Application process for Australian citizenship

There are 10 steps in the application process.

The time it takes to apply for and be granted Australian citizenship varies. The Client Service Charter provides details on the service standard for processing an application for Australian citizenship.

Are you eligible?

Step 1. Determine that you are eligible to apply

In general, to apply for citizenship you will need to:

  • be a migrant who is a permanent resident
  • 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 if you are 18 years of age or over.

There are two categories of eligibility:

  • Form 1300t Australian citizenship - General eligibility commonly used for applicants:
    • aged 18 years and over and under 60 years of age.
  • Form 1290 Australian citizenship – Other situations commonly used for applicants:
    • aged under 18 years or over 60 years of age
    • who suffer from a permanent loss or substantial impairment of hearing, speech or sight
    • who have an enduring physical or mental incapacity that means they are not capable of understanding the nature of the application.

Step 2. Ensure you meet the residence requirement

The residence requirement is based on the time you have lived in Australia and the time you have spent outside Australia.

You must:

  • have been living in Australia on a valid Australian visa for four years immediately before applying which must include the last 12 months as a permanent resident, and
  • not have been absent from Australia for more than one year in total, in the 4 year period, including no more than 90 days in the year before applying.

The Residence Requirement Calculator can help you calculate whether you meet this requirement.

Under certain circumstances the residence requirement may be varied.

Your application and appointment

Step 3. Prepare for your citizenship test or interview

Ensure you understand what Australian citizenship involves.

The test resource, Australian Citizenship - Our Common Bond, has all the information you need to prepare for the citizenship test. It also contains useful information for people having a citizenship interview.

Download Australian Citizenship - Our Common Bond or watch it on YouTube.

You can also do the practice test.

Step 4. Gather your original documents

You must provide original documents.

You will need to provide a range of documents to

  • prove your identity,
  • establish links between all names you have used,
  • establish you have not had any serious criminal convictions
  • to apply for variations to the residence requirement or fees.

What are the document requirements? Use this checklist as a guide to the original documents usually required.

Step 5. Complete your application form

There is a checklist to help you understand how to complete your application form. Ensure you complete all the questions in the application.

You may also be able to apply online.

Step 6. Lodge your application form

Making an application in Australia

Apply online or post your paper application to your nearest departmental office. Whether you apply online or on a paper application, you must attach certified copies of your identity and other documents. Do not post original documents with your application.

You will then need to bring your original documents with you to your citizenship appointment. You must also bring a completed Identity declaration and correctly endorsed photographs for yourself and any children included in your application.

Read the information about the application fee and how to pay it before lodging your application. In some circumstances, it is not possible to lodge your application online, for example, if you are seeking a fee concession or exemption.

Making an application outside Australia

The Overseas Citizenship Unit in Australia processes applications for citizenship made by applicants outside Australia. If you are overseas when applying for citizenship, you can apply online or lodge a paper application.

Certified copies of all the required documents need to be attached to your application. Send your paper application to the Overseas Citizenship Unit at the department's ACT and Regions Office in Australia. Do not post original documents.

Read the information about the application fee and how to pay it before lodging your application. In some circumstances, it is not possible to lodge your application online, for example, if you are seeking a fee concession or exemption.

Attend your citizenship appointment

Step 7. Attend your citizenship appointment

After the department receives your application, you will be invited to a citizenship appointment. We will send you a letter with your appointment details and further information.

At your appointment, an authorised officer will check your original documents and verify your identity. You will also take a citizenship test or have an interview, whichever applies.

You must bring your original documents to your appointment.

Your application may be refused if you do not attend your appointment.

Allow up to two hours for your appointment.

Step 8. Take the citizenship test or have a citizenship interview

You are usually required to take a citizenship test if you are aged 18 years and over and under 60 years of age. The citizenship test is designed to encourage you to find out more about life in Australia and what it means to be an Australian citizen. It will test your understanding of the responsibilities of citizenship as well as the rights that you will enjoy once you become a citizen. All the questions in the test are based on the testable information in Australian Citizenship - Our Common Bond.

Read more about the Australian Citizenship Test.

If you are not required to sit the test you may have a citizenship interview. At the interview we will confirm that you understand the nature of your citizenship application, have a basic knowledge of the English language and understand the responsibilities and privileges of Australian citizenship.

Our decision

Step 9. Receive notification of the department's decision

A decision on your application for citizenship can only be made after you have lodged a completed application together with the required original documents and fee.

The Client Service Charter provides details on the service standard for processing an application for Australian citizenship. If you do not receive notification within the time given in the charter you should contact the Citizenship Information Line on 131 880.

You must tell the department if you change your address, and you must be in the country at the time a decision is made. You may need to defer your travel plans or, if your travel is urgent contact the department for advice.

See more information about citizenship and travel

Your ceremony

Step 10. Attend a citizenship ceremony

When you receive notification that your application has been approved, you will usually need to attend a citizenship ceremony and make the Australian Citizenship Pledge. This completes the process of becoming an Australian citizen.

Generally, it takes three to six months from the time your application is approved to be invited to attend a citizenship ceremony, but waiting times between local councils can vary.

If you have children under 16 years of age who were included on your application form they will become Australian citizens when you make the Pledge.

See also: Citizenship ceremonies

Last reviewed Thursday 13 February 2014

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