IMPORTANT! From 20th of April 2017 the Australian government has advised that a package of reforms will apply to Citizenship applications received on or after 20 April 2017. The Government has also advised that the new Citizenship legislation for these reforms will not be introduced immediately but will be introduced by the end of 2017.
The package of reforms includes the following:
- Increase in general residence requirement to a minimum of four years permanent residence immediately prior to application for citizenship.
- Need to demonstrate competent English prior to sitting the citizenship test.
- Strengthening the Australian values statement to include reference to allegiance to Australia and require applicants to make an undertaking to integrate into and contribute to the Australian community.
- Strengthen the test for Australian citizenship with the addition of new test questions about Australian values, privileges and responsibilities of Australian citizenship.
- Introducing a requirement for applicants to demonstrate their integration into the Australian community by providing documentation to the effect that people who can work are working, or are actively looking for work or seeking to educate themselves; that people are contributing to the community by being actively involved in community or voluntary organisations; that people are properly paying their taxes and ensuring their children are being educated and criminal records and adherence to social security laws will also be relevant.
- Strengthening the Pledge of commitment in the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 to refer to allegiance to Australia and extending the requirement for individuals over 16 years of age to make the Pledge of commitment to all streams of citizenship by application, including citizenship by descent, adoption and resumption.
How to become an Australian citizen?
The Australian Citizenship Act 2007 sets out how you become an Australian citizen, the circumstances in which you may cease to be a citizen and some other matters related to citizenship of the Commonwealth of Australia. The Australian Passports Act 2005 sets out provisions for the issue and administration of Australian passports, used as evidence of identity and citizenship by Australian citizens who are travelling internationally.
According to the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 there are several ways how the applicant may become a citizen of the Commonwealth of Australia:
- Automatic acquisition of Australian citizenship by birth;
- Automatic acquisition of Australian citizenship by adoption;
- Automatic acquisition of Australian citizenship by descent;
- Acquisition of Australian citizenship by conferral.
From the 1st of October 2007 (transitional arrangements in place till 1 July 2010) the applicants acquiring the Australian citizenship by conferral will need to meet the following eligibility criteria at the time they apply for Australian citizenship:
- You must have been living in Australia on a valid Australian visa for 4 years immediately before applying, including 1 year as a permanent resident, and
- You must not have been absent from Australia for more than 1 year during the 4 year period, including no more than 90 days in the year immediately before applying.
- Be aged 18 years or over at the time the application is made
- Pass the Australian citizenship test before applying for Australian citizenship. 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. You have to score 75% marks to pass the test or 15 out of 20 questions.
- 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.
The length of a physical presence in Australia for the purpose of fulfilling a residence requirement may not include a period of Confinement in prison or psychiatric institution by order of a court made in connection with proceedings for an offence against an Australian law in relation to the person at any time during the four year period, with the exception of a limited number of circumstances.
Privileges of Australian citizenship/passport
Acquisition of Australian citizenship by conferral gives you the following obvious and not obvious advantages:
- Ability to live in Australia and to leave and re-enter Australia without applying for a resident return visa;
- Ability to to save your former citizenship (citizenships);
- Ability to acquire additional citizenship of a third country, such as Canada, while keeping the Australian citizenship;
- Register as Australian citizens by descent any of your children born overseas after you become an Australian citizen. It is possible to view it as a particular kind of transfer by inheritance of the status of an Australian citizen to all children born after you have obtained your Australian citizenship, regardless of where they were born and what other citizenship they have;
apply for an Australian passport and to leave and re-enter Australia without applying for a resident return visa;
- Ability to travel visa free to the majority of the countries;
- Seek and obtain real assistance from Australian diplomatic representatives while overseas;
- Work in the public service;
- Serve in the armed forces;
- Stand for Parliament;
- Vote to elect members of Parliament;
- Right to be elected;
- Obtain income support for mature students and Australian apprentices aged 25 years and older
obtain family income assistance from Centrelink.
Can there be refusals or difficulties in obtaining the citizenship of Australia?
The process of acquiring Australian citizenship by conferral is essentially straightforward – for most immigrants, the acquisition of Australian citizenship means obtaining a permanent residence visa and subsequent residence in Australia for a minimum of four years. In addition, the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 provides for a number of exceptions decreasing the duration of the residency.
Refusals or difficulties in obtaining the citizenship of Australia can take occur on a number of reasons, for example:
- Not passing a character test, due to the convictions. Including bad driving convictions;
- Non presence of the applicant in Australia at the time of the decision for the acquisition of the
- Australian citizenship;
- The Applicant is unable to confirm his/her identity;
- Children of 16-17 years old who are unable to meet residence requirement;
- Children up to 15 years old making application on their own without responsible parent;
- Children of a former Australian citizen;
- Resuming of Australian citizenship;
- Bridging visa E Immigration history.
All fees are in Australian dollars and are for my professional immigration services only. Any disbursements or miscellaneous expenses incurred that are associated with the migration process (e.g. visa application charges, translation costs etc.) are not included.
For those who are interested, the range of average fees for professional services, charged by registered migration agents is available on MARA web site.
Please note these fees do not include visa application charges payable to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) and cover only visa application related services.
In the case of selecting a Licensed Australian Migration Agent you are primarily guided by the question of cost of services, I will match or better any genuine offer made to you in writing by another migration agent, provided that it does not contradict the legislation of Australia.
Professional immigration services fees for the Australian citizenship are varied depending on readiness of the documents and number of the applicants. On average: AUD$1,000.00 – AUD$3,000.00.
Additional services that are provided for an extra charge or by a third parties include:
Translation of the documents by a NAATI accredited translator. It is possible to use alternative to the NAATI translations as long as they are accordingly certified. Though such translations may not be accepted by the Australian Post Office when applying for the Australian Passport. Please discuss fees for the translations directly with NAATI accredited translators. An average cost of all translations required for a visa application ranges between AUD$200.00 to AUD$1,500.00.
Comprehensive submissions writing for extremely complex cases.
This page provides a summary information on 26 of May 2017. Australian immigration law is complex and it changes on a regular basis. If you have any additional questions or require further clarification, please, do not hesitate and contact me regarding this matter and, if appropriate, to arrange a mutually convenient time for an appointment.
Viktor Ovcharenko MARN 0964258