Becoming an Australian Citizen: It’s Just a Ride!

Hello, my name is Bob. I’m an Australian.

ANZ AprilWell, that may be stretching the point a bit, but I am an Australian citizen. Regular readers will have read about our Australian citizenship ceremony.

I was, of course, born in England, so I am British. But now after a very long and sometimes bumpy ride, I now am also an Australian citizen. I now have what is called dual citizenship.

And I am very proud of that. Here is how I described the journey for a recent article in Australia and New Zealand magazine for their April edition …

Becoming Australian.

Australia Day is, as you can imagine, a special day for Australians. I’ll come to that in a minute. But first, let’s go back about six years. December 2005, to be precise, that’s when we had the idea to move to Australia. And with that decision, we boarded the ‘up and down’ rollercoaster ride that is otherwise known as applying for a permanent residency visa.

  • Up; someone recommended a good MARA migration agent to us.
  • Down; after taking our details, she seemed to lose interest in us.
  • Up; we found an agent who thinks we do have a chance.
  • Down; we are five points short.
  • Up; we can buy government bonds and get those five points.
  • Down; my wife’s skill would have to be assessed before we could put in the application.
  • Up; my wife passes the assessment.
  • Down; a problem with my medical, need a full CAT scan.
  • Up; CAT scan is good.
  • More up; the phone rings at 6:30 AM, it’s our MARA agent “You’re in!”

Wow, what a ride! What’s next?

It’s the Tunnel of Love, otherwise known as living in Australia.

This is a very long, slow and enjoyable ride. It’s full of beautiful and ever-changing scenery, with so many new and different things to explore and enjoy. There is a gentle pace about this ride; it’s less stressful than the rollercoaster.

It is such a good ride, you’d be happy to stay on it for ever. Except you can’t. But you do have to stay on it for at least four years. Only then can you head off to the best ride of all.

The Flume!

Aarrrgh! Splash!! Hoorah!!! Wow, that was quick! Yes, this is the ‘becoming Australian’ ride, and it’s very fast. By November 14, 2011 we had lived in Australia for four full years as permanent residents.

This entitled us to apply for Australian citizenship. So we did, and with the Australian’s customary administrative efficiency, within a week we were given the date to take our citizenship tests.

The commonly used Australian phrase “too easy” springs to mind here.

After answering the 20 computer based multiple-choice questions, the screen immediately informed us we had passed. A few days later, we received a letter from the Minister of Immigration and Citizenship. He was delighted to inform us that our applications for Australian citizenship had been approved. We just needed to take one final step.

We needed to make a Pledge of Commitment at an Australian Citizenship Ceremony.

And that brings me back to Australia Day. Australia Day is on January 26, and that’s when our ceremony was earlier this year.

What an amazing occasion!

Aboriginal dancers enthralled us with a Traditional Welcome and Fire Lighting Ceremony. A cappella singers serenaded us. 1,117 immigrants became Australian citizens on this occasion; probably three times that many watched from the surrounding seats.

Nunukal Yuggera Aboriginal Dance TroupeThe service was led by the Lord Mayor of Brisbane and the Premier of Queensland. Australia takes these ceremonies seriously. So did we. My wife welled up, I had a lump in my throat and Elizabeth simply beamed throughout.

Yes, Australia Day is a very special day for Australians and that now includes me, my wife, Karen, and my daughter, Elizabeth.

What a ride!

Visa Assessment Service
{ 46 comments… add one }
  • elizabeth December 7, 2015, 10:04 am |

    Hi my name is Elizabeth , I just want to know what’s the best way for me to bring my fiancé to Australia , im a permanent resident , on the process to began Australian citizen , I been here for 29 years , my partner is from Dominican republic

    • BobinOz December 7, 2015, 8:18 pm |

      That’s not something I can help you with I’m afraid Elizabeth, only MARA registered migration agents are able to assist people in the process of obtaining a visa. My page called Visas may well help you though, just watch the video first and then follow the advice. Good luck, Bob

  • ACH September 5, 2015, 9:33 am |

    HI bob,

    I am from Mauritius, please advise what I should do to be able to apply for a australian citizenship application.
    I am married with two children (9+4 years), the education and lifestyle is very appealing and I am very much looking forward to move to Australia to work and live.. I feel that this time after reading your expose and gong through your website I have faith that my dreams can become a reality. I have a cousin brother who is married to someone who already has her PR.. please advise.. what do you suggest.



  • Jae Gabrielle August 12, 2015, 10:36 pm |

    Hi Bob,

    I was just wondering, am I already technically considered an Australian citizen when I’ve recieved my letter of approval for my citizenship application? Thankfully, I got my letter a week after I’ve done my test. Also I recieved a letter from the Australian Electoral Commission saying to enrol (I’m 18 now), so I’m assuming I’m technically a citizen now if they sent me this letter. I just wanted to know whether I can start studying again with vet fee help, as I am unable to pay the entire course fees, and have been waiting til I can become a citizen to enrol into my course. Hope you can help.


    • BobinOz August 13, 2015, 7:07 pm |

      As I understand it Jae, you are not technically a citizen of Australia until you have attended your citizenship ceremony and taken the pledge. I would think you are now at the stage where you are waiting for the date to be set, or the date has already been set and you’re just waiting for the ceremony.

      Until it happens though, I don’t think you are yet an Australian citizen, but that’s only what I think, if I were you I would telephone the Australian government, there will be a phone number on that letter, and ask them. I’m sure you will find them very helpful.

      Oh, and congratulations, whenever it does happen 🙂

      Cheers, Bob

  • Rich Seeley July 7, 2015, 9:05 am |

    Hey Bob,

    I’m likely moving to Australia in Jan 2016 to live with my girlfriend (NZ resident, lived in Perth since 1999), the plan is after 12 months to get the partner visa with her, and then on to a PR and citizen, as time will allow.
    Am I right at the time of posting this, to assume that as long as everything goes to plan, and i don’t waste any time, i would be able to apply for citizenship 4 years from my date of entry in jan 2016? Because i will have been a resident in australia since then.

    Also, another question, if me and my partner decided to move back to the UK after i became a citizen, would I be able to renew my australian citizenship/passport, even if i spent considerable amount of time (years) living in the UK? I know this may seem like a bit of a negative question, but I really am trying to do as much homework as possible, as this is a huge move for me, both financially and emotionally.


    • BobinOz July 7, 2015, 8:01 pm |

      I am afraid it’s way more complicated than this Rich, sounds to me as though your girlfriend may not actually be an Australian citizen herself, but she could be here as a New Zealander. There is a special arrangement, check out my page about it here…

      What you really need to do and what I advise you to do, considering this is a huge decision you’re making here, is consult with a MARA registered migration agent. It will cost you money, but it’s best to get it right. I have an agent working with me here, if you want to get the ball rolling with him, then please go through my Visa Assessment Service.

      Good luck, Bob

  • Eric September 5, 2014, 11:20 am |

    What’s your opinion: when do you think you can call yourself an Aussie?

    • BobinOz September 5, 2014, 4:39 pm |

      Good question Eric.

      Technically, I suppose any time after you get your Australian citizenship. I can quite happily call myself an Aussie, if I wanted to, but with 50 odd years under my belt being British and just a few years being an Aussie, it feels much more comfortable to refer to myself as British or English.

      Bottom line is, if anyone were to ask me what my nationality was, I’m pretty sure I would say British with Australian citizenship as well. A few years with a certificate doesn’t make me a true blue 🙂 and in reality I could never really be that.

      • Eric September 5, 2014, 8:08 pm |

        At what age do you think you’d have to move to be somewhat of a true blue?

        • BobinOz September 6, 2014, 8:22 pm |

          I’m not sure ‘true blue’ isn’t really reserved for those born and bred here. My daughter was just three when we moved, could I ever describe her as ‘true blue’? Maybe, after all, our current Prime Minister Tony Abbott was actually born in the UK, moved here when he was about 3 as well. I think we’d call him ‘true blue’ wouldn’t we? Or maybe not.

          It’s a tough question:-)

  • Jay June 18, 2014, 2:41 pm |

    Ajith thing is they are waiting for yours police clearance.. Once they receive it they will approve your citizenship.. It’s exactly same as me.. I was waiting 2 months after the test.

    • BobinOz June 18, 2014, 7:35 pm |

      That could explain it, waiting for police clearance. Mine had already been done before I took the citizenship test, so nothing to wait for. Got my letter within days.

    • ajith June 18, 2014, 9:06 pm |

      Hi Jay,
      Thanks for writing back.
      Approximately how many days it may take for AFP clearence


    • Ali December 3, 2014, 8:15 am |

      Hi Jay

      May I know how long did it take in your case to get the application approval ?


  • randy June 17, 2014, 2:55 pm |

    Hi there,

    I have the same problem as ajith. Its been more than 2 months now that I passed my citizenship test and been waiting for the approval but hasnt been approved yet.
    The online status shows ‘Application Processed further’ ..
    What does this mean ? Called them embassy and they do not say anything. Has anyone been through the same phase ?


    • BobinOz June 18, 2014, 1:20 am |

      Are you both waiting for the date of your citizenship ceremony? Maybe they don’t have any ceremonies lined up right now, or maybe the ceremonies they do have coming soon are all full.

      I’m sure there is nothing to be concerned about.

      • Ajith June 18, 2014, 1:42 pm |

        Hi Bob

        its not waiting for the citizenship ceremony date.
        It is at the stage of application getting approved


    • Ali December 3, 2014, 8:14 am |

      Hi Randy

      May I know how long does it take in your case to get the application approval ?


  • ajith June 17, 2014, 12:03 pm |


    I have written my citizenship test on april 24 2014 ,but till now the online status website is not showing me any status of my application it has been already 7 weeks afetr my test but still i didnot get any outcome of my application
    Can you please advise me why they are taking so much time.
    Also when i called the 131880 number for my status they say i have to wait but dont give me exact time i have to wait untill.
    this is very pathetic

    Please answer or help me with an answer

    • BobinOz June 18, 2014, 1:18 am |

      How would I possibly know?

  • Arif February 17, 2014, 11:43 pm |

    in my online status it says only ‘ please await for the letter from department’
    doesn’t say approved yet.
    can anyone say war it means?

    • BobinOz February 18, 2014, 5:48 pm |

      I assume you have passed the test and applied for citizenship? Then you are probably waiting for a letter from the department to give you the date of your citizenship ceremony.

  • Jay October 6, 2013, 7:43 pm |

    Hi everyone,
    I just wanna know 1 thing I passed my citizenship test last month with my wife. And my wife got approval on the same day but I didn’t…Case officer said my police clearance is not yet comes through. And she advised me wait for 2 weeks you will get a letter and decision in the letter… But its been 2 week already and I didn’t received any letter from department. So anyone can suggest me why they taking too long for making a decision on my application….

    • BobinOz October 7, 2013, 7:01 pm |

      I think anyone trying to help you out with this would only be guessing, I think you are just going to have to wait until you get that letter from the Department. Good luck, Bob

    • ajith June 17, 2014, 12:08 pm |

      Hi Jay,

      I am in a same situation like yours
      How did you contact your case officer
      can you please let me know so that I can also find out what is happening with my case

      Thanks in advance

      • Guri October 6, 2015, 10:42 pm |

        I am stuck with my citizenship application. I have gone through test but waiting for 2 months.

        I was reading ur blog.. After how many days did u get approval. Thx!

        • BobinOz October 7, 2015, 5:51 pm |

          As the article above says, we got a letter saying our citizenship had been approved just a few days after taking the tests. So I’m not sure why it’s taking so long for you, I’d give them a call if I were you.

  • Jimmy April 9, 2013, 7:35 pm |

    Hi Bob,

    The approval letters came in the mail today!
    Now just need to wait for the ceremony invitations!



    • BobinOz April 10, 2013, 1:37 pm |

      Just like clockwork, isn’t it? Nearly there 🙂



  • Jimmy April 4, 2013, 7:39 pm |

    Hi Bob,

    I just took my citizenship test today. How many days after the test did you get the letter (you said a few days)? The reason I ask is because in 2 weeks I have to travel outside of Aussie for a few weeks (work related).



    • BobinOz April 5, 2013, 1:05 am |

      Hello Jimmy

      I think for me it took exactly one week, but for some reason Mrs Bobinoz didn’t receive her letter until nearly 2 weeks if I remember correctly. I don’t think it will matter too much if you’re not around though, it’s just a letter congratulating you for passing and informing you you will receive another letter in due course telling you when your citizenship ceremony will be. I don’t think you will really miss anything in the few weeks you are away.



      • Jimmy April 5, 2013, 8:00 am |

        Thanks, mate. I just checked my online application and it said “Applicant approved – ready for citizenship ceremony. Please await letter from Department.”

        I guess I just need to wait for the letter now. 🙂

        • BobinOz April 6, 2013, 12:37 am |

          Congratulations Jimmy, you will soon be an Aussie 🙂

  • John December 30, 2012, 8:44 am |

    Hello again, I’ve sent my best, and most polite begging email to the DIAC in Brisbane, but I think the individual I need to speak or correspond with is on leave until the 7th, in the mean time one last question please, your ‘Australian Citizenship Certificate’, I imagine that is in your hand only after the Citizenship ceremony, and not before? i.e., you didn’t get it with the departments decision?

    • BobinOz January 2, 2013, 10:09 pm |

      You get your citizenship certificate issued to you as you enter the ceremony, it’s in a sealed envelope. You are not allowed to break the seal until after you have taken your pledge. You have to make the pledge, it’s part of it coming an Australian citizen. That’s how it works.


  • John December 20, 2012, 8:46 am |

    Hi, ignore my last post, I eventually found a way to speak to a human being at the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, she was surprisingly helpful for a civil servant!

    • BobinOz December 21, 2012, 12:28 am |

      Glad you got it sorted and yes, they are incredibly helpful people, I noticed that when I was in their offices in Brisbane taking my citizenship test.

  • John December 20, 2012, 5:41 am |

    Oh! now that is some interesting information. Cheers for that. Just one quick one, during the ‘becoming a citizen process’ you must at some point be given the contact details, or be contacted by, a real person who you can talk to? Someone who you can explain your circumstances to?
    I ask because I’ve tried to call them to discuss a timeline for the process but of course on the website any contact number just takes you through to per-recorded FAQs, the answer to my FAQ just says something generic like it can take ‘up to nine weeks’.

  • John December 19, 2012, 5:53 am |

    So Bob, could you offer a little citizenship application advice here?
    My question: from the moment you applied for citizenship on November 14 2011, it took more or less 2 months until your citizenship ceremony Jan 26. Can you tell me, could you have chosen a ceremony date sooner than Jan 26, and become a citizen in a shorter time period?
    I ask because I will able to apply for citizenship Feb 16th 2013, Ideally I’d like to have completed all processes and have my certificate by March 24th, that’s cutting it fine I’m aware, (I’m half way though a 4 year university degree, the census date for fees is March 24th, citizens can defer fee payment until the are in full time employment, permanent residents cannot).
    I’ve actually been permanent resident since November 2008, although I’ve had a few absences from Australia in the form of holidays, plus one year where I was the away more often than I was here. When I put all my dates here / away in the citizenship calculator online on the Australia government website, Feb 16 is the date that was spat out for when I can apply.
    My understanding is permanent residency begins when you first land in the country after being granted residency, correct? (For me Nov 20, 2008) and not when you are first notified of your residency while still in the UK (July 2008).

    • BobinOz December 20, 2012, 12:08 am |

      John, I understand where you are coming from on this, and I think you’ll be okay. If you want to speed up your Australian citizenship you can request a personal citizenship meeting and take your pledge, one on one, in front of an immigration official.

      Somebody I know did this for exactly the same reason that you want to do it, they were going to start university and wanted to finalise citizenship to reduce the costs. So he became a citizen about a month or so before his mum, dad and sister. I think you’ll find it’s quite easy to arrange and you can be straight and honest about the reason why you want to do it.

      Good luck!


  • beenamanu May 10, 2012, 2:48 pm |

    Dear Bob,
    Im working in an Australian related institution,I know so many things about Australia ,but I love Australia only through your words,Now its a dream,passion, to me……
    ……… friends are there in Australia,their reactions are mixed ; to some one its good and others so many bad experiences…..
    for every matters hundreds of opinions,but the essence I get that majority loves Australia…….
    For every country had its own culture,financial strengths,political views,problems ,etc….etc
    every one say’s my country is Good….every one had the freedom for that………..

    sorry this time my fingers types little more……..

    In future also wish good times and good days to you and family

    Really you are an ambassador of Australia….

    Today is the best day
    warm regards

    • BobinOz May 10, 2012, 10:32 pm |

      It’s true, some people do get here and just don’t like Australia. Others love it! That’s what makes the world so interesting, it would be boring if we all loved the same place.

      I wish I was an ambassador, I could park anywhere I liked and never get a parking ticket 🙂

  • Paul May 10, 2012, 8:54 am |

    Congratulations to you and your family! We are eagerly awaiting our ceremony date now having just been through the same (very quick!) application process. We won’t have the timing of Australia Day in our favour but are looking forward to it nonetheless.

    • BobinOz May 10, 2012, 10:30 pm |

      Congratulations Paul and your family, it’s nice to secure citizenship isn’t it? Whenever your ceremony is, it’ll be a great day out. Enjoy!

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