Citizenship Eligibility requirements

  • General residence requirement, including holding a permanent residency visa at the time of application and at the time of decision
  • Satisfy the Character requirements
  • Pass the Citizenship test
  • Have a basic knowledge of the English language
  • Intend to reside or maintain a close and continuing association with Australia

To satisfy the general residency requirement, you must:

  • Lawfully lived in Australia on valid Australian visas for four years immediately before applying; and
  • During these four years, you must not have been absent from Australia for more than 1 year in total; and
  • Must have been a permanent resident for the 12 months immediately before making an application; and
  • During the last 12 months as a permanent resident, you must not have been absent from Australia for more than 90 days in total

Exemptions to residence requirement

There are some exemptions to the above requirements. You can contact us if you have been unlawful during your stay in Australia, lived out of Australia for a long period of time while holding PR, or was under special circumstances.

Children under 16 years of age

Children under 16 years of age do not need to meet the residence requirements but must be permanent residents.

Character Requirement

In order to satisfy the character requirement, any applicant aged 18 years or over must be of ‘good character’, and covers the ‘enduring moral qualities of a person’, and whether they are likely to obey  and follow the laws of Australia, and other commitments made through the citizenship pledge.

Your application for citizenship on the basis of conferral may be refused if any of the following character issues apply to yourself:

  • You are in prison in Australia, or have proceedings pending against you
  • You have been released from a prison in Australia for less than 2 years after a serious offence, or 10 years if you are a repeat offender
  • You are subject to certain conditions set by an Australian court (such as being released on parole, good behaviour or bail) where action may be taken against you for breach of those conditions
  • You are confined in a psychiatric institution in connection with proceedings for an offence against an Australian law.

Citizenship test

You do not need to undertake the Citizenship test if:

  • You are aged under 18
  • You are aged 60 and over
  • You suffer from a substantial impairment or loss of hearing, speech or sight
  • You can show specialist medical evidence of a permanent or enduring physical mental incapacity which means you are not capable of:
    • understanding the nature of your application
    • demonstrating a basic knowledge of the English language
    • demonstrating an adequate knowledge of Australia and of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship
  • You were born to a former Australian citizen
  • You were born in Papua before 16 September 1975 to an Australian citizen born in Australia as currently defined
  • You are stateless and were born in Australia

If you are not required to undertake the Citizenship test, then you may be asked by the Department to complete a Citizenship interview with a Department staff member. In this interview, you will be asked questions to confirm that you have a basic knowledge of English and understand the responsibilities and privileges of Australian citizenship.

Source: Department of Home Affairs website.
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Saif Rehman