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If you migrated to Australia there are two main streams for obtaining Australian citizenship:

  • Conferral (General eligibility); and  You need to pass the Citizenship Test; or
  • Conferral (Other situations).

Conferral – General eligibility:

You must first meet the criteria then pass a test before applying for citizenship.

Once you pass the test you can proceed to lodge a citizenship application so long as you meet the general eligibility requirements.

Apply before 1 July 2018

If you apply before 1 July 2018, then the requirements are:

  • 18 years or over at the time of application.
  • Be a permanent resident and the time of application and time of decision.
  • Satisfy the residence requirement.
  • If you became a permanent resident on or after 1 July 2007:
    • 12 months as a permanent resident; and
    • absences from Australia of no more than 12 months, including no more than ninety (90) days in the 12 months before applying.
    • If you became a resident before 1 July 2007 and apply before 30 June 2010:
    • must have been physically present in Australia as a permanent resident for a total of two years in the five years before applying, including one year in the two years before applying.
  • Be likely to reside or continue to reside in Australia or to maintain a close and continuing association with Australia; and
  • Be of good character.

There are some exceptions and discretions with regard to the residence requirement so you may choose to make an appointment with our office to ensure you are claiming all eligible days to make up the required period.

Apply after 1 July 2018

The Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2017 (the Bill) was introduced into Parliament on 15 June 2017 which will change the eligibility requirements.

If you apply after 1 July 2018, the new requirements will be:

  • Increasing the general residence requirement  to a
  • minimum of 4 years permanent residence immediately prior to applying for the citizenship application; and
  • No more than one year spent outside Australia during that period
  • Completing an English language test
  • Reference to allegiance to Australia and requiring applicants to undertake to integrate into and contribute to the Australian community
  • Strengthening the test for Australian citizenship through the addition of new test questions about Australian values and the privileges and responsibilities of Australian citizenship
  • a requirement to demonstrate their integration into the Australian community
  • strengthening the pledge to refer to allegiance to Australia.

Conferral – Other situations:

You are currently not required to sit the test if you are:

  • aged under 18 years; or
  • aged over 60 years; or
  • suffer from a permanent loss or substantial impairment of your hearing, speech or sight; or
  • have permanent physical or mental incapacity meaning you are incapable of understanding the test.

You will still need to meet other requirements, dependent on your age, physical and mental ability as well as the country you were born in.

We would recommend that you make an appointment to discuss your situation with our lawyers, who can guide you in the type of application that best suits your circumstances.

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