Australian citizenship amendments

On 20 April 2017, the Australian Government announced the strengthening of requirements for Australian citizenship. On 18 October 2017, the Government proposed citizenship amendments to the legislation so only applications lodged on and after 1 July 2018 will be assessed against the new criteria, subject to the passage of legislation through the Australian Parliament.

This means that your application if it were to be lodged today, the application would be assessed against the existing eligibility criteria for Australian citizenship.

What are the new requirements?

Resulting from the proposed Australian citizenship amendments and subject to the rolling out of legislation, the new requirements for Australian citizenship will come into effect on 1 July 2018 and include the following:

  • increasing the general residence requirement, which means applicants for Australian citizenship will need to have a minimum of four years permanent residence immediately prior to their application for citizenship with no more than one year spent outside Australia during that period
  • completing a separate English language test, where applicants will need to demonstrate English language listening, speaking, reading and writing skills at the modest level before applying for citizenship by conferral
  • strengthening the Australian values statement to include reference to allegiance to Australia and requiring applicants to undertake to integrate into and contribute to the Australian community
  • strengthening the test for Australian citizenship through the addition of new test questions about Australian values and the privileges and responsibilities of Australian citizenship
  • a requirement for applicants to demonstrate their integration into the Australian community
  • strengthening the pledge to refer to allegiance to Australia, and extending the requirement to make the pledge to applicants aged 16 years and over for all streams of citizenship by application, including citizenship by descent, adoption and resumption.

What does this mean for people who have already applied for Australian citizenship?

If you applied before, on or after 20 April 2017

If you have already applied for Australian citizenship before, on or after the 20th April 2017, your citizenship application will be assessed against the eligibility criteria that was in place when you originally applied. If your citizenship application has not yet been finalised, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) will contact you via written communication when it reaches the next stage of processing or if they require any further documentation to support your application.

If you are wanting to apply for Australian citizenship, now is the time to do it before any laws are amended by the Australian Government. Contact our Registered Migration Agent team today to discuss your immigration options and Australian citizenship eligibility. Delaying your Australian citizenship application could have complex implications for your chances of obtaining Australian citizenship due to any upcoming law changes or citizenship amendments.

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