There are more Australians born overseas living in this country than ever before. In fact, 28% of Australia’s population weren’t born here, but they’ve made Australia their home and have become official citizens.
There are many benefits of being an Australian citizen, you have your own passport and can come and go to this country as you please, and make use of consulate services if you’re experiencing difficulties while abroad.
Australian citizens are also entitled to vote and can benefit from medical facilities and apply for jobs in the defence forces and public service. They can also stand for parliament, enjoy an Australian education and benefit from student loans and reduced fees.
Currently anyone living in Australia for four years as a permanent resident can apply for Australian Citizenship. Most of the applications for citizenship are approved – with the current rate standing around 80%.
Believe it or not this is one of the most common reasons citizenship is rejected. The most important element of any application is verifying the identity of that person. As part of the process the applicant needs a photograph and a completed identity declaration signed by a designated person.
There are further checks made throughout the citizenship process so make sure all your documents are genuine and correct.
A National Police Check is also required to become an Australian citizen. Time and time again the Australian Government has announced its getting tough on those who break the law. To gain Australian citizenship, you must demonstrate that you are of a good character.
You must declare to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection whether you have been convicted of a criminal offence and received a fine, a suspended sentence or a period of imprisonment. You will be denied citizenship if you’ve committed a serious offence. Minor speeding fines and parking fines are not included. Checks will also be made to ensure you are not a security risk.
The only time you would not have to disclose a conviction is if it was a minor offence and has been spent and was committed ten years prior to your citizenship application.
You must be officially in Australia when the decision is made and will be turned down if you are not present. There are some special circumstances where you can appoint someone else to be there for you.
Your application will not be approved if you have previously been an Australian citizen and relinquished it within the last year and in that timeframe reapplied for citizenship.
Prior to the citizenship being approved you must sit and successfully complete the citizenship test. Around 98% of people currently pass the test first time.
If your citizenship application is refused, then you have the right to ask for it to be reviewed by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton is currently trying to change legislation so that he has the power to overrule the Administrative Appeals Tribunal decision. This means if the AAT gives citizenship to someone, despite a ruling from the Immigration Department, the Immigration Minister can override it.
Remember Immigration laws are constantly changing and here at Visa Solutions Australia we strongly advise people to seek professional advice. We are a trusted team of migration experts and can discuss your specific requirements over the phone or in person, so contact us today.