7 Nov 2017

Top 8 Reasons To Become An Australian Citizen

If you’re a permanent resident, here’s 8 things to know about the freedoms of becoming an Australian citizen.

Hassle-free travel in and out of Australia

Although permanent residents can stay in Australia indefinitely, it is a requirement to apply for a Resident Return Visa every 5 years in order to leave the country and come back. This is because their permanent residence status depends on their continued residence and substantial ties to Australia. Australian citizens however, can leave and return without hassle and as often as they wish. All you would need to do is present your Australian passport or citizenship certificate when you reach Australian Customs.

Visa-free travel to 170 countries

After becoming an Australian Citizen, you then become eligible to apply for an Australian passport. An Australian passport allows you access into 170 countries visa-free or with visa on arrival. As a citizen, you can even fast-track through the SmartGates at Australian airports.

Get Australian consular help while overseas

Australian citizens can travel to other countries with peace of mind if any injuries, mishaps or accidents occur while in an unfamiliar country because they can seek consular assistance from the country’s local Australian embassy. Australian consulates or embassies can:

– Issue replacement or emergency passports if lost or stolen for a fee
– Support you if you have been involved in an accident, have a serious illness, or are the victim of a crime/assault
– Provide details of local medical professionals in an emergency
– Provide contacts of lawyers and interpreters
– Consult with you if arrested and inform your family and friends if requested
– Give advice on what to do if a loved one dies overseas
– Provide emergency loans in exceptional situations

Your children can also become Australian citizens

If your child was born overseas, they too can become an Australian citizen by descent once you become a citizen. They will then have the same rights and privileges as any Australian-born child.

Access to financial assistance for education

Although permanent residents pay lower university fees than international students, they still cannot access HECS-HELP financial assistance programs. HECS-HELP is the Federal Government’s Higher Education Loan Program available to Australian citizens, which enables you to defer your study fees until you are earning enough to begin repaying it.

If you become an Australian citizen, you (or your children) can apply for financial support through HECS-HELP or through the Government’s Study Assist programs, such as scholarships or student income support. this can be especially helpful if you would like to study but are unable to afford the university fees.

The right to vote and shape Australia’s future

All Australian citizens over 18 years of age have the right and obligation to vote in Government elections. Just like fellow Australians, you’ll be able to choose a representative to voice your views and get involved in the democratic process. You can even stand for election as a local councillor, state or federal MP, or senator.

Work in Federal Government and Defence jobs

While permanent residence gives you the right to work in Australia without visa restrictions, becoming an Australian citizen also gives you the option to work in Federal Government sectors. Federal Government sectors requiring Australian citizenship as an employment requirement are:

– Australian Federal Police
– Australian Border Force
– Australian Defence Force
– Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Options to live in New Zealand

As an Australian citizen, you also get to enjoy the benefits that come with having strong ties to our neighbouring country, New Zealand. In addition to the freedom of choosing to live anywhere you like in Australia, in most cases Australian citizens can also choose to move permanently to New Zealand if they wish.

Applying for Citizenship

If you’d like to apply for Australian citizenship, the first step is to find out if you are eligible under current legislation, which will soon change on 1 July 2018.

If you’ve been an Australian permanent resident for at least one year, get a complimentary assessment of your eligibility here to find out if you meet all the eligibility requirements. Or you can contact our friendly Registered Migration Agents on 08 6263 4406 or email

You may also be interested in our article explaining the proposed citizenship changes on 1 July 2018. If you are eligible for Australian citizenship, you may wish to consider applying as soon as possible, as legislation changes from 1 July 2018 may impact whether you remain eligible.

Department of Immigration and Border Protection
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
SBS News

Sheila Woods

Posted by: Sheila Woods

A very experienced migration agent, Sheila has always been fascinated by this field. Her university degree thesis was on Australia’s post-war immigration history (and it earned her first-class honours).

Filed in: Visas


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