General eligibility criteria for citizenship
Generally, those over the age of 18 who apply for Australian citizenship must:
- have passed a citizenship test (unless over the age of 60)
- be a permanent resident at the time of application, and also, at time of decision
- satisfy the residence requirement
- be likely to reside, or to continue to reside, in Australia or to maintain a close and continuing association with Australia
- be of good character.
Children may also apply for Australian Citizenship, although different requirements apply.
Any adult who became a permanent resident on or after 1 July 2007 must have been lawfully residing in Australia for four years immediately before applying for Australian citizenship. This includes:
- have lawfully resided in Australia for at least the last 4 years
- not have been outside Australia for more than a total of 1 year in the last 4 years (and no more than 90 days during the last 12 months)
- be likely to reside in, or maintain a close and continuing connection with, Australia
- if aged 18 years or older, be of good character
If you satisfy the general eligibility criteria, you will need to pass a test before applying for Australian citizenship. Those covered by other situations (such as those aged under 18 or over age 60, or people who suffer from a substantial impairment or loss of hearing, speech or sight) are not required to sit a test.
The Australian citizenship test has been designed to help future Australian citizens gain an understanding of Australia’s:
- national symbols.
The test is an important part of ensuring you have the capacity to fully participate in the Australian community as a citizen and maximise the opportunities available to you in Australia. It promotes social cohesion and successful integration into the community.
To sit the test you must:
- be an Australian permanent resident
- satisfy the department of your identity during the process of registering for the test
- allow the department to take a photograph of you or provide one yourself.
Citizen Application Process
- Lodgement of Application
The first step is to lodge your citizenship application, along with any supporting documents required to demonstrate that you satisfy the relevant requirements.
- Citizenship Test
Once the DOHA has determined that you are eligible for the conferral of citizenship, they will ask you to attend an appointment with a case officer. At this appointment, you will sit the citizenship test. This contains questions regarding the rights and responsibilities of Australian citizenship, along with questions relating to life in Australia and what it means to be an Australian citizen. Each eligible adult applicant must sit this test. The questions are based on testable information contained in the Australian citizenship test resource book, which you can study before your test.
- Citizenship Ceremony
After you have passed your citizenship test and the DOHA has approved your application, you need to attend a citizenship ceremony. This usually takes place within 3 months of the date that an application is approved, although waiting times vary between different local councils. At the citizenship ceremony, you must take the Australian Citizenship Pledge to complete the process of becoming an Australian citizen. All eligible adult applicants must attend a citizenship ceremony – there are very few exceptions to this requirement.