How much does citizenship cost?

Who do I contact if I have any questions?

A: You can phone 131 880 (Dept of Immigration and Border Protection - DIBP) for all your citizenship inquiries.

Who can apply for Australian citizenship?

A: Anyone who is first a PERMANENT RESIDENT (according to the Immigration's definition) can apply - not just anyone who lives in Australia permanently. All SCV holders post 26th Feb 2001 are NOT Permanent Residents but by legal definition Temporary Residents only. Please note: Children are also required to be Permanent Residents otherwise they cannot be included in the citizenship application. Generally children with PR status under 16yrs of age can be included on their parent's application.

I've been here since I was a child and have never lived in NZ. Do I still need to get a NZ police check?

A: Yes, you will still need to apply regardless.

My English isn't very good .

A: You can contact Immigration and ask to have a translator help with your application.

How many questions are in the test and what if I get some wrong?

A: 20 questions. You are allowed to get 5 questions wrong. We've been told that you get a second go on the day if you fail the first time. Failing the test you will probably need to rebook to try again. Note: If you are 60yrs or older you do not need to sit the test.

I have a disability and I cannot physically go to an Immigration office to do my interview and test.

A: Contact Immigration and chat to them. They do have special procedures and exemptions for special cases.

Is there an age limit?

A: No

Do I have to renounce or give up my NZ citizenship?

A: No, you can be a dual citizen. You do not have to do anything special to maintain your NZ citizenship. You will have the choice then to apply for an Australian passport and all the other rights and privileges that come with citizenship. The only technicality may arise if you are already a dual citizen to another country. It will pay to check with immigration first to ask if they require you to give up one of the other citizenship statuses that you hold.

How long does it take?

A: Ordinarily it could take anywhere  from 6 weeks to 6 months, sometimes longer.

Why should I become a citizen when I can already live and work in Australia?

A: Citizenship is the only thing that you can do to ensure full security, the right to vote, access to areas and specific occupations only available to citizens as well as peace of mind. We have seen numerous devastating instances where families have been torn apart due to unforeseen circumstances despite residing in Australia for many years, even decades. They would not be in such a situation had they taken citizenship when they could have. Once the opportunity is lost it is very difficult to ever have the chance again.

I plan to move back to NZ one day, I don't need to do it.

A: Again, by taking up citizenship when you can allows opportunities and pathways for future members and possibly generations in your family. In our experience if Kiwis took up citizenship when they could have many of their family members today would not be facing the problems they now encounter today due to continual law changes.

I'm worried I won't get citizenship because I have a criminal record in NZ.

A: Chances are your offences are not serious enough to deny you citizenship or else you may not have been permitted to enter Australia in the first instance. In our experience people have been given an opportunity to address any former charges and respond in writing to any offences. Immigration will make their final decision on whether they are satisfied or not. Before applying you can contact Immigration to discuss your situation and they will advise you accordingly. However, there is now a word of caution. Since December 2014 amendments made to the Migration Act  can now lead to the instant cancellation of any non citizen's status leading to detainment in a detention centre or prison as well as removal or deportation. We are unable to determine the risk but it is possible. It is possible to also be detained if one does not have any convictions of any kind.  Please see Visa Cancellations on our website and Section 501 of the Migration Act 1958 for more information.

I've never wanted to be an Australian citizen. I'm a proud Kiwi and I don't want to change that.

A: Unfortunately there are many unintended problems created as a result of not taking out citizenship such as the detrimental affects of the unforeseen future. A significant problem we face  is the inability to  vote which causes a great deal of difficulty when needing politicians to address any immigration issues whether they be directly or indirectly.    It is in our best interests for both our existence here in Australia as well as our homeland, NZ which relies heavily on our relationship with Australia for various reasons. Australia reaps enormous financial profits from our NZ economy through many businesses including banks, supermarkets and large corporations. The only way we can ensure the future of fair trade and travel arrangements along with our reciprocal relationships is to be active watchdogs, keeping up with the political policies and influences that impact our lives and the lives of our families. Without the power to vote we are helpless and at the whim and mercy of the Australian government to do to us whatever they wish. The other crucial aspect of citizenship is actively supporting your local state and federal members of parliament. We simply cannot expect them to advocate and support our community if we cannot  be bothered ensuring they have our full support in the form of our votes.

I came in the 3 month period following the 2001 law changes between Feb 27th - May 26th 2001. 

A: You will need to provide a Centrelink Certificate stating that you were residing in Australia at this time. Contact International Services on 131 673 to inquire about whether you are able to be reissued with another certificate. Generally the rule is if you were present and had many any enquiries with Centrelink between 26th Feb 2001 - 26th Feb 2004 or you received some type of Centrelink payment eg rental assistance, Family Tax Benefit you and possibly your spouse and children are considered Transitional Customers. This would then allow you to apply for Citizenship provided you meet all other requirements. 

If you have any other questions please feel free to add to our thread and we'll do our best to answer. Remember, we can only give general advice based on our experiences and what information we have researched ourselves but we're happy to help as best we can where possible. 

Nga mihi,
Erina Morunga