On Australia Day traditionally we come together to celebrate how wonderful our country is. Whether you listen to Triple J’s hottest 100 countdown, have a BBQ with friends or family or attend a community event, we all appreciate this great country of ours.
Many people also choose Australia Day to become a citizen and officially call themselves an Aussie for the first time.
So how does the government test one’s patriotism and determine who is eligible for Australian citizenship?
The majority of successful citizens must:
- Meet the residency requirements. This means having lived in Australia for four years on a valid visa, including the previous 12 months, as a permanent resident.
- There are restrictions on the length of time spent out of the country over this time.
- Be of good character. This relates to whether Australia’s laws will be obeyed. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection will require criminal checks on citizen applicants who, during the time they held a permanent Australian visa, have spent more than 12 months overseas with more than 90 days of that in any one country. Any associations with people or organisations who have committed war crimes, or associations with friends or family who are criminals will also be considered.
- Have a basic knowledge of the English language.
- Intend to live in or maintain a close and continuing association with Australia.
- Have an adequate knowledge of the responsibilities and privileges of Australian citizenship.
- The citizenship test is undertaken for those over 18 years old and under 60 years old. This test, while the subject of debate from all political parties about its effectiveness, is intended to ensure all citizens fulfil the above criteria by testing applicants on our history, people, beliefs and government.
The citizenship application fee ranges from $285, with heavy reductions if the applicant is on a concession card to no fee for someone who is stateless.
Being prepared for the test is important, as the government doesn’t take the approval of citizenship lightly. Russell Crowe was rejected twice, despite being considered an unofficial Australian ambassador.
For those Australians that have dual citizenship, it is also important to be aware that your Australian citizenship can be revoked by the government at any time if:
- You are convicted of falsifying your citizenship application or have committed migration-related fraud.
- You are convicted of a serious criminal offence before becoming a citizen.
- You are engaging in or have been convicted of certain terror-related acts.