requirements for Australian Citizenship?
The general eligibility requirements for Australian Citizenship are:
- Holding Australian permanent resident status for 4 years and living in Australia for at least 4 years prior to applying
- Satisfying the character requirement
In addition to the changes announced on April 20, 2017 which will:
- introduce an English language test,
- strengthen the Australian Values Statement, test and pledge of commitment
- require applicants to show integration into the Australian community
Click here to learn more about the Australian Citizenship Changes
What are the requirements for Australian Citizenship if I am the spouse or partner of an Australian Citizen?
As a wife, husband or partner of an Australian citizen you must follow the same process and satisfy the same requirements as any other applicant.
A frequently asked question is: "My wife has a Partner Visa 820 and we have a child who is also an Australian citizen. Is my wife eligible for citizenship?"
A Partner Visa 820 is a temporary visa and the first step towards getting a permanent Partner Visa (Subclass 801).
As stated above, in order to be eligible for Australian citizenship you need to have lived in Australia as a permanent resident for at least 4 years immediately before lodging your application.
However, as a spouse of an Australian Citizen there might be times where the time spent overseas may count as time spent in Australia if a close connection to Australia can be proved. This time may be counted towards the residence requirement. If that is your case you can contact DIBP to discuss your options.
You can find out more about your visa details and conditions at the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO).
What are the requirements for Australian Citizenship if I am a citizen of New Zealand?
Most New Zealand citizens are granted a Special Category visa (SCV) upon arrival to Australia. An SCV is a temporary visa but it grants permanent resident status which provides the right to live and work in Australia indefinitely.
Your eligibility for Australian citizenship depends on your date of arrival to Australia:
- If you arrived before 26 February 2001 you may be eligible to apply for Australian Citizenship
- If you arrived after 26 February 2001 you might be required to apply for permanent resident status first to be eligible for Australian Citizenship
- If you have a CentreLink certificate issued before 26 February 2004 stating you were residing in Australia you may also be eligible to apply for Australian Citizenship
Is it possible to get Australian Citizenship if you do not meet the basic requirements?
(Are there special circumstances that might make you eligible for Australian Citizenship?)
While 90 percent of Australian applicants meet the basic requirements for citizenship, there are special circumstances that would make you eligible. For example:
- If you were born in Papua before 16 September 1975 and one of your parents was born in Australia or was an Australian Citizen and the time of your birth; OR
- If you were born to a former Australian Citizen who lost his citizenship by acquiring the citizenship of another country; OR
- If you are an Unaccompanied Humanitarian Minor (UHM) who arrived to Australia under the age of 18, without your parents and on a protection, refugee or other humanitarian visa
What is the difference between Australian Citizenship Form 1300t and Form 1290?
You may use Form 1300t if you meet the application requirements and are in between 18 and 59 years old. Whereas you may use Form 1290 if you are 17 years old or younger, 60 years or older, or you suffer from a physical disability.
How long does it take to become a citizen?
After filing your citizenship application, the DIBP will aim to process your application within 3 months, but there is always the possibility of a backlog of applications and other delays.
How much does applying for citizenship cost?
There are a few different fees associated with applying for citizenship. The government fees range between $180 - $285 depending on the form you use to file. Immigration Direct charges a service fee of $165 for access to our immigration software service which allows you to easily prepare and manage your application.
- If you file using Form 1300t: $285 government fee
Form 1300t - General Eligibility is used by applicants who are between 18 and 59 years old.
- If you file using Form 1290: $180 government fee
Form 1290 - Other Situations is used by applicants who are aged 60 and over, have a physical or mental inability
- If your file using Form 118: $230 government fee
Form 118 - Citizenship by Descent is used by applicants who have at least one parent who was an Australian Citizen.
Australian Citizenship Changes 2017
Implementation of the changes that were announced on April 20, 2017 has not been defined. Per the government's announcement, the Government will introduce new citizenship related legislation into the Parliament, informed by responses to this paper, by the end of 2017. The package of reforms will apply to applications received on or after the Government's announcement on 20 April 2017.
These are the specific changes that have been proposed in the government announcement made on April 19th 2017:
- Increasing the general residence requirement to demonstrate a minimum of four years of permanent residence immediately prior to their application for citizenship;
- Introducing an English language test, applicants will need to demonstrate competent English language listening, speaking, reading and writing skills before being able to sit the citizenship test;
- Strengthening the Australian Values Statement in application forms for visas and citizenship to include reference to allegiance to Australia and require applicants to make an undertaking to integrate into and contribute to the Australian community;
- Strengthening the test for Australian citizenship by adding new test questions about Australian values, and the privileges and responsibilities of Australian citizenship;
- Requirement for applicants to show their integration into the Australian community. Applicants must now demonstrate their integration into the Australian community by providing, for example, documentation to the effect that people who can work are working, or are actively looking for work or seeking to educate themselves; that people are contributing to the community by being actively involved in community or voluntary organisations; that people are properly paying their taxes and ensuring their children are being educated. Applicants' criminal records and adherence to social security laws are also relevant; and
- Strengthening the Pledge of commitment in the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 to refer to allegiance to Australia; and extending the requirement for individuals aged 16 years and over to make the Pledge of commitment to all streams of citizenship by application, including citizenship by descent, adoption and resumption.1