Australian Citizenship Application: Requirements and Procedure
Immigrants make huge contribution to Australian society and are bringing much-needed skills and labour to Australia. Here at K Group Legal after assisting our clients to gain permanent residency, buying their first home, settling their family affairs or purchasing a business, too often the obvious question we are being asked is am I eligible for Australian citizenship?
Unbeknown to many applicants, an application for Australian citizenship in some occasions may lead to cancellation of permanent residency where applicant’s character is an issue. It is in these circumstances that we recommend you seek advice from an experienced immigration lawyer.
In this article we will provide useful insights for an understanding of citizenship application requirements, and procedures.
The Australian Citizenship Act 2007
Citizenship application requirements are governed by the Australian Citizenship Act 2007. The act was later amended by the Australian Citizenship Amendment (Citizenship Testing) Act 2007 in September 2007.
Citizenship by Conferral and Citizenship by Descent
The most common pathway for permanent residents to become Australian citizen is by making an application for Australian citizenship by Conferral. Citizenship by Descent is available to applicant who was born outside Australia and at least one of the parents of an applicant was an Australian citizen at the time of the applicant’s birth. All applicants are required to satisfy the character test.
Citizenship by Conferral: Residence Requirement
To satisfy the residence requirement, an applicant must have been living in Australia for four years and must hold permanent residency for 12 months immediately before applying for Australian citizenship. Whereas an applicant could stay overseas for maximum period of up to 90 days during the time the applicant hold permanent residency, the total period spent overseas by the applicant must not be more than 365 days in the 4 year period immediately before the date of the citizenship application. The location of the applicant at the time of the grant of the permanent residency determines the permanent residency date of the applicant.
Exemptions to Residence Requirement
The most common exemptions to residence requirements are as follows:
- If you are a spouse/De Facto Partner or Surviving Spouse or De Facto Partner of an Australian citizen and could demonstrate close and continuing association with Australia;
- If your failure to meet residence requirement solely attributable to an administrative error made by the Department;
- If you need to be an Australian citizen to engage in activities of benefit to Australia;
- If your work requires you to travel regularly outside Australia
One of the most important preconditions for the applicant to obtain Australia citizenship is to be of good character. To satisfy the character requirement, an applicant needs to provide Overseas Police Clearance Certificate from every country the applicant resided for more than 90 days after the applicant turned 18 since the grant of the permanent resident visa if the total amount of time the applicant spent overseas equates to 12 months or more.
Adding Children Under 16 Years:
Children under 16 years of age can be included in your citizenship application if the children are permanent resident. Children under 16 years of age do not need to meet residence requirement.
Citizenship: An Alternative Way?
If your child born in Australia on or after 20 August 1986 and had been an ordinary resident of Australia for 10 years from the date of the child’s birth, then the child will automatically acquire Australian citizenship irrespective of your residential status. The substantive issue here is whether the child had been an ordinary resident of Australia throughout the period. Relevant case law establishes that temporary absence from Australia during the period does not disqualify the child from acquiring Australian citizenship.
How Can K Group Legal Help
K Group Legal can assist you in garnering evidences and supporting documentation for your citizenship application if you have character issues or if you are claiming an exemption from residence requirement. In both instances, an extensive amount of supporting documents along with a professional submission from an experienced Immigration lawyer could assist you to achieve a positive outcome. If you are unsure about your residence requirement Immigration Lawyer from K group Legal can advise you about your eligibility and direct you to the right direction.