Becoming an Australian citizen is one of the most important decisions you can make.
Local governments have an important role to play in ensuring that citizenship ceremonies are a meaningful experience for people who have chosen to make Australia their home.
Each year, the Council facilitates a number of citizenship ceremonies on behalf of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).
Enquiries and applications
Initial enquiries regarding Australian citizenship, applications and approval should be directed to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection:
The final step in the journey to become an Australian citizen, for most people, is to make the Australian Citizenship Pledge at an Australian citizenship ceremony. Once your application has been approved, you will be invited to attend your ceremony.
Citizenship ceremonies are special events. They fulfil requirements under Australian citizenship law. They also provide an important opportunity to officially welcome new citizens as full members of the Australian community. They are often an emotional experience for the new citizen, as well as their host and guests.
Attending your citizenship ceremony
For most people, the final step in becoming an Australian citizen is making the pledge of commitment. Once your application has been approved, arrangements will be made for you to attend a citizenship ceremony where you will make the pledge. Making the pledge is the final legal requirement to become an Australian citizen.
Generally, your ceremony will be held within six months from the time your application is approved, although waiting times can vary. You will receive a letter of invitation approximately four weeks before your ceremony date.
If you need to change the date of your ceremony, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection can generally accommodate you but you will need to let them know as soon as possible at email@example.com or 131 880.
Attending a ceremony
Attending a citizenship ceremony is important. You will not become an Australian citizen until you have attended your citizenship ceremony and made the pledge.
The decision to approve your application could be reviewed and cancelled by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection if you do not attend a citizenship ceremony within 12 months of your application being approved.
But most importantly, attending a citizenship ceremony is an occasion for celebration with friends and family and members of your new community.
You will usually receive an invitation to your citizenship ceremony three to four weeks in advance. This will give you time to arrange leave from work, if you need to, and invite some family and/or friends to join you at the ceremony.
If your children were included on your application form, they will also be invited and will become citizens when you do. If they are 15 years of age or younger, they will not have to make the pledge but are welcome to do so. If they are aged 16 years of age or over they will need to make the pledge.
Space restrictions at venues limit the number of guests you can invite but your letter of invitation will advise you of how many guests you may invite.
If you have any special needs, please let the Department of Immigration and Border Protection know by calling the Citizenship Information Line during business hours on 131 880.
What to bring
Your letter of invitation will ask you to bring your invitation and identification. Appropriate forms of identification are:
- a driver's licence, or
- a passport, or
- another official document which includes a photograph.
If you do not have any form of photographic identification you will need to bring at least three documents with you that include your name and address, such as bank statements, utility bills, rates notices and signature such as credit cards.
Children under 16 years of age do not need to provide identification.
What happens at the ceremony?
You should allow about two hours for a citizenship ceremony.
Generally, you will be asked to arrive about 30 - 40 minutes before the ceremony so that you can register, complete your Australian enrolment form (so you can vote in Australian Elections) and be shown to your seat.
You may complete your enrolment form at the ceremony or take it home to complete later. Whatever you decide to do, it is your responsibility to enrol to vote once you become a citizen. Voting in Australia is compulsory.
The ceremony itself will probably take about an hour and most ceremonies have a similar order of proceedings.
After you are seated there will be a formal introduction, speeches and an address that precedes making the pledge.
Then the presiding officer will ask you to repeat the pledge of commitment out loud. The pledge you say will be the one you chose on your application form.
When you have made the pledge you will be an Australian citizen.
The ceremony organisers may take photographs and film during the ceremony and on occasions the media will attend ceremonies too. Your family and friends are welcome to photograph you during the ceremony, including when you take the pledge and receive your certificate.
The National Anthem will be played and the ceremony will conclude with light refreshments.
Your citizenship certificate
Your citizenship certificate will be issued in the name you gave on your application form, which should be your legal name at the time your citizenship was approved.
Your citizenship certificate is an important legal document, which you should look after. You will need it when you apply to get an Australian passport.
It is an offence to deface or alter this document. You must not write on it, laminate it or change any details on it. You should notify the department if your certificate is lost or stolen.