There are a lot of advantages of becoming an Australian citizen, which is why people from all nationals try their luck. Becoming an Australian citizen is not simple, however, the process is straightforward. If you are planning on applying for Australian Citizenship, this article can guide you.
Contents of this Page
The Basics of Being an Australian Citizen
Breakdown of Australian Citizenship Application
Are You Eligible?
Documents You Would Need When Applying For Australian Citizenship
Citizenship Interview And Test
Outcome of your Application
The Basics of Being an Australian Citizen
Before being allowed to become an Australian citizen, you must first understand what being a citizen entails. Australia is a democratic country and utilizes a parliamentary democracy form of government. This means that the leaders of the country are elected by the people. This means these leaders also answer to the people for their actions.
Everyone follows the rule of law. No group or individual is given preferential treatment whatsoever. To bring forth change, peaceful persuasion and discussion are preferred. The country and its people believe everyone deserves respect, dignity and support, no matter their beliefs and background. This makes it enticing for foreign nationals to migrate to Australia.
Chinese people in particular are enticed by the freedom that Australia offers its citizens. Citizens enjoy freedom of speech and expression, without being held back by the government. Likewise, Australians enjoy freedom of association, which means they can join and participate with trade union, any political party, or any religious, cultural and social groups. You can also refuse to join if that is your choice.
The laws being implemented also prevents discrimination based on age, gender, disability or race. Men and women are likewise treated equally.
Aside from reaping the benefits of being an Australian citizen, you will also have some responsibilities. Let us enumerate them all.
Responsibilities of being an Australian citizen
As a citizen of Australia, you should do the following:
- Must sign up to vote;
- Follow all the national and state laws;
- Come to Australia’s defense if such an instance calls for it;
- Perform jury duty when called for.
Benefits of being an Australian Citizen
The following are the benefits of becoming an Australian national:
- You can get an Australian passport;
- You can leave and enter Australia an unlimited number of times;
- You can seek assistance from an Australian consulate when you face troubles abroad;
- You can vote in territory, state and federal elections;
- You can seek to be elected in the government as long as you are 18 years old and above and you are not a dual citizen;
- You can register your child as an Australian citizen even if he or she was born in another country.
Breakdown of Australian Citizenship Application
Here are the steps to applying for Australian citizenship.
- Check your eligibility;
- Prepare your original documents;
- Apply for citizenship by creating an ImmiAccount or submitting your application to any office of the Department of Home Affairs;
- Complete the Citizenship Interview and Test;
- Wait for the results of your application – you would either get an approval or a refusal;
- Attend the Citizenship Ceremony if your application is approved.
Are you eligible?
To find out if you are eligible for an Australian citizenship, you must answer the following questions:
Are you a permanent resident?
Do you meet the residency requirement?
The residency requirements are as follows:
- You must have lived in Australia the past four years;
- If you have left the country, you must not have been gone for more than 12 months straight (for the past four years);
- You must be a permanent resident the past twelve months before application.
To make sure that you meet the exact residency requirements, use the Department of Home Affairs Residency Calculator.
Are you of good character?
Do you have Basic English knowledge?
If you pass the citizenship test and get a score of 75% or more, it means you pass the basic English knowledge required for citizenship.
Do you intend to live in Australia?
Do you know of the responsibilities and privileges of being an Australian citizen?
Documents you would need when applying for Australian citizenship
There are three kinds of documents that you would need to submit, and these are your identity documents, good character documents, and supporting documents. Keep in mind that all these documents must be original; they will not accept certified copies.
These are documents you need to prove that you are who you say you are. It contains your complete name, a photo of you, your signature, current address, gender and date of birth. You would need to bring three original documents that indicate these. Examples of such documents are:
- Australian driver’s license
- A national identity card
- A passport
- Good character
Proof of Good Character
If you are 18 years or more, proving you are of good character is a necessity. When getting Australian citizenship, it is important for Australia that the citizens they accept have “enduring moral qualities”. This means such a person is likely to obey the laws and regulations of Australia. You must also be able to follow the commitments you make during the residency pledge.
To prove good character, you would need to get penal clearance certificate from the National Police Checking Service.
If you are 18 years and older and you have traveled outside of Australia and spent at least three months in one foreign country, you would also need to provide police clearance certificate from each country you spent more than 90 days in.
Proof of Address
This document should contain your name and address. Examples of such documents are:
- Electric bill, gas bill or utility bills
- Rental contract
- Property ownership title
If you need to present any document that is in another language, you would need to have it translated first. The Department of Home Affairs only accepts documents that have been translated to English by an accredited translator. If you need to have your documents interpreted to English, look into the National Accreditation Authority of Translators and Interpreters.
Citizenship Interview And Citizenship Test
Before citizenship is awarded, a foreign permanent resident must go through an interview and test. Only those aged 18 to 59 years old are required. The citizenship interview is done for the following reasons:
- To confirm your identity – the interviewer will look through your documents to confirm that you are who you say you are;
- To verify your basic English skills – English is the primary language in Australia. The interviewer shall verify you have what is necessary to communicate properly as an Australian citizen during the answer and question portion of the interview;
- To verify your knowledge about Australia – you need to prove that you know enough about Australia;
- To make sure you understand what Australian citizenship means – this includes knowing what your responsibilities are once you become a citizen, and what privileges you can enjoy once awarded the citizenship.
The citizenship test’s purpose is the same as that of the interview, except that this one is in written form. It also tests your English reading comprehension and English writing abilities. The test also contains questions about Australia as a whole and information about citizenship.
You will be given a schedule for your interview and test after your application has been processed. Again, remember that you will not be interviewed and will not be allowed to take the test if your documents are incomplete or they are not original.
Outcome of Your Application
Once you have finished your interview and test, all you need to do is wait for the result of your application. If there are any changes to your details, you must send an update by logging in to your ImmiAccount (if you applied online), or by sending the documents to the Department of Home Affairs branch that is nearest to you.
You can also check the status of your application through your ImmiAccount. If additional documents are needed from you, the department will get in touch with you directly.
Once your application has been processed and assessed, you will receive a notification letter. There are only two possible outcomes, and these are either Approval or Refusal. Once you have been approved to become a citizen of Australia, you will be required to attend a citizenship ceremony where you will have to make a pledge of commitment. Some people with special circumstances will not have to undergo the citizenship ceremony and will instead be sent their citizenship certificate together with the notice of approval.
If in case your application for citizenship is refused, you will receive a notice that advises you of the same, and offering suggestions on the next steps you can take. Your letter will include details on why your application has been refused, and how you can appeal to have your application reviewed. There is a time limit for requesting a review, which is also detailed in the letter. The appeal to have your application reviewed must be done at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
This ceremony is the final aspect of getting your citizenship certificate. You must attend the ceremony within 12 months of getting approved; else your application will once again be reviewed and may get cancelled, unless you have an acceptable reason for not attending.
You will receive a letter of invitation to your citizenship ceremony at least four weeks before the actual event. If you fail to attend, you will be given another invitation letter for the next citizenship ceremony. You will have multiple chances to attend, so make sure you do before the 12 months pass.
During the ceremony, you will be required to make the pledge of commitment to Australia, together with other approved people. You will then be awarded the certificate of citizenship, which is an important legal document. Make sure to take good care of it so that it does not get damaged, written on or in any way defaced. If you lose this certificate, you would need to inform the Department of Home Affairs.
Becoming an Australian citizen is one of the aspirations of many Chinese people who work and study in the country. If you are planning on becoming an Australian national, buying property while still a foreigner is a great step. Not only will you have an investment, owning a property also weighs positively in your application for citizenship. If you need assistance in finding a real estate property for residential or investment purposes, send us a message and we’ll assist you.