When you apply to become a citizen of Australia, you are choosing to join a culture and society that expects its citizens to be productive members of the community. Prior to conferring citizenship, the government of Australia expects applicants to meet certain straightforward requirements that indicate they have the ability to do so.
General eligibility requires that you must pass a citizenship test, be over 18 years old, be a permanent resident at the time of application, satisfy the residence requirement, plan to continue to reside in Australia and be of good character. To prove you are of good character you must disclose in your application all criminal convictions and, if applicable, show penal certificates from other countries where you have resided in the past ten years.
The Australian Citizenship Amendment for Citizenship Testing Bill was enacted in 2007. Its purpose is to ensure the government of Australia that potential citizens possess the necessary skills to be productive members of the country and function successfully in the community. To prepare for this test you should study the booklet, "Becoming an Australian Citizen." The test is computerized and in English, consisting of 20 multiple-choice questions. You may take the test as many times as necessary to receive a passing score of at least 60 percent.
If you became a resident of Australia after July 2007 you must be a lawful resident for four years prior to applying for citizenship. This includes absences of no longer than 12 months total, and absences of no longer than ninety days in the year prior to applying. If you became a permanent resident prior to July 2007 and apply for citizenship before June 2010, you must be present in the country for two years in the five years prior to your application date, and one of those years must be within two years prior to applying. Time spent in prison and psychiatric hospitals is not counted toward the residency requirement. The only exception to the requirement is for those who have served in, or were discharged from, the Australian military.
If you are under age 18, over age 60, or have substantial physical or mental impairments you are not required to pass the citizenship test. Children under age 16 must be permanent residents living with a consenting guardian who is an Australian citizen. If the guardian is not a citizen, then they must prove that they would suffer hardship if they were not granted citizenship. Sixteen and 17-year-olds must be permanent residents, satisfy the residency requirement, speak English, understand citizenship responsibilities, and intend to stay in Australia.
You are eligible for Australian citizenship if you are a child of a former citizen who did not renounce their citizenship, or if you were born in Papua prior to its independence.
Spouses of Australian citizens are not automatically eligible for citizenship but must meet the same requirements as for general eligibility. There are special circumstances for citizens of New Zealand due to the Trans-Tasman travel arrangement allowing citizens of both countries to live and work in either location.
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