Australian Citizenship

There are 10 key stages to the application process for Australian Citizenship. The below information summarises these stages, what is required of you, and what preparations to make.

This rest of this section of the site contains everything that you need to know about the test and how to prepare for it. Here you can find out how the test works, what you will need to know to pass it and how to book it when you feel you are ready. You can find study tips and techniques to help you make the most of your study time and give you the confidence you need to pass.

Lots of information is also found in our FAQs section - don't forget to check there as well if you can't find what you are looking for here.

The 10 steps to naturalisation

There are 10 key stages to the application process for Australian Citizenship. The below information summarises these stages, what is required of you, and what preparations to make.

The DIAC state on their website that the time that it takes to submit and complete and application for citizenship varies but that for the majority of applicants it takes between three and six months.

Are you eligible to apply?

Step 1. Determine that you are eligible

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

  • be a migrant who is a permanent resident - you can become a permanent resident through many of the available visa subclasses. You should check the DIAC's Visa Wizard if you are not sure whether or not you have permanent residence.
  • satisfy the residence requirement - see Step 2 below
  • 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
This is the category for anyone over the age of 18 and under the age of 60.
    Form 1290: Australian citizenship – Other situations
This is the category for people:

  • 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. In order to be eligible for citizenship you must meet the following requirements:

  • You have completed 4 years lawful residence in Australia
  • You must have spent at least 12 months in Australia as a permanent resident
  • You have spent the 12 months immediately before making an application for Australian citizenship as a permanent resident
  • You have been absent from Australia for no more than 12 months in total in the 4 years prior to application
  • You have spent no more than 90 days outside of Australia in the 12 months immediately prior to application.

If you are uncertain whether or not you meet the residence requirement then the DIAC provide a Residence Requirement Calculator on their website. It is strongly advised to provide exact dates of departure and arrival for any trips you make outside of Australia, as well as the classes of visa you have held, where possible.

Please note that under certain circumstances the residence requirement may be varied. These include exemptions for people who have served in the armed forces of the Commonwealth of Australia and the exclusion of any time spent in prison being counted towards your residence requirement.

Prepare for your citizenship appointment

Step 3. Read Our Common Bond, the Australian citizenship resource book

Your citizenship test (see Step 8) will consist of questions based on the testable information in Our Common Bond, the DIAC study materials. You can download Our Common Bond for free from the DIAC website. Alternatively, you can request a free copy in the post.

The questions will test your knowledge and understanding of Australian society and history. Topics covered include the history of the nation and its peoples, the structure and functions of the government, Australian law and geography. More detailed information can be found in the rest of the About the Test section.

You should study the testable sections of Our Common Bond to ensure you are familiar with the materials. We have included some study techniques and tips on this site to help you with your preparations.

To help you test your knowledge of the testable materials and prepare for the test we offer a variety of products to suite your preferred methods of studying:

Step 4. Gather your original documents

When you send in your application form you will need to provide a range of documents to support the application. These documents will:

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

The required documents vary depending on the eligibility requirement they satisfy.

To prove your identity all applicants, including children, will need to provide a document, or documents, that collectively show:

  • your photograph and signature
  • your current residential address
  • evidence of your date of birth, birth name and any changes of name

You also need a person with 'appropriate authority' to complete the Proof of identity and declaration section of your form and write the following on the back of a photograph of you, along with their signature:

'This is a true photograph of (your full name)'

A person with 'appropriate authority' must work in one of the designated occupations, have known you for at least 12 months, cannot be related to you by birth or marriage and must be contactable by telephone during office hours. For children under the age of six the Proof of identity and declaration can be filled out by someone who has known them less than 12 months.

For applications made from overseas the Proof of identity and declaration should be completed by a  citizen of your country of residence who meets the requirements as above.

For online applications you should use Form 1195 and take the compete copy, along with the endorsed (signed) photograph and other original documents as required to your citizenship appointment.

Step 5. Complete your application form

The DIAC provide a checklist for the application form which clarifies what each section means. It is recommended that you check your completed application form against this checklist to ensure you have filled everything out correctly.

You will require certified copies of your documents, either to post in with a paper application or to bring to your appointment if you make an online application. You can find more more information on how to certify documents on the DIAC website.

Step 6. Lodge your application form

You can make your application online, through the DIAC website, of you can complete a paper for and post it to your nearest DIAC departmental office. You can download and print copies of the application forms.

For citizenship applications made online you will be required to indicate the identity and other documents you will bring with you to your citizenship appointment. You must bring your original documents and certified copies (see Step 6) to your appointment.

You must also bring a completed Proof of identity and declaration and correctly endorsed photographs (see Step 4) for yourself and any children included in your application, to your appointment.

If you make your citizenship application on paper you must attach certified copies (see Step 5) of the original documents. Do not post original documents with your application.

It is also important to make sure that you enclose the correct fee with your applications as it will be rejected if the wrong payment is made. Check the DIAC's summary of fees to make sure that you have included complete and correct fees for every form you are submitting. Remember that if you are including multiple forms, for instance for your children, you will need to pay separate fees for them.

Attend your citizenship appointment

Step 7. Attend your citizenship appointment

Once your application has been received and processed you will be invited to a citizenship appointment. The appointment details, including the place, date and time, will be confirmed to your in writing. It is at this appointment that you will either take your citizenship test or have an interview - whichever applies to your application.

At this appointment your eligibility for Australian citizenship will be checked and confirmed by a departmental officer. This will involve checking your original and certified documents, verifying your identity and confirming that you have satisfied all of the requirements.

It is very important that you attend your appointment as your application may be refused if you do not attend. If you are unable to make the assigned appointment for any reason you should contact the departmental office as soon as possible to make alternative arrangements.

You should allow approximately two hours for your citizenship appointment.

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

If you are over the age of 18 and under the age of 60 then you will probably have to sit the citizenship test. Certain people are exempt from taking the test, details of these exemptions can be found on our Requirements and Exemptions page.

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. More detailed information can be found in the rest of the About the Test section.

Don't forget to check out our online tests and study techniques and tips to help you with your preparations.

If you are not required to sit the test you may have a citizenship interview.  At the interview we will confirm 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.

The decision

Step 9. Receive notification of the DIAC’s decision

Once you have submitted a complete application, along with all the required supporting documentation, and either sat the citizenship test or attended an interview, a decision will be made.

The DIAC advise that the processing time for most citizenship applications is 60 days. If you do not receive notification within this time 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.

Your ceremony

Step 10. Attend a citizenship ceremony

If your application is approved, once you have received notification you will need to attend a citizenship ceremony and make the Australian Citizenship Pledge to complete the process of becoming an Australian citizen.

You should be contacted by your departmental office within six months about attending a citizenship ceremony. As with your citizenship appointment, if you cannot make the proposed date of your citizenship ceremony for any reason then you should contact the departmental office as soon as possible.

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.