Applying for Australian Citizenship during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has made us all feel a little on edge and uneasy, which is why it is the best time to apply for that citizenship you have been putting off.

The Department has confirmed that they are still accepting applications for Australian citizenship’s during this time and will continue processing.

Furthermore, the Hon Alan Tudge MP has confirmed that citizenship ceremonies are still taking place, but in a more contemporary way, via a secure video link. This new way of holding ceremonies ensures that eligible applicants do not miss out on obtaining citizenship and making their pledge of commitment to Australia.

Permanent residents have a few requirements to reach before they become eligible for citizenship, such as:

  • Since receiving a valid visa, you must have spent the past 4 years living in Australia; and
  • You must have held a permanent resident visa or be an eligible New Zealand citizen for the past 12 months; and
  • Spent less than 12 months total away from Australia in the past 4 years and no more than 90 days away from Australia in the past 12 months.

However, if you do not meet this criteria, there are options available for ministerial discretion which opens up options for an exemption from the ‘resident requirements’ criteria.

Are you eligible for ministerial discretion?

There are a few categories which you may fall into which allow you to be considered for an exemption from the requirements of applying for Australian citizenship.

These include:

  • Significant hardship or disadvantage
  • Proof of close and continuing association with Australia
    • This may include:
    • Having a child who holds Australian citizenship
    • Being in a long-term spousal or de facto relationship with an Australian citizen
    • Proof of regular return visits to Australia
    • Proof of owning property in Australia
  • Administrative error

There is no time better than the present to apply for your citizenship. If you believe you are eligible or would like to find out if you are eligible/meet the criteria for a ministerial exemption, get in contact with our offices on 1300 083 843 or online.

For more information regarding COVID-19 and visas, check the latest news here.

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