Detail Question Of The Week

Citizenship Application - Business Overseas versus Onshore Requirement - Delayed Approval

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Question asked

Dear sir/madam

I have lodged my citizenship application on Aug 2016 and passed my the citizenship test on October 2016. I flew out from Australia since 2016 for a short travel which then became a long stay on overseas. However I have not heard back anything about my citizenship approval during that period.

To find out what happened to my approval, I began a series of calls and emails from November to December 2016 to the department to find out what was causing my delay of the approval yet I have been advised to just wait. I eventually found out from an email that I needed to be onshore for the citizenship approval after my weeks long of attempted communication.

Now I arrived back to Sydney on and my application approved on January 2017 however due to a lack of clear communication and transparency, my queue for the citizenship ceremony only begins now instead of Q4 2016.

I hereby was confused what to do and want to seek advise or guidance on how to approach this. I am willing to adhere standard waiting time for the ceremony but such long delay could be avoided if there is a clear initiative or guideline from the department.

Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you.


Answer provided by our agents

Dear K.

Thank you for your inquiry in regards to your citizenship application.

Firstly, congratulations on the approval of your citizenship application. You are now one step closer to becoming an Australian citizen, and usually the wait for the ceremony is only for a few months (although the exact waiting time changes according to your Council of residence).

In regards to your question, it is correct that you must be onshore for your application to be approved. This approval can only happen after you have passed your citizenship test, and after you have been found to meet the visa application’s time of application and time of decision requirements. Every visa application has legal requirements that must be met when it is submitted, and when it is decided.

There are several requirements that you must meet for a successful citizenship visa application. If you applied for citizenship by conferral, for example, (i.e. based on the amount of time you have spent in Australia, and on how long you have been a permanent resident for), at the time a decision is made on your citizenship application you must (as per the Australian Citizenship Act 2007):
- Still be a permanent resident
- Be of good character
- Be likely to reside, or to continue to reside, in Australia or to maintain a close and continuing association with Australia

This is the reason why applicants are asked to advise the Department if they intend to travel overseas while the application is processing (there is a question in the application form in regards to your intended travels for the next 12 months).

Therefore, the legislation determines that (S24(5) of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007):
24 Minister’s decision
(5) If:
(a) the person is covered by subsection 21(2), (3) or (4); and
(aa) the Minister is satisfied that the person did not satisfy the special residence requirement referred to in section 22A or 22B; and
(b) the Minister did not apply subsection 22(9) in relation to the person; and
(c) the Minister did not apply subsection 22(11) in relation to the person;
the Minister must not approve the person becoming an Australian citizen at a time when the person is not present in Australia.

I hope the above answers your questions.

Migration Agent

-------------------------------- Request for Clarification -------------------------------------

Thank you. Based on you clear response, there is no room for me to make appeal in order to reconsider my waiting time?

On the same note, does the ceremony invitation have the same regulation? i.e. I need to be present in Australia in order to receive a ceremony invitation?

-------------------------------- Response from Migration Agent ------------------------

Hi K,

You can try to submit a request to be considered for an urgent ceremony to the Department of Immigration. However, these are only granted in certain cases, where there are exceptional reasons for the urgency.

Most likely it will not be granted based on the fact that you were overseas for a period of time, which delayed the approval of your citizenship application. However, if you have serious reasons why you need to become a citizen in a shorter than usual amount of time, they may consider your request.

I suggest you give the Citizenship section a call and inquiry about your request for urgency. They may be able to bring your citizenship ceremony forward even informally, although this cannot be guaranteed of course. Also, if you did not receive clear and prompt information from the Department when you started contacting them in November, they may take this into account to make sure your ceremony is not delayed for too long.

You can contact them on 131 880 between 8.30am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

In regards to traveling before you attend your ceremony, that is fine, as long as you make sure you or someone on your behalf receives the Department’s letter booking the date for the ceremony, and you advise the Department before you depart.

Please see link enclosed (please click on the first tab):

I wish you all the best!

I hope the above answers your questions.

If you need further services from myself or another registered migration agent, please contact Amy at or visit and don't forget to mention your Question ID so that I can keep providing immigration services to you.

Migration Agent