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Changes to the citizenship process

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Question asked

Hi

I want to apply for Citizenship and I'm not sure whether I have to wait till this June to apply or wait till the 10th of January 2018. I'm even more unsure because of the recent changes to the citizenship process.

Here are my details:

(i) Permanent Resident Visa granted on 06 Jul 2009 valid for 5 years till 05 July 2014

(ii) First Arrived in Australia from 27 Jul to 31 July 2009.

(iii) Then came to settle in Australia as from 10 Jan 2014.

(iv) Travel dates outside of Australia after 10 Jan 2014:

06 Apr 2014 to 20 Apr 2014 (14 Days)

02 Dec 2014 to 25 Jan 2015 (54 Days)

16 Sep 2015 to 23 Sep 2015 (7 Days)

25 Dec 2015 to 9 Feb 2016 (46 Days)

10 Feb 2017 to 18 Feb 2017 (8 Days)

13 Mar 2017 to 18 Mar 2017 (5 Days)

27 Apr 2017 to 7 May 2017 (10 Days - Will be traveling abroad next week)


Total Days absent from 10th January 2014: 144


RRV renewed for one year (06 May 2014 to 05 May 2015)

RRV renewed again for one year (07 May 2015 to 06 May 2016)

RRV renewed finally for 5 years (10 January 2017 to 09 January 2022) .


Your advice is sought as to the earliest date when the application for citizenship can be lodged.

Your urgent attention would oblige.

With Regards

M.

Answer provided by our agents

Dear M.

Thank you for your inquiry in regard to your citizenship application eligibility date.

According to the legislation currently in force (Australian Citizenship Act 2007), the rules to apply for Australian Citizenship on the basis of the general residence requirement determine that (Sections 21 and 22):

1) The person must have been lawfully present in Australia during the 4 years immediately before the day of applying for Australian citizenship, AND

2) The person must have been present in Australia as a permanent resident for a period of at least 12 months immediately before the day the person makes the citizenship application, AND

3) During the 4 year period the person must not have been absent from the country for more than 12 months, AND

4) During the 12 month period the person must not have been absent from the country for more than 90 days.


Therefore, and assessing specific eligibility dates:

1) On 24 April 2017 (today)
You are currently not eligible to apply for Australian citizenship since you were overseas for longer than 12 months in the last 4 years:
23 April 2013 ? 23 April 2017 (absent for 395 days)

2) 4 June 2013 ? 4 June 2017
If we consider this period of 4 years, you were absent from Australia 144 days in 2017, and 220 days between 4 June 2013 and 31 December 2016. Therefore, during this period of 4 years you were absent from Australia for a total of 364 days (which is less than 12 months = 1 year = 365 days).
Continuing with the assessment, in the 12 month period immediately before the 5th June 2017 (4 June 2016 ? 4 June 2017) you would be absent from Australia for a total of 23 days, which is below the 90 days requirement.

Hence, based on the information provided by you as at now, it seems you may be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship in June 2017. Although it seems you may be eligible from the 5th June 2017, I would suggest waiting a few days (or even a couple of weeks) before submitting the application, just to account for any calculation errors or differences in calculations (for example, the exact number of days will change depending on the day you leave and arrive in Australia for each trip overseas, which may count or not).

The new changes to the Australian citizenship rules:
According to the information known to us at this stage, the Australian Government wants to introduce the changes below to apply from the 20th April (i.e. retroactively since the legislation passing the changes has not been enacted yet).

As per https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Citi/am-i-eligible:

"The Australian Government is strengthening the requirements to become an Australian citizen. This includes:
- Increasing the general residence requirement, which means an applicant for Australian citizenship will need to demonstrate a minimum of four years permanent residence immediately prior to their application for citizenship
- Introducing an English language test, which means applicants will need to demonstrate competent English language listening, speaking, reading and writing skills before being able to sit the citizenship test
- Strengthening the Australian Values Statement to include reference to allegiance to Australia and require applicants to make an undertaking to integrate into and contribute to the Australian community
- Strengthening the test for Australian citizenship through the addition of new test questions about Australian values, and the privileges and responsibilities of Australian citizenship
- Introducing a requirement for applicants to demonstrate their integration into the Australian community
- Strengthening the Pledge of commitment as a citizen of the Commonwealth of Australia in the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 to refer to allegiance to Australia; and extending the requirement for individuals aged 16 years and over to make the Pledge to all streams of citizenship by application, including citizenship by descent, adoption and resumption.
Subject to the passage of legislation required to enact some of the measures, the changes will come into effect, and apply to applications made from the date of the Government's announcement on 20 April 2017."


According to the information you have provided, it does not seem you would be affected by the increase in the permanent residence period from 12 months to 4 years, if the legislation passes.

Lastly, please note that if any exceptional circumstances apply to you (for example, you are a partner of an Australian citizen, or you were traveling to engage in activities of benefit to Australia, you were confined in a prison or psychiatric institution, you were born in Australia) your Australian citizenship eligibility date may change.

I hope the above answers your questions.

If you need further services from myself or another registered migration agent, please contact Amy at amy.jacobson@ask-an-agent.com.au or visit https://www.ask-an-agent.com.au/visa-quote and don't forget to mention your Question ID so that I can keep providing immigration services to you.

Kind regards,

Migration Agent