Although Permanent Residents can remain in Australia indefinitely, there are several rights and protections that are only available to Australian Citizens. These include:  

  • Indefinite stay outside of Australia and easy re-entry. Permanent Residents must apply for Resident Return Visas (Subclass 155 ) every five years if they wish to leave and return to Australia;  
  • Consular assistance from the Australian Government while overseas. For example if you become seriously ill or are a victim of a serious crime;  
  • The option of working in a number of Government jobs that require Australian Citizenship, for example Australian Defence or Federal Police jobs;  
  • The right to vote, in fact you will be required by law to vote if you are over 18 years old; 
  • Visa free / visa-on-arrival travel to many countries through access to an Australian passport;  and
  • Protection from deportation.  

Hold a particular visa or be an eligible New Zealand Citizen  

Applicants must hold a Permanent Residency Visa, for example a Partner Visa (Permanent) (Subclass 801) or Employer Nominated Scheme Visa (Subclass 186). Alternatively, certain New Zealand Citizens are also eligible to apply for Australian Citizenship.  

Close and continuing link to Australia 

Applicants must intend to live in Australia or maintain a close and continuing relationship with the Australia if they are overseas. In assessing this, the Department of Home Affairs will consider:  

  • Family you have in Australia;  
  • The amount of time you have spent in Australia; and  
  • Financial and professional ties in Australia.  

Sit an Australian Citizenship test 

Generally applicants will sit an Australian Citizenship test where their basic knowledge of Australia and English language skills will be assessed. The are some circumstances in which applicants will not need to take an Australian Citizenship test for example, if they are over 60 years old. 

Pass the character requirement 

Applicants must be of “good character”. In deciding this, the Department of Home Affairs will consider things like:  

  • Your previous dealings with the Australian Government, including whether you have provided any false or misleading information in relation to any previous visa or Australian Citizenship applications;  
  • The likelihood you will obey Australian laws and meet your obligations as an Australian Citizen;  
  • Any matters you have had in Australian or overseas courts;  
  • Your association with other people that may be of concern; and  
  • Any criminal convictions. 

Other issues 

Applicants may experience issues with obtaining Australian Citizenship where they cannot establish their identity, have recently been released from prison or if the applicant has ceased to be an Australian Citizen in the past 12 months, amongst other things.  

General residency requirements 

Applicants should generally have lived in Australia for four years and been a Permanent Resident for at least 12 months before making the Australian Citizenship application. There are some exemptions and alternative special requirements in some cases, for example applicants should not have travelled outside Australia for more than 12 months during the four year residency period, including no more than 90 days outside of the country during the last 12 months.  

Applicants may obtain Australian Citizenship in several other ways, for example by descent where they were born overseas to a parent who was an Australian Citizen or if they are adopted by an Australian Citizen.  

A few of the common mistakes that we see with these applications include:   

  • Providing insufficient evidence with the application;  
  • Applying for Australian Citizenship after living overseas for long periods over the past 4 years;  
  • Insufficient preparation for the Australian Citizenship test;  
  • Providing inconsistent information in previous visa applications, without addressing this properly in Citizenship applications; and  
  • Failing the character requirement due to previous regulatory or criminal offences.  

Depending on the circumstances, the following costs may be incurred:  

  • $285 in application charges; and  
  • Police checks (about $45 in Australia, but overseas checks can vary significantly). 

The total costs will depend on the circumstances, including any exemptions that apply and other circumstances.  

Note the costs above are in Australian Dollars.  

Australian Citizenship applications by conferral can take 20 to 23 months from the date of application up to the Citizenship Ceremony. Applications by descent can take between 49 days to four months.  

These processing times are averages only and individual cases can be processed in longer or shorter periods.  

We can assist you with your Australian Citizenship application by:   

  • Reviewing your circumstances and providing you with detailed advice about your eligibility for Australian Citizenship;  
  • Discuss any complications with your case, highlighting any risks and strategies that can be used to overcome these risks;  
  • Provide detailed document checklists so that you provide the best evidence to support your application; and  
  • Draft all required forms on your behalf, submit the application and assist you with any issues that arising during processing.  

If you are interested in obtaining assistance with your migration matters, the first step is to book a consultation using the link below.  


Applying for a visa can be confusing but we are here to help. Now that you have a basic understanding of how this visa works, book in a consultation so that we can discuss how we can help you start your new life in Australia. 




Alternatively, please fill in the below form so we can answer your questions.

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