The process for becoming an Australian citizen

Date: Nov 07, 2012

Australia is known for its multiculturalism and for those who are eligible for citizenship, it's a great opportunity to become a part of the rich tapestry that makes up who we are and what we stand for. If you wish to become a citizen, an immigration lawyer can assist you with any questions you have.

As a citizen you are entitled to a number of rights, which include the right to vote in elections and referendums, apply to work in the public sector and defence force, seek election to public office, apply for an Australian passport and receive help from Australian officials while overseas.

The duties that you must adhere to include obeying the law, serve on a jury if asked to do so, defend Australia if the need presents itself and vote in elections and referendums.

If you have been here for a significant period of time and you are eligible, citizenship is a way to cement your lifestyle in Australia - but to become a citizen, there are a number of steps you must complete.

Your eligibility is a key factor - as a general rule, only Australian permanent residents can make an application.You must have lived in Australia for the last four years, with the last 12 months on a permanent visa.

To apply you need to obtain original documents that support your identity and proof that you haven't had any serious criminal convictions.

Once you have lodged your application you will then be notified if you are able to proceed to the next stage in the process which is an interview or citizenship test. If that is the case, a case officer will analyse your application, verify your documents and issue you the test or conduct an interview, depending on what applies to you.

The test allows the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to analyse whether you are knowledgeable about Australia's customs and laws in a judicial and legislative capacity. The test is multiple choice and you will have to answer 15 or more questions correctly, out of twenty to pass.

If you are successful, you will then attend a citizenship ceremony where you will solidify your transition to becoming an Australian. This will take place within roughly three months of your approval, but depends upon where you are located.