If you're a Permanent Resident of Australia, congratulations! You've already come so far and done so well. But you're looking to take things one step further, you might consider becoming an Australian Citizen. Citizens have the privilege of voting rights, financial assistance for education, government jobs, and protection from deportation. It's definitely worth pursuing! So how do you become a citizen of Australia?
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If you want to become a citizen of Australia, there are a few steps to go through and the one most people struggle with is the Citizenship Test.
Generally, if you’re aged between 18 and 59 and you want to become an Australian citizen, you need to take the Citizenship Test - a short test on Australian facts and values.
- The test is multiple choice, 20 questions, on a computer, and you are allowed 45 minutes to complete it.
- For most people the test will be in English, and written only.
- If you need help with reading and writing English there are options like translators and assistance to help everybody get a fair go (which you’ll soon learn is very important to Australians).
- The Citizenship test is free
- If you don’t pass the first time, you can take the test again as many times as you like.
Australia really wants you to pass, so we give you pleny of opportunities!
So how do you prepare?
Read the information
The Australian Government provides the booklet Our Common Bond. It comes in 2 parts. Book 1 is testable, Book 2 is not. You can read Book 2 out of interest, but Book 1 is your study guide for the Citizenship Test. The test is not allowed to ask you anything that isn’t in Book 1. Read it... and then read it again!
Our Common Bond is also available as a podcast, so you can listen to it to reinforce your learning. Pop it on while you’re driving, exercising, or doing housework.
You can get the booklet in languages other than English but the test will be in English, so we suggest you practice reading the English version if you can.
The Department of Home Affairs has a Practice Citizenship Test on their website and we recommend taking it as many times as you can. The practice questions are in the format and wording the actual test will use. This tool is so useful. If you don't do anything else from this list, take the practice test!
Make sure you understand the Values section
To pass the Citizenship test you need an overall mark of 75%, but you must get all 5 of the Values questions correct.
You willbe asked 5 values questions whic may include any of the following:
- Everyone in Australia is bound by its law, even the police and politicians.
- Australia is a democracy – this means we elect the politicians who represent us, and all citzens over 18 are entitled to vote.
- Freedom of speech - people in Australia have a legal right to question the government and to share political ideas and discussions without fear of persecution or punishment.
- Freedom of Association – Australians are free to join or leave any group they want, provided its purposes are legal. Some examples are religious, language based, or political groups.
- Australia believes everyone is entitled to follow whatever religion they like and should not be disadvantaged or discriminated against because of it.
- Everyone has equal rights in Australia and should not be discriminated against because of their gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, race, or origins.
- Everyone is entitled to an equal opportunity regardless of their appearance, family, wealth or other attributes. If you have the skills for a job, you should be given a “fair go” at getting it.
These Values are all aspects of the one really important value in Australia, which is that we treat each other with respect and tolerance, even if we don’t agree.
There are plenty of paid courses available to help you pass the test but the Government doesn’t endorse or recommend any of them. Everything you need to know for the test is in the Our Common Bond booklet. There is no regulation of citizenship test course providers so be very careful if you are considering signing up to a course. There are some charlatans out there, and there is no guarantee you will be taught everything correctly. In most cases, you are better off just studying the booklet.
On the Day
If you’ve read Our Common Bond many times, taken lots of practice tests, and you’re confident you understand Australia Values- you’re ready to take the test! Here are a few tips that will help you on the day. Some of them may seem obvious, but you'd be surprisedhow often people don't do them!
- Do get there early. You don’t need extra stress trying to find the location and sign in, so give yourself plenty of time.
- Don’t try to copy someone else or cheat – you will instantly fail if you are caught trying to cheat and this may affect the status of your Permament Residency. To maintain PR, you must be of "good character" and trying to mislead the Australian Government by cheating on a test does not refelct well on your morality.
- Do have a good breakfast or lunch before you take the test. You brain needs fuel to function and if you’re hungry you’ll be distracted.
- Don’t have your phone on during the test. Not even on silent. This is a strict rule.
- Do take snacks and a bottle of water. 45 minutes is not long, but it’s always good to be prepared.
Above all else, relax. Tests can be very nerve wracking but try to stay calm. Remember, everyone there wants you to succeed and will give you as much assistance as is permitted. If it isn't your day, that's ok too! You can try again another time and you won't be disadvantaged for not passing before. We know you can do this! Good luck.
Read more about Australian citizenship here.
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This information is correct at the time of publication but is subject to change without notice. All information provided on this page is provided for purely educational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. For advice on your situation, please speak with an Immigration Lawyer or a Registered Migration Agent.
Cover image: Wikimedia commons.
Department of HomeAffairs, https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/.
Salvi Manish, 17/09/2019, "7 advantages of becoming an Australian citizen", SBS Punjabi, https://www.sbs.com.au/language/english/7-advantages-of-becoming-an-australian-citizen#.