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CITIZENSHIP APPLICATION

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Our expertise and advice will guide you on a pathway to citizenship

Australia, the lucky country. With 29.8% of the Australian population born overseas, who wouldn’t want to move to or visit this beautiful country of sweeping plains and contrasts. This year the Australian passport has been ranked as the sixth most powerful passport in the world. If you need help moving to or visiting our great country, contact our office for a free initial consultation from one of immigration experts.¬†

Applying for Australian citizenship or an Australian visa can be a complex and time consuming process. You need specialist advice to navigate the system. Contact our  immigration lawyers for a free initial consultation. 

Citizenship and immigration are Commonwealth matters, governed by the Department of Home Affairs (previously known as the Department of Immigration) in accordance with the Citizenship Act 2007 (Cth) and the Migration Act 1958 (Cth). The Department is responsible for all citizenship and immigration decisions, however, these decisions can be appealed.

Table of Contents

Citizenship categories

There are a number of ways you can be become an Australian citizen.

  • Permanent residents¬†or New Zealand citizens (citizen by conferral):

Eligibility requirements

Be a permanent resident or a New Zealand citizen

Be in Australia when your application is submitted and the decision is made

Have spent time in Australia and know about the country

Intend to live in Australia, or maintain a lasting link with Australia while overseas

Cost

There is a cost to apply to be a citizen. The current fee is $285, however, children under the age of 15 can apply for free. 

Processing times

From the date of application to approval, the processing time is 14 to 16 months.

From the date of application to ceremony, the processing time is 18-21 months.

  • Persons over the age of 60 years:

Eligibility requirements

Be over the age of 60 years of age 

Be a permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen when you apply and when the decision is made about your application

You intend to live in Australia or maintain a lasting link with Australia while overseas.

Cost

An application fee applies. The current fee is $180, however, a $20 concession fee is available for concession holders. Children of applicants under the age of 16 can apply for free.

Processing time

From the date of application to approval, the processing time is 14 months to 16 months

From the date of application to ceremony, the processing time is 18-21 months.

  • Your parent is an Australian citizen but you were born overseas:

Eligibility requirements

Be born outside of Australia on or after 26 January 1949

Be born outside of Australia through an international surrogacy agreement 

Meet the character requirement (be of good character if you are over 18). You will be assessed on your criminal history, associations, domestic violence history, obligations to courts in Australia or overseas, etc. 

Cost

An application fee applies. The current fee is $230 and $95 for each sibling that applies at the same time.

Australian citizenship application process

  1. Make sure your eligible
  2. Prepare and copy your supporting documents such as birth certificate, change of name certificates, marriage certificates, passports, etc. Ensure that these certificates have been officially translated into English if necessary. You may be required to have copies of your documents certified.
  3. Complete the application form
  4. Lodge your application
  5. Attend your appointment with the Department of Home Affairs 
  6. Complete the citizenship test
  7. Wait for the outcome
  8. Receive the decision
  9. Appeal the outcome if necessary
  10. Attend the citizenship ceremony

Citizenship test requirements

The citizenship test assesses your English language skills and knowledge about Australia and Australian citizenship. Citizenship applicants between the ages of 18 and 59 will be required to satisfactorily complete the test. The topics covered include:

  • Australia and its people
  • Australia’s democratic beliefs, rights and liberties
  • Government and the law in Australia
  • An understanding and commitment to Australian values based on freedom, respect and equality.

You MUST correctly answer all five questions about Australian values and receive an overall mark of 75% overall to pass the test.

Citizenship ceremony

If you are over the age of 16 at the time of your application and you do not have a permanent or enduring disability, you MUST attend the citizenship ceremony to pledge your allegiance to Australia. 

You have 12 months from the date of your citizenship approval to attend a citizenship ceremony. If you fail to attend, your application may be reviewed and your citizenship approval revoked. 

The ceremony takes approximately two hours. The order of proceedings are:

  • A formal introduction
  • Speeches
  • Address to participants
  • The pledge
  • National Anthem

Visa categories

If you are not ready to become an Australian citizen or you don’t intend to migrate to Australia, you will be required to apply for a visa. There are six visa categories with multiple sub-categories. It is essential that you apply for the correct visa to prevent being deported. They are outlined below. For further information about each sub-category, contact our team for a free initial consultation.

Working and Skilled Visas (Work visas)

  • Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) Visa
  • Business¬†Innovation and Investment (Provisional) Visa
  • Business Owner
  • Business Talent (Permanent)
  • Distinguished Talent Visa
  • Global Talent Visa
  • Employer Nomination Scheme
  • Investor Visa
  • Permanent Residence¬†(Skilled Regional) Visa
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme
  • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa
  • Skilled Independent Visa
  • Skilled Recognised Graduate Visa
  • Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa
  • Skilled Regional Visa
  • Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa
  • State or Territory Sponsored Business Owner Visa
  • State or Territory Sponsored Investor Visa
  • Temporary Activity Visa
  • Temporary Graduate Visa
  • Temporary Work (International Relations) Visa
  • Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) Visa
  • Temporary Skilled Shortage Visa

Sponsorship may apply to skilled workers, provided you are unable to find an Australian citizen or permanent resident qualified to do the job. For further information on whether sponsorship is an option for business, contact our team for a free initial consultation.

Studying and training visas

  • Student Visa
  • Student Guardian Visa
  • Training Visa

Refugee and humanitarian visas

  • Global Special Humanitarian
  • Protection Visa
  • Refugee Visa
  • Temporary Protection Visa
  • Safe Haven Enterprise Visa

Visitor visas

  • Electronic Travel Authority
  • Evisitor¬†
  • Transit Visa
  • Visitor
  • Work and Holiday Visa
  • Working Holiday Visa

Family and partner visas

  • Adoption Visa
  • Aged Dependent Relative Visa (Subclass¬†114)
  • Aged Dependent Relative Visa (Subclass¬†838)
  • Aged Parent Visa
  • Carer Visa (Subclass¬†836)
  • Carer Visa (Subclass 116)
  • Child Visa (Subclass¬†101)
  • Child Visa (Subclass 802)
  • Contributory Aged Parent (Temporary) Visa
  • Contributory Aged Parent Visa
  • Contributory Aged Parent Visa
  • Dependant Child Visa
  • New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship (Temporary) Visa
  • Orphan Relative Visa (Subclass¬†117)
  • Orphan Relative Visa (Subclass¬†837)
  • Parent Visa
  • Partner (Provisional and Migrant) Visa
  • Partner Visa
  • Prospective Marriage Visa
  • Remaining Relative Visa (Subclass¬†115)
  • Remaining Relative Visa (Subclass¬†835)
  • Sponsored Parent (Temporary) Visa

Other visas

  • Bridging visa
  • Crew Travel Authority Visa
  • Former Resident Visa
  • Maritime Crew Visa¬†
  • Medical Treatment Visa
  • Resident Return Visa
  • Special Category¬†Visa
  • Special Purpose Visa
  • Investor Retirement Visa
  • Confirmatory (Residence) Visa

Visa application process

  1. Find the appropriate visa category to apply for
  2. Ensure that you are eligible to apply for the visa selected
  3. Ensure you provide copies of any necessary supporting documents e.g. birth certificate, passport, marriage certificate, etc.
  4. Complete and lodge your application form
  5. Lodgement of a visa application requires payment of a fee
  6. Wait for the decision
  7. Receive the decision
  8. Lodge an appeal if necessary

Immigration Lawyers vs Migration Agents

Most Australian Immigration Lawyers are also Registered Migration Agents. 

Immigration Lawyers

  • Have completed a Law Degree
  • Are registered with the Law Society of their state or territory. That means they are bound by professional standards legislation.
  • Are registered with the Legal Admissions Board
  • Are registered with Migration Agents Registration Authority¬†(MARA) who have a code of conduct that agents must comply with
  • Can assist and advise across all immigration matters and appeals to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, Federal Court, Federal Circuit Court and the High Court

Migration Agents

  • Have completed a certificate or diploma in Migration Law
  • Registered with Migration Agents Registration Authority¬†(MARA) who have a code of conduct that agents must comply with
  • Can advise and assist on Visa applications and merit reviews, however, they CANNOT advise or assist on court appeals.

Disclaimer

The above is general legal information and should not be considered legal advice. You should speak with one of our migration lawyers for legal advice tailored to your specific legal matter. The courts and tribunals deal with matters on a case by case basis. It should also be noted that there may be delays due to COVID-19.

Frequently Asked Questions.

The Minister for Home Affairs can revoke your citizenship attained through application or conferral for the following reasons:

Being convicted of having made a false statement or concealed a material circumstance in connection with the citizenship application;

Citizenship was granted as a result of migration-related fraud;

Citizenship was approved as a result of migration-related fraud by a third party;

Being convicted of an offence and sentenced to 12 months imprisonment (where the offence took place before citizenship was granted);

If parents lose their citizenship (except by death), their children under the age of 18 will may also lose their citizenship;

If you are over the age of 14 and you have dual citizenship, you renounce your citizenship by acting inconsistently with your allegiance to Australia by engaging in activities associated with terrorist offences;

By serving in the armed forces of another country who is at war with Australia.

If your citizenship has been revoked, you may be able to appeal the revocation in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. For further information, contact our Immigration Law team for a free initial consultation.

If you are an Australian permanent resident, you do not have an automatic right to re-enter Australia if you leave. Depending on the terms of your permanent residence, you may be required to apply for a Resident Return Visa. It permits you to travel in and out of Australia as many times as you like before its expiry. It is valid for five years.

Becoming an Australian citizen entitles you to many opportunities that are not available to Visa holders and permanent residents. These include:

Voting in federal, state/territory elections and referendums

Apply for children born overseas to become Australian citizens

Apply for a job in the Australian public service and Defence Force

Seek election to Parliament 

Apply for an Australian passport and freely re-enter Australia

Ask for Australian consular assistance while overseas

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