What Do You Need To Be Eligible For Australian Citizenship?

Jan 23, 2019
Reading Time: 2 minutes
Written by Christopher Tsiknas

There are currently a variety of ways in which you can become a citizen in Australia. However, if you are someone who doesn’t have a direct line of family to Australia, the most common option available is via conferral. In order to gain citizenship by conferral you must satisfy the eligibility criteria and pass the citizenship test.

Eligibility Requirements

When applying for citizenship through conferral you must be either a permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen, before you can proceed to the additional criteria. For citizenship purposes a permanent resident is someone who holds a valid permanent visa at the time of application. Holders of special category or special purpose visas can also be considered permanent residents provided they meet the remaining requirements and the Minister approves.

New Zealand citizens are eligible if they arrive in Australia using their passport and were here on 26 February 2001, or for 12 months in the 2 years prior. They are also eligible if they were holders of a special purpose visa before February 26 2004. If the requirements so far appear rather complex, the advice of a citizen lawyer may be helpful in guiding you through the remaining criteria.

Additional Criteria

General Residence Requirement

The general residency requirement relates to the amount of time you have lived in Australia within the last 4 years. At the time of applying you must have been living in the country on a valid visa for the past 4 years. You also need to be a permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen in the last 12 months.  This requirements also stipulates that you can’t be away from Australia for more than 12 months within the 4 years. This includes not being away for more than 90 days in the year leading to your application. This criteria does not apply if you are under the age of 16.

Character Requirement

If you are 18 years or older, you must be seen by authorities to be of ‘good character’This is essentially an assessment of whether you’re likely to obey Australian laws and meet the commitments of the citizenship pledge. The Department of Home Affairs will look at factors such a criminal convictions, associations will people of concern etc.

Knowledge and Language

Applicants must understand the meaning of being an Australian citizen. In order to determine this, the majority of applicants will take the citizenship test. The test covers Australian values, beliefs, and rights as well as the government and laws. Applicants will meet this requirement if they score 75% or more in the test. A basic knowledge of the english language is also a requirement of citizenships. This is also assessed by the citizenship test and the same minimum score applies.

Close and Continuing Link

To obtain citizenship, a long term commitment to Australia is necessary. As a result you must show an intention to live in Australia or to maintain a close connection whilst overseas. The Department will consider factors such as family, jobs, property, bank accounts and tax in Australia to assess this association.

Have more questions? Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800 529 728 to learn more about customising legal documents and obtaining a fixed-fee quote from Australia’s largest legal marketplace.

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