Becoming a Citizen

Becoming an Australian citizen means a commitment to the country and its people; it’s the step that enables you to become an Australian.

As an Australian citizen, you can live and work in Australia freely. You can claim citizenship if you were born in Australia or if you have been living and working in Australia for a period of four years or more or have held permanent residency for more than 12 months.

As a permanent resident of Australia, you’ll already have enjoyed living in a free and democratic society.  When you become an Australian citizen, you will have new responsibilities.  You will also have a range of new privileges.

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Australian Citizenship Requirements

Applicants must complete and pass a citizenship test, which is based on an applicant’s knowledge and understanding of Australian society, values and history.

All applicants must have a good knowledge of the English language, have a satisfactory knowledge of the responsibilities and privileges of being an Australian citizen and intend to reside and work in Australia, or to maintain a close connection with the country.

You may become a citizen of Australia in one of three ways:

By birth: People automatically become an Australian citizen if they are born here and one or both of their parents is an Australian citizen or permanent resident of Australia.

By descent: If you are the child of an Australian citizen but you are born overseas you will generally be granted Australian citizenship. There are a number of rules that might apply to people in this category.

By grant: If you are a non-citizen of Australia you can apply to become an Australian citizen. You must meet several requirements, which include you:

  • Being an Australian permanent resident
  • Are over 16 years of age
  • Lived in Australia for a period of four years, including 12 months as a permanent resident
  • Are of good character
  • Have a knowledge of basic English
  • Have an adequate knowledge of your responsibilities and privileges as a citizen

As an Australian citizen you have a number of privileges including

  • Voting in Federal and State or territory elections and in a referendum
  • Applying for work in the Australian Public Service or in the Australian Defence Force
  • Seeking election to parliament
  • Applying for an Australian passport and re-entering Australia freely
  • Receiving help from an Australian official while overseas
  • Registering children born overseas as Australian citizens by descent

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