How to Become an Australian Citizen

by BobinOz on May 23, 2012

in Moving To Australia

I imagine most of you reading a title like that are hoping to see something like this:

  1. Call this toll-free number – 1800 123456789-TEN
  2. When prompted, leave your full name and address.
  3. When asked for the purpose of your call answer, clearly, “Australian Citizenship”.
  4. Wait for your citizenship certificate to turn up in the post.

Citizenship CertificateBut, of course, it’s not like that.

The reality is, it’s very much harder than that.  For the vast majority of people, the only way to do it is to start by getting some kind of visa to come to Australia. To qualify for a visa you would have to have enough points.

You can find more about how that works over on my page about visas.

What I am talking about today is how to go from “permanent resident” to “Australian citizen”.

Two weeks ago I posted a reprint of one of my Australia and New Zealand magazine articles, it was called Becoming an Australian Citizen: It’s Just a Ride!

That was the article I wrote after becoming an Australian citizen. Turns out I printed that article out of turn, what I should have posted was my article called “Australian Citizenship”.

I’m sure you can see how easy it was to make that mistake.

That article appeared in the magazine in January of this year, but I wrote it on on 8 November last year, just four days before my fourth anniversary of living in Australia. That’s an important date as you will see in this article.

Here it is, slightly amended with links that I just couldn’t add in the print version…

The right to stay.

ANZ JanMoving to Australia isn’t easy, there’s lots of dull paperwork to fill in. Questions you need to answer; things you need to prove; medicals to take; criminal records to be checked. Oh, and a not insignificant amount of money will need to pass over to the Australian government.

Not to mention, which I’m now doing, Australia will need to want you. Is your skill in demand? Are you “young” enough? No, it’s not easy getting into Australia.

But supposing you do get in, supposing you get that visa? Well, that’s just great, isn’t it? You can now start your new life down under. Except, you’re not quite there yet. Because it’s most likely you will be entering Australia on either a temporary visa or a permanent residency visa.

Effectively, you’re in Australia as a guest. Guests can be shown the proverbial door. This door has the longest hallway in the world; as long as 11,000 miles for some. Yes, I’m talking about deportation. Not good.

You may think I’m getting carried away here, but that’s the scary prospect facing one British engineer. You may have read the story; I know it reached the UK. He was convicted of fare evasion and now has a criminal record. This could prevent him from being accepted as an Australian citizen, should he apply.

Being an Australian citizen is the only way you can secure the right to stay in this country. Under the terms of my entry into Australia, to get from a permanent resident, as I am, to Australian citizen, as I plan to be, I need to live here for four years. Without collecting a criminal record.

Well, I managed it for over 40 years in the UK, and I’ve now managed it for nearly 4 years here in Australia. I’m proud to announce that as I write this, I only have four days left to go.

So close, I can smell it.

So, as long as I don’t go fare dodging, everything will be okay, right?

Not so fast. I have to pass my citizenship test. “The citizenship test consists of 20 questions drawn at random from a pool of questions. To pass the test, you must correctly answer 75 per cent, or 15 out of 20 questions…”


But not to worry, help is at hand.

There is a free e-book which can be downloaded from the government’s website which will help me revise for the test. So I’ve got to go, I have work to do. 75% seems pretty high to me, I can’t remember getting anything as high as that when I was at school.

Hang on a tick; they also have a six part video series which you can now watch on my page called How to Pass Your Australian Citizenship Test! I don’t have to read the PDF!

Great stuff!

I’ll crack a tinnie, settle down on the deck chair by the pool and veg out in front of my laptop. No worries. Let me just get some snags to chuck on the barbie, I’m a bit peckish. Now I’m good.

Hold up, I can’t see the screen on the laptop, it’s too sunny.  I may as well get my togs and go for a dip. I can check that other stuff out tomorrow.

I’m sure I’ll be right, I feel a bit Aussie already.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Trevor May 24, 2012 at 10:36 am

I came here back in the 10 pound Pom days of 1968 when all you needed was a travel document and a good attitude.The medical consisted of ‘cough,please’ and the paperwork was almost non existent.At 18,my best friend and I could not believe our luck when we rocked up to Southampton Docks and boarded the vast (it was to us) Angelina Lauro,the Italian liner that was to take us to Australia.We were early refugees from the turmoil in Belfast and both our fathers paid our fares in order to get us out of the firing line.It was a no brainer.All those images of sun filled days at the beach, scantily clad young ladies,career and study opportunities plus ,plus plus versus the dismal backdrop of a cold,wet,industrial city where people were firing guns and blowing up buildings.I was’nt that keen on ‘Skippy’ the TV programme being shown in the UK at the time but thought if that was the only feeble objection I could think off I had better go.
Fast forward to 2012 and here I am living cheerfully on the Gold Coast.I had a stint back in the UK where I lived and operated businesses in Cornwall but the pull of Oz proved too great.
It is never easy to emigrate.There will always be the pull of the mother country and the absence of family and friends.These days the airfares are very reasonable so it is not difficult to nip back every few years.
I still wear beer googles and fondly reminisce of the ‘auld country’ but I honestly believe I am in the right place now.The real proof is in the development of your own children.My four have achieved well and make a real contribution to Australian society.You do get used to your kids having a different accent to you.
Well done,Bob and family for completing your four year internship.The Oz authorities certainly don’t make it easy these days but the journey is worth it.


BobinOz May 25, 2012 at 8:44 pm

Hi Trevor

Things have clearly changed a lot since those “good old days”, it’s a great story of yours but I’m sure it has also made some people green with envy :-)

They’d be thinking, if only I could pay just 10 quid, cough in a medical and jump on a boat, I’d do it tomorrow.

I think you hit the nail on the head when you talk about the proof being in the development of your own children. I came out here because I wanted something better for my daughter and I truly believe I have made the right choice. Sounds like you are convinced, even after all these years, that you also made the right choice.

Thanks for taking the time to tell us your story, it’s much appreciated.

PS. How can you not like Skippy?


Mandy Melville-Love May 29, 2012 at 11:47 pm

Well done Bob on getting your Citizenship. My partner and I are just embarking on our journey to emigrate to Oz and it’s very daunting, especially the ‘invitation only’ change that’s imminent!

Anyway, thanks for your blogs – they always offer some wonderful piece of advice.


BobinOz May 30, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Hi Mandy

Thanks, it feels good to be an Aussie :-)

Yes, it is a daunting journey and also quite expensive. Worth it if you make it in the end though. I hope it goes smoothly for you.




Valter Russo July 17, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Hi Bob,

Im glad you don’t know 1st person how to answer this question, so here it goes
if you fail the Australian Citizenship Test will you be able to repeat it any time soon?
im not even there but im already dreaming:D

Valter Russo


BobinOz July 18, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Trust me, it’s a very difficult test to fail, but yes, you will be able to take it again and again. Not sure on the exact rules, but you will get another go.


ali September 17, 2014 at 8:40 pm

i want to ask that i have subclass188 at this time and i want apply citizenship can i apply or not


BobinOz September 18, 2014 at 5:04 pm

I couldn’t tell you Ali, you should either do some research on the Australian government’s Immi website or discuss your situation with a MARA agent to see if you meet the criteria needed to apply for citizenship.


Ali November 28, 2014 at 7:34 pm


I have passed citizenship test and have to leave australia soon. I will have to return to Australia for the ceremony. But I am not sure if they allow me to re-enter Australia. I am currently permanent resident but i should not leave the country until I stay for few more year, which I can not afford. Pls let me know if I can get some kind of temporary visa to re-enter Australia for ceremony.




BobinOz November 29, 2014 at 12:23 am

I can’t help you with this one Ali, I think you will need to contact the immigration department directly, I think most major cities have offices and you can go in and speak to them. Or you can telephone.

Good luck, Bob


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