How to become Australian


Immigrants are eligible for Australian citizenship after just two years’ residence in the previous five years, but this must include a total of 12 months in the two years immediately before making a citizenship application, which costs $120.

Applicants must be permanent residents, be at least 18 years of age, have a basic knowledge of the English language, be capable of understanding the nature of their citizenship application and understand the responsibilities and privileges of Australian citizenship, be of good character, and be likely to live in Australia or maintain a close and continuing association with Australia. The ability to speak English doesn’t apply to people over 50 (although in 2004 there was talk of raising this to 60), and those over 60 aren’t required to understand the responsibilities and privileges of Australian citizenship.

Exceptions to the above rules apply to armed forces personnel (who need only to have served for three months), former Australian citizens (who need only to have been resident for 12 months in the last two years), permanent residents not present in Australia but engaged in activities beneficial to Australia, spouses, widows, widowers of Australian citizens (who normally need to have been resident only for the 12 months prior to their application) and various others. In certain cases, such as that of spouses/widows/widowers of Australian citizens, applicants must show that they would suffer significant hardship or disadvantage if they weren’t granted citizenship.

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