If you’ve applied for citizenship recently, you might still be waiting to get your invitation to write your citizenship test. You’re likely also wondering what to expect when you write your Australian citizenship test.
Last year we were privileged to become Australian citizens. The whole process seemed to take forever thanks to the previous government’s decision to try and change the citizenship laws. Thankfully they were unsuccessful in the end, but it really did create a massive backlog for application processing.
By the time our test date came along I was super nervous! But in the end I didn’t need to be so I wanted to share our experience with you to try and put your mind at ease.
The Australian Citizenship Process
The online application process is relatively straightforward, but it is so in depth that it can take you hours to complete.
For our family of three, it took me around 4 hours to submit all our applications.
At the time I submitted them, there was no family option. So you have to submit separate applications for each adult in your family who is eligible to apply for citizenship.
Minors can be included in one parent’s application, so you have to choose which parent you’re going to attach their application to. It did freak me out slightly that we couldn’t all be processed as one unit but in the end we were invited to write our tests at the same time and that made it easy.
Have all your documents to hand to make this easy. Birth certificates, marriage certificates, visas, passports, ID docs, proof of addresses – gather it all!
Eventually you’ll get an email from Home Affairs with the time and date of your Australian citizenship test – hurrah!
If the date and time you are allocated don’t suit you, you are able to go online to their appointment scheduler, login and change it to a date and time that suits you. Sometimes there are plenty of other available options and sometimes there isn’t so it just depends on how many slots they have available at the time.
You can arrive up to 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment time. Arrive before then and you won’t be permitted to enter.
On the day of the test, you’re asked to bring your invitation letter (email) along with the following documents:
- at least three documents that collectively show your photograph, signature, current residential address, date of birth, birth name and gender
- Proof of name change, if applicable
- any other identity documents issued by another government that you consider will assist in verifying your identity
- evidence of when you first arrived in Australia and your present country of citizenship
- the documents that were submitted with your application
- documents for any children under 16 years of age included in your application
- official translation to accompany any documents which are not in English
- any other documents that we have requested you to provide.
They include a handy guide to what kind of documents count for your ID. They must all be original documents – photocopies and certified copies are not accepted.
Prepare all of these in advance and make sure to keep all the documents you submitted together in a safe place, so you can just grab it on the day without having to collate it all again.
When you arrive for your citizenship interview and test, you need to take a ticket from the kiosk by scanning the barcode at the top of your invitation letter. This is at the Perth office specifically so if you’re at another location there may be a different procedure.
You’ll be seated in a waiting area and when your name or number is called you’ll be allowed to approach an officer at a numbered booth.
My husband and I were allocated two different officers but we were next to each other. I had all the documents so had to quickly divide them up between us. Other people have told me they saw one case officer as a family so it may be different for you.
This was probably the most nerve-wracking part of the process. The officers are lovely but formal, and dressed in their uniforms which can be a bit intimidating. You get the feeling you really don’t want to say or do the wrong thing!
All they’re doing is verifying your information and making sure you are the person you say you are but it still can make you nervous.
It was at this point I was asked to provide the photos we submitted with our applications. They wanted the actual signed photos from our character reference, and then I realised I just grabbed unsigned photos, not the signed ones!
My case officer was so nice about it and said I just had to email them over when I got home. My husband’s case officer told him that it was fine; they’d just use the ones on file! So that was weird.
Either way, not wanting to jeopardise my application, I duly emailed them as soon as I got home (even though they were the same ones I submitted with my application) and they were accepted.
The Citizenship Test
Once they’ve verified your identity, you’re taken to write your Australian citizenship test. There are several computers with partition screens between them.
There are 20 multiple choice questions which are randomly generated from a large pool of questions. This means that you won’t get the exact same citizenship test as the person next to you.
You need to get at least 75% to pass (15/20) and have 45 minutes to complete the test.
If you fail but get more than 50% you can rewrite the test straight away. If you get less than 50%, you need to rebook your test for another day. I think they said you can rewrite it on the same day up to 4 times as long as you get over 50%.
As long as you’ve read the Australian citizenship book online a couple of times, YOU WILL BE FINE.
It really is not hard and I think the only way you can fail is by not reading the book, not having a good grasp of English or nor knowing how to use a computer.
After You Pass
Once you’ve passed your test, you’ll have the urge to start dancing and hugging everyone. Don’t do this. Instead walk calmly out the building as you’re free to leave, then you can go crazy and celebrate!
Now it becomes another waiting game, while you wait for your local council to invite you to a ceremony.
This usually takes 3-6 months depending on how busy your council is and how many people they have to process. We wrote our tests in May 2018 and received an invitation for a September 2018 ceremony.
We couldn’t make this date so we asked for a spot on the next one. October was fully booked so we got a November date instead. This was with City of Wanneroo which is very large and has a high number of immigrants living in it.
I hope you’ve found this post helpful. You can find out more about the interview and test process on the Home Affairs website here.
If you’ve already written your Australian citizenship test, what was your experience like? Let me know in the comments – it could help someone else with theirs.
Still on a temporary or permanent visa? Read my blog which shares 5 things you need to know about your permanent residence visa.