(or how to become an Australian citizen)
by Nick Chang

Did the images from the recent Federal election have you craving a democracy sausage, but you couldn’t get one because you aren’t a citizen?

Don’t despair. This article will explain how you can become an Australian citizen, so that next time an election comes around, you can avail yourself of one of the fundamental parts of Australian democracy.


Step 1: Be a Permanent Resident

You must have been a permanent resident (or eligible New Zealand citizen), for the last twelve months and have been living in Australia on a valid visa for the past four years. You must also not have been away from Australia for more than 12 months in the past 4 years and 90 days total in the past 12 months.


Step 2: Take a citizenship test

The next step is to take the Australian citizenship test and interview, unless you are over the age of 60 in which case you are exempt. It’s long been rumoured that Don Bradman’s batting average forms part of the citizenship test, so make sure to read up on the finer points of cricket before taking the test.

Step 3: Satisfy the character test

Make sure you have a fairly clean criminal history, or you could be excluded from becoming a citizen – we don’t want any more Ned Kellys!


Step 4: Attend the Citizenship Ceremony

Once you’ve passed all of the tests with flying colours (green and gold colours, that is), you can attend a citizenship ceremony and take an oath or affirmation to become a citizen.


Step 5: Vote and enjoy the taste of democracy

Congratulations! You are now an Australian citizen. Make sure to head to your local polling booth at the next election to cast your vote (you’ll be fined if you don’t!) and, more importantly, buy yourself a democracy sausage.

If you can’t wait that long to get yourself a sausage, head to your local Bunnings any Saturday and support a local community group by buying a sausage – you won’t be able to taste the democracy though.


Other tips

If one of your parents was an Australian citizen when you were born overseas, you may be eligible to apply to apply for citizenship by descent, this means you can skip step 1 and 2.

Some countries do not permit dual citizenships, so you will need to check whether you will need to renounce your current citizenship to become an Australian citizen.

If you are eligible for Australian citizenship, we recommend you consider applying. It can be a complex process, and our team at BELAW can provide advice and assist you in preparing your application to become an Australian citizen.