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Immigration Australia Inside Info

Immigration Australia

Has the Land Down Under captured you with its rugged charm? Maybe you went on holiday in Australia, fell in love with it, have moved there and now you’re wondering how to become an official Aussie. Becoming a citizen of this spectacular country isn’t easy – it has one of the world’s toughest immigration departments. However, if you can demonstrate your eligibility and good character, knowledge of the country, and your intention to make Australia your long-term home, you’ll increase your chances of being accepted. Below we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about Australia immigration.

How Do I Apply for Australian Citizenship?

If you’re curious about how to become a citizen of this country, this is something you can do after you’ve been in the country for a while. If you plan to stay longer than your Australian visitor visa is valid for, you’d start the process of applying for permanent residency. Then, a minimum of 1 year after becoming a permanent resident, you can start applying for citizenship.

The process to officially obtain citizenship is fairly straightforward. Of course, first, you’ll need to check that you are eligible.

The requirements are:

  • You must be considered a permanent resident for at least 12 months before you apply.
  • You must have lived in Australia for at least the last 4 years.
  • You haven’t lived outside the country for more than a year in the last 4 years.
  • You haven’t stayed outside the country for more than 90 days in the last 12 months.
  • You plan to stay in Australia, or at least keep a close association with the country if you don’t live there permanently.
  • You need to demonstrate a record of good conduct.
  • You should be able to demonstrate English speaking and writing skills.

Hopefully, this isn’t the case, but it’s important to know that Australia tends to be strict about granting citizenship. It’s unlikely you’d be approved if:

  • The evidence you show to prove your identity isn’t clear.
  • You have a criminal record, especially if you’ve been recently released from prison.
  • The government considers you a risk to national security or if you’re on a terrorist watch list.
  • You stopped being an Australian citizen within the last year.

Once you’ve determined you are eligible, now you need to round up all your paperwork. This includes:

  • Your passport.
  • Your birth certificate.
  • Proof of your address, which could be an electric or utility bill or something similar.
  • Other supporting documents such as a background check or code of good conduct.

When you have your paperwork ready, you can complete your application. This will involve giving detailed data about yourself, your family connections, and your current country of nationality. You’ll pay a fee with the application.

Do you know what’s celebrated on Anzac Day? This is the type of question you might see on the citizenship test that you’ll need to pass in order to become a citizen. It’s a good idea to start studying around the time you complete your application. The test demonstrates how much you know about Australia, its people, and its history. To pass, you have to get at least 15 of 20 questions correct.

You’ll also need to attend a face-to-face interview. This interview is where immigration officials review your paperwork and verify your identity.  They’ll ask you a series of questions which you should answer honestly. It may feel a bit intimidating, but don’t be nervous – this is part of everyone’s citizenship journey. At this point, you’ll also take the citizenship test you studied for. This appointment usually takes around 2 hours.

Once you’ve completed the previous steps of applying and attending your interview, you now need to wait for an answer on whether your citizenship is approved. This typically takes between 18 and 27 months.

The last and most exciting part of the journey is your citizenship ceremony! Here you’ll take a pledge of Australian citizenship. After doing so, you’ll have the chance to celebrate – and it’s well deserved! 

How Can I Apply for Australian Citizenship Online?

There’s an official immigration website where you can apply online for Australian citizenship. It’s easy, secure, and you can pay by entering your bank card details at the end. We highlight in more detail below the exact information you’ll be asked to supply.

What’s Included on the Australian Citizenship Application Form?

It’s useful to know in advance what you’ll be asked to provide when you apply so you can prepare your documents before getting started. The application form is quite straightforward. You simply fill out detailed personal information for yourself and your immediate family members.

This information includes:

  • Your full name.
  • Your gender.
  • Your date of birth. 
  • The city and country where you were born.
  • Whether you’ve been an Australian citizen before, and if so, the date your citizenship ceased.
  • Contact information including the address where you live, your telephone number, and your email address.
  • The country where you’re currently a citizen, and your previous country of residence.
  • Your occupation.
  • Your passport data, including the number, the issuing country, and its dates of issue and expiry.
  • The date when you first entered Australia with a permanent residency visa.
  • Data about any other Australian visas you have had previously.
  • Personal data for any children under 16 years of age that you’re including in your application. You’ll have to provide documents such as birth certificates to prove you are the parent. 
  • Details about your parents or adoptive parents, including whether or not they hold Australian citizenship.
  • Questions regarding good character, including whether you’ve been convicted of any crimes in Australia, if you’ve been associated with terrorist organisations, served in any militaries, or whether you’ve been sent to prison or a psychiatric institution. If you’ve spent over 90 days outside Australia since you were granted a permanent visa, you’ll need to attach background clearance certificates from those countries.
  • Finally, you fill out payment information and sign the application.

What Documents Do I Need to Apply for Australian Citizenship?

Along with your application, you need to verify your identity and prove you are a resident. Here’s a handy list of the documents that you can use to do so.

  1. To verify your identity, the document must have your photograph and your signature. The documents you can use include a driver’s license, a passport, or a national identity card.
  2. To prove your Australian residency, you need to show that you’ve been living continuously and legally in the country for at least 4 years. You can show this with any document that contains your address, including a lease or rental contract, a utility bill, a bank statement, or an insurance letter.
  3. You also need to confirm your date of birth and the name you were given at birth, as well as any name changes you’ve had. The only acceptable document, in this case, is your birth certificate. For any children included in your application, you’ll need to provide their birth certificates too.
  4. Finally, with your application, you must include a recent passport-style photo, taken within the last 6 months.

You may be asked to provide additional documents, depending on your situation. For example, if you’re married to an Australian or if you have an Australian parent, you’ll need to demonstrate evidence of their citizenship status.

How Much Is the Australian Citizenship Application Fee?

The fee to apply for citizenship, in most cases, is AUD $285.00, equivalent to USD $205.00. If you’re applying under special circumstances, the fee may be AUD $180.00 or USD $130.00. Those who are applying to obtain citizenship by descent or by adoption would pay a fee of AUD $230.00, or USD $165.00. 

The fee is payable at the time of your application either on the website or by filling out your bank card details on the paper application.

How Long Does It Take to Get Australian Citizenship After Applying?

You’ve rounded up and submitted all your paperwork, now what? One of the most common questions about the citizenship process is how long it takes to be approved. The immigration department does a comprehensive check of all your documents and information and screens each applicant thoroughly. The amount of time will vary depending on a number of factors.

If you’re applying for citizenship by conferral, the total time it takes to receive a decision is typically between 18 and 27 months. If you’re approved, you can expect to celebrate the citizenship ceremony around 8 to 9 months later.

It’s a much quicker process if you’re applying for citizenship by descent, taking between 2 and 4 months to receive a decision.

What Does ‘Australian Citizenship by Conferral’ Mean?

“Confer” is another word for “bestow upon” or “grant.” Conferral simply means your citizenship would be granted by means other than family ties. You’re essentially applying for the nation to confer citizenship status to you. Before this status can be conferred, you need to meet all the eligibility requirements and provide all the necessary documentation, as well as have a face-to-face interview.

If you’ve been conferred citizenship, you get to take advantage of all the same privileges and rights that other Australian citizens have. You’ll be able to vote and apply for an Australian passport, as well as serve in the military or as part of the judicial system.

When Applying for Immigration to Australia, How Is Permanent Residency a Factor?

To become a citizen of this great nation, you must first become a permanent resident. This involves applying for a permanent residency visa. You’ll need to be a permanent resident for at least 12 months before you can be eligible to apply for citizenship. 

The most typical path to becoming a permanent resident is through a skilled work visa. If you have paid employment, your employer can nominate you for a permanent visa, which demonstrates that you provide a valuable skill set to your company.

To be eligible for a permanent visa, you’ll need to meet several requirements such as having a health examination, demonstrating good character, proof of your English knowledge, having your fingerprints taken, and showing you agree with Australian values.

What Is Australia’s Migrant Policy?

Australia allows migrants to legally enter its borders and sets aside a certain number of places each year for those who want to permanently migrate there. The priority of the Migration Program is to bring in workers to meet the skilled labour needs of the nation’s economy.

There are 3 different so-called “streams” that a migrant can enter through.

  1. There’s the workstream, which encompasses skilled migrants, workers whose employers nominate them, and business skills migration for individuals who want to launch new business opportunities.
  2. Then there’s the family stream, that allows the migration of the immediate family members of citizens, permanent residents, and eligible New Zealand citizens. These family members may be partners, fiancés, parents, and dependent children or elderly adults.
  3. Thirdly, there’s temporary migration, for people who are looking to enter the country on a short-term basis. The number of places for temporary migrants depends on economic conditions and labour demand.

How Do I Qualify for Skilled Migration to Australia?

The Land Down Under is always looking for skilled individuals to join its workforce. Bringing in skilled migrants helps stimulate economic growth. If you’re at least 18 years old, but not older than 45, and you have skills and experience in certain sectors, you can qualify to enter as a skilled migrant. This is not the same as becoming a citizen, but it can serve as a step in the process by giving you a permanent residency visa.

What are the occupations that count as skilled, you may be asking? There’s a wide variety of jobs that qualify – software programmer, massage therapist, and art teacher are just 3 examples of the many possibilities. Here’s a comprehensive list of the jobs that fall under “skilled occupation.” If you have the credentials and work experience, migrating to Australia may be a lucrative and interesting opportunity for you.

Where Can I Find an Australian Citizenship Eligibility Calculator?

Looking for an easy way to see if you’re eligible to apply for citizenship? Here’s a useful calculator that can tell you quickly whether you’re eligible by counting the time you’ve been living in Australia. All you need to do is enter:

  • The date you became a permanent resident.
  • The date you began living in Australia.
  • The date you plan to complete your application.
  • Any dates that you travelled into and out of the country in the last 4 years. You can easily find this information by checking the stamps in your passport. Keep in mind that you should include any travel you plan to do before your application.

What’s On the Australian Citizenship Checklist?

Here’s a useful checklist of criteria you must meet and the documents you need to include with your application.

  1. Prove your identity and your residence. These should be scans of the original documents if you’re applying online. Otherwise, they need to be certified copies if you submit a paper application.
  • Provide a document showing a recent photograph of you and your signature. This would likely be your national ID card.
  • Show proof of your residential address, such as a bill or a rental contract.
  • Demonstrate your date of birth by providing your birth certificate.
  • Prove your nationality by providing your passport.
  • If you include your children in the application, you need to provide proof of identity documents for them as well.

2. Demonstrate your good character.

  • You must be able to prove you haven’t committed any crimes by providing a background clearance certificate plus any other documentation that may show that you’re an upstanding member of the community.

3. Provide any evidence of special circumstances (where applicable).

  • In the case that you’re exempt from paying the full application fee, you’ll need to show proof. For example, if you served in the Australian Defence Force for at least 90 days, you’re exempt from paying the fee but you’ll need to submit your discharge papers.

Is There an Australian Citizenship English Requirement?

You’ll need to demonstrate that you have a basic level of English. However, this step is done when applying to become a permanent resident, or for a student visa. You must have a working knowledge of the language to be able to pass the citizenship test and your face-to-face interview.

Can You Live in Australia Without Citizenship?

You can live in Australia for as long as you wish without becoming a citizen, provided you have applied and been approved for permanent residency. You may want to keep citizenship in the country of your nationality, which you are free to do. Just make sure you don’t overstay your visa if it has an expiration date!

According to Australian Law, When Does a Migrant Become an Australian?

So, you’ve emigrated to the South Pacific nation and you’re eager to become an official Australian. You can do so after living in the country legally for 4 years, at least 1 of those years as a permanent resident. As long as you accept Australian values and its way of life, apply for citizenship and pass the test, you can become a real Aussie.

Can You Become an Australian Citizen by Marriage?

While it’s tempting to think that you can just marry an Australian and automatically get citizenship, it’s not quite so simple. However, if you do happen to fall in love with an Aussie and get married, the application process will likely be faster. 

You still need to go through the entire application process, including being eligible to apply and demonstrating your good character. But being married to a local does help to demonstrate that you have close ties with the country. 

If you’re already in a committed relationship with an Australian before coming to live, you can enter the country with either a Prospective Marriage visa or a Temporary Partner visa. The Prospective Marriage visa is for those who are already engaged and allows you to stay for up to 9 months. After getting married, you can apply for a Permanent Partner visa. 

The Temporary Partner visa lets you stay up to 2 years. After these 2 years are up, you could be granted a permanent visa. Of course, you need to show proof that the marriage is legal and that the 2 of you have been living together in a committed relationship.

What Does ‘Naturalisation Australia’ Mean?

Naturalisation may be an unfamiliar term, but it just means a period of time that counts toward your citizenship eligibility. This period is a minimum of 4 years in which you have to be living legally in the country. During those 4 years, it’s essential that you haven’t been outside the country for more than 12 months in total. During the 1 year that you’re required to be a permanent resident, you can’t be away for more than 3 months. If you’re a frequent traveller, pay special attention to your travel dates so you don’t exceed the allowed timeframe during your naturalisation period. If so, you may have to start your naturalisation clock all over again!

What Does Australian Citizenship Entitle You To?

Being an Australian citizen has many privileges. First and foremost, you can get an Australian passport, which may make travelling to other countries easier, depending on where you’re originally from. The visa requirements for Australian citizens tend to be simpler, and you can apply for an e-Visa for just about any country if you need one. You can also benefit from a lower cost of education because you’ll have access to the national student loan system. 

You can vote in all elections and referendums, and even seek election to parliament yourself. If you have children after becoming a citizen, they’ll be Australian citizens too, no matter what country they’re born in. You’ll also have less bureaucracy to deal with in the future, as you won’t have to renew your residency status every few years. 

Of course, with these privileges come some responsibilities. You benefit from a democratic system where all people are equal and there is free speech, and therefore you must behave in accordance with this system. You must promise to respect the liberties of others, follow the law, register to vote, and remain loyal to the country.

We hope you’ve found this article helpful! If you’re ineligible for Australia’s ETA visitor visa and you’re yet to decide whether to immigrate Down Under, you may require a regular visa, including a cover letter. Learn more on our Support Letter for an Australia Visa page to get started.

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