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Australian Citizenship

Once you have migrated to Australia, you may consider becoming an Australian citizen. Australian citizenship formalises your membership of the Australian community.

Citizenship test

From 1 October 2007, people who satisfy the general eligibility criteria are required to pass a test before applying for Australian citizenship. People covered by other situations are not required to sit a test.

The Australian citizenship test has been designed to assist people who want to become Australian citizens gain an understanding of Australia's values, traditions, history and national symbols.

The test is an important part of ensuring that migrants have the capacity to fully participate in the Australian community as citizens and maximise the opportunities available to them in Australia. It promotes social cohesion and successful integration into the community.

You are not required to pass a test if you:

  • are aged under 18 years, or
  • are aged 60 years or over, or
  • suffer from a permanent loss or substantial impairment of hearing, speech or sight, or
  • have a permanent physical or mental incapacity that means you are not capable of understanding the nature of the application.

To sit the test you must:

  • be an Australian permanent resident
  • satisfy the department of your identity during the process of registering for the test
  • allow the department to take a photograph of you or provide one yourself.

Australian citizenship requirements

General eligibility criteria

People who apply for Australian citizenship must:

  • have passed a test
  • be aged 18 years or over at the time the application is made
  • be a permanent resident at the time of application, and also, at time of decision
  • satisfy the residence requirement
  • be likely to reside, or to continue to reside, in Australia or to maintain a close and continuing association with Australia
  • be of good character.

Residence requirement

People who became permanent residents on or after 1 July 2007 must have been lawfully resident in Australia for four years immediately before applying including:

  • 12 months as a permanent resident
  • absences from Australia of no more than 12 months, including no more than three months in the 12 months before applying.

If people became permanent residents before 1 July 2007 and apply before 30 June 2010, they 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.

A Citizenship Wizard is available on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website to help you determine if you meet the residence requirement.

Privileges of Australian citizens

It entitles you to privileges of Australian citizenship giving you the right to:

  • live in Australia
  • apply for an Australian passport and to leave and re-enter Australia without applying for a resident return visa
  • seek assistance from Australian diplomatic representatives while overseas
  • work in the public service
  • serve in the armed forces
  • register as Australian citizens by descent any of your children born overseas after you become an Australian citizen
  • stand for Parliament
  • vote to elect members of Parliament.

Responsibilities of Australian citizens

Citizenship also brings with it responsibilities. For example, citizens are required to:

  • obey Australian laws
  • defend Australia should the need arise
  • serve on a jury if called to do so
  • enrol on federal and state/territory electoral registers
  • vote in elections.

Further information