More the 5 million
people have become Australian citizens since 1949 with a record 249,000 people
granted citizenship in the 2019/2020 period. Even during the pandemic, more
than 84,000 people across Australia received citizenship through online
As part of the
citizenship process, anyone wanting to become an Australian citizen needs to
take the Australian citizenship test. It has been announced that as of 15th
November 2020, the Australian citizenship test will change. This is the first
time in over a decade that the test has been updated.
How do you become
an Australian citizen?
In order to apply for
Australian citizenship, applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements some
of which include:
16 years of age
Applicants must have
lived in Australia for four years including 12 months as a permanent resident.
In the 12 months prior to applying for citizenship, applicants must have
resided in Australia for 9 out of the 12 months. Applicants may be required to
supply movement records to verify they meet this criterion, those found to have
not been in Australia for the minimum amount of time will be required to wait
another 12 months before they can apply for citizenship again.
Once an applicant has
applied for Australian citizenship, they will be required to undergo an
interview with the Department of Home Affairs to confirm their identity and
their understanding of Australian citizenship.
Once the interview is
conducted, applicants sit the Australian citizenship test.
What is the
Australian citizenship test?
citizenship test assesses the applicant’s knowledge of Australia, its people,
laws, beliefs and liberties. The test is based on content from the Australian
citizenship test resource booklet, Australian Citizenship: Our Common Bond. It
is available for download from the Home Affairs website.
How does the new
test differ from the old test?
citizenship tests have 20 multiple choice questions and require applicants to
obtain a score of at least 75% to pass.
The old test focuses
on Australian history and government while the new test incorporates Australian
The new test has revised
questions and five new questions based on Australian values. These questions
test the applicants understanding and commitment to Australian values such as
freedom of speech, mutual respect, equality of opportunity, the importance of
democracy and the rule of law.
These five questions must all be answered
correctly in order to pass.
Examples of values
questions may be:
Why is it
important that all Australian citizens vote to elect state and federal
Australia, are people free to choose who they may or may not marry?
Anyone sitting the
Australian citizenship test before 15 November 2020 will require a mark of at
least 75% to pass. Those sitting the test on or after 15 November 2020, will
need a mark of at least 75% to pass and need to answer all five questions on
Australian values correctly.
Currently there are no
changes to the English language or residency requirements for citizenship. However, PM Scott Morrison has hinted there may be changes to these requirements in
The processing time on
citizenship applications can be quite lengthy. While 75% of applications take
around 15 months from application to decision, 90% of applications are
processed within 28 months. There is then a wait of 7 – 9 months from decision
to citizenship ceremony.
While Australian borders are currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, travel exemptions may apply under the following circumstances:
- A traveller has a compassionate or compelling reason to visit Australia
- Overseas workers holding a Subclass 482 or 400 visa are required to undertake a job in Australia that cannot be filled by a local employee
Visa Solutions Australia has been successful in acquiring a broad range of exemptions, from critical workers to those needing to travel on compassionate grounds.
Becoming an Australian
citizen is a privilege and with it comes responsibilities and entitlements. If
you would like to learn more about becoming an Australian citizen or about travel exemptions, contact the
team at Visa Solutions Australia on +61 8 9328 2664.