How Long After Permanent Residency Can I Apply for Citizenship?


Securing permanent residency is a significant milestone for visa holders in Australia, opening doors to numerous opportunities and a sense of belonging.

A primary concern for those aspiring to become Australian citizens is when they become eligible to make an application for citizenship.


When Can a Permanent Resident Apply for Australian Citizenship?


After obtaining permanent residency, individuals must typically wait a specific duration before they become eligible to apply for Australian citizenship.

As a permanent resident, individuals can generally apply for Australian citizenship once they have been living in Australia for a total of four years on any type of visa.

Specifically, applicants must have spent 12 months of that time as a permanent resident.

Importantly, an individual’s time in Australia while holding various visas contributes to the overall four-year requirement set by the Australian Government and once these conditions have been met, they are eligible to apply for citizenship.

During this time, applicants must maintain their permanent residency status and comply with Australian laws.

However, if an applicant is applying for citizenship by birth or descent, the process differs.


Example of a Permanent Resident Applying for Australian Citizenship


Meet Sarah, a permanent resident in Australia.

Sarah initially arrived on a Student Visa (Subclass 500), transitioned to a Temporary Graduate Visa (Subclass 485), and eventually obtained permanent residency.

As a permanent resident, she can apply for citizenship after spending a total of four years in Australia on various visas, with at least 12 months as a permanent resident.

Having spent time on various visas, Sarah meets the four-year requirement for Australian citizenship and is ready to apply.


Residence Requirements


In addition to the waiting period, applicants must also meet the residence requirement.

This entails physically residing in Australia for at least three out of the four years preceding the citizenship application.

In some instances, the residence requirement period can be shorter if the applicant satisfies certain exceptions.

Temporary absences from Australia, such as holidays or business trips, may be permitted within certain limits.

However, extended periods of absence from Australia may (likely) affect eligibility.


Good Character Requirement


Australian citizenship applicants are assessed based on their character and must satisfy the good character requirements.

It is crucial to uphold a good character during the waiting period and throughout the application process.

Criminal convictions or a history of non-compliance with Australian laws may impact the assessment of an applicant’s character.


Citizenship Test


One of the final steps in the citizenship application process is the citizenship test.

This test assesses an applicant’s understanding of Australian values, traditions, and the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship.

Adequate preparation is recommended to ensure a successful outcome.


Citizenship Application Process


Once the waiting period and other requirements are met, applicants can submit their citizenship application.

The Department of Home Affairs handles citizenship applications, and the process involves completing the necessary forms, providing supporting documents, and paying the applicable fees.


Changes in Legislation


It is important to note that migration laws and policies are subject to change at the Federal Government’s discretion.

Applicants should stay informed about any updates or amendments that may affect their eligibility or the application process.


Contact Us


Becoming an Australian citizen is a significant step for those who have obtained permanent residency.

By understanding the waiting period, residence requirements, and other key aspects of the application process, individuals can confidently progress along the path to Australian citizenship.

At Bambrick Legal, we understand the importance of this transition and are here to guide you every step of the way.

Whether you have questions about the residence requirements, need assistance with the application forms, wish to discuss how long after permanent residency you can apply for citizenship, or want to ensure you meet all the criteria, our experienced team is ready to help.

Schedule a consultation, and let’s discuss the specifics of your case. Our experts can assess your eligibility, address any concerns you may have, and provide personalised assistance to make your citizenship journey smooth and successful.

Please note: Our migration and citizenship consultations are provided on a fee basis.

Related Blog – Applicant’s Australian Citizenship denied due to IVO & Domestic Violence convictions

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