Saturday, 6 March 2010

Becoming a Citizen

Good morning. Citizenship. Sandra speaking.
Good morning, Sandra. My name is Bruce Lee.
What can I do for you, Mr Lee.
I have been living in Australia for some time and I want to become a citizen. I want to get my Australian citizenship. I need some information, please.
Well, Mr Lee. The best thing to do is to go to the Department of Immigration's web site and read all the relevant information there. At the same time, I can give you some general information on how to become a citizen.
Yes, please. That will be great.
First of all are you eligible to become a citizen?
Sorry, I don't understand.
I mean do you have the right to become an Australian citizen?
Yes, I do.
Are you aged 18 years or over and under 60?
Yes, I am. I am 42 years old.
Have you been a permanent resident in Australia for at least two years?
Yes, I have.
Do you have any children who are not citizens of Australia?
Yes. I have one son who is 12 years old.
You can include your son's name in your application. Your son does not need to lodge a separate application because he is not over 16.
I see.
Have you been living in Australia for two years or more as a permanent resident?
Yes, I have. I have been living here for four years.
That's good. You also need to read a resource book that provides you with information you will need to prepare for your citizenship test.
What is the name of the book, please?
It is called Australian Citizenship: Our Common Bond.
Where can I get it?
You can download a copy from or you can call the Citizehship Information Line.
Oh, it is easier to download it. I will do so today.
You also need to provide us with proof of identity documents. These are original documents that show your photograph, signature, current residential address and date of birth. Something like a driving licence or a healthcare card.
I've got all these original documents.
We also need evidence of when you first arrived in Australia.
I've got my passport and it has the visa on it. Will that be OK?
Of course. The information on your visa will be enough. You also need to prove that you are of good character.
Sorry. I don't understand. What do you mean by good character?
You need to tell the department about any convictions you may have had in Australia or overseas.
I've got three parking fines. Will they be a problem?
No. Everyone gets parking fines, Mr Lee. I am talking about any criminal charges like committing crimes.
Oh, I have never been in trouble with the law here or overseas. I have a clean record. I don't have to worry about that.
That's fine, Mr Lee. Now the next step to take is to complete an application form.
Where do I get the form, please?
You can download it from the Department of Immigration's web site. We can send it to you by post.
That's fine. I will download the form from the internet. Any thing else?
After filling in your form, you need to lodge it. The easiest thing to do is to lodge your application through the website. Some people don't do so because they don't have internet access. They can send the application by post. You need to be in Australia at the time.
I see.
After that you need to come to an interview.
What will happen in the interview?
An officer will check your application and documents to ensure you have satisfied the requirements.
How long does this interview normally go for?
It normally goes for two hours. The officer will go through all the documents you provide for yourself and your child.
That's fine. What will happen after that?
You will be asked to take a citizenship test. Just make sure you read the book. Every thing will be all right after that. If you are successful in the test, we will send you a notification.
How long do I have to wait before I get this notification?
Normally it takes 12 weeks. If you intend to change your address, please let us know.
I see.
If you don't receive a notification from us, please call the Citizenship Information Line.
What do I need to do after I get that notification?
You will be asked to attend a citizenship ceremony.
When is the ceremony?
We hold it every three months. You will make a pledge  of commitment to Australia. Only then will you become a citizen.
I see. It is not an easy process. It will take some time.
Yes, if you have the right documents it will be easy but things can't happen in one day.
Thank you very much for your information.
Not a problem, Mr Lee. Good luck.
Thanks. Bye.