Last updated on December 16th, 2020
In this article, I will share my experience of appearing for the Australian citizenship interview and test. I will share the documents that you need to carry as well as how to prepare for interview questions. Let’s start.
What Are The Documents To Carry For The Test?
The citizenship test appointment email I received clearly mentioned all the documents I should bring. Here is the official list of documents requested:
- 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.
Here are the documents I carried along with me. Please remember, you must carry originals only.
- Birth certificate. I have extensively covered all the issues with the Indian birth certificate in my earlier post, so I won’t repeat them here. Just make sure to carry the document that you have attached in your citizenship application, may it be a birth certificate, class 10 mark sheet, school leaving certificate or something else.
- National Identity card. I carried Aadhar card, you can carry Voter ID card or Indian drivers license or whatever you attached as a national identity card in your application.
- Australian driver license, as proof of my current residential address.
- If you don’t have an Australian driving license, you can carry utility bill like energy or water bill or rates notice or bank statement as address proof. In my case, the passport, national identity card and Australian driver license were sufficient to cover for identity and address proof. However, I carried rates notice as an additional document just to be on a safer side.
- Evidence of the first arrival. From 2017, authorities stopped stamping passports. If that is the case with you, you can still continue to use your passport as evidence since all your arrival and departure details are recorded against your passport number. The other option is to request for international movement records by filling form 1359. If your current passport is not the same as the passport you travelled on the first time you came to Australia, you need to carry the previous passport too.
- Identity declaration form (form 1195)
- Printout of the citizenship appointment email. It’s utmost important to carry this print or at least have it on the mobile because security guards will check this before letting you in. You will also need this to generate the ticket for the citizenship interview.
Documents For Kids On The Application
Since my daughter was included with my application, I had to carry her documents as well.
- Birth certificate of the child.
- Passport of the child.
- Identity declaration form for the kid.
- Medicare card. This was a bit unexpected because nowhere in the appointment email it was mentioned to bring the Medicare card. Thankfully, I had it with me. My guess is that the Medicare card was needed to establish that I am the lawful parent of my daughter.
- Photo. Although I didn’t carry a photo for my daughter, the officer was happy to use the photo that was on the Identity declaration form. Thankfully, I didn’t paste it on the form but instead just paper-clipped it.
Documents For Partner/Spouse’s Application
Though I didn’t need below documents, my wife had to carry them for her appointment.
- Marriage certificate as a proof of name change.
- Indian police clearance certificate (PCC).
Anxious Wait Begins…
|Citizenship Application||Received Exam Invitation||Citizenship Test and Interview||Citizenship Ceremony Invitation||Citizenship Ceremony||Received Certificate|
My appointment was scheduled for 9:20 AM just before India celebrated Children’s day i.e. on 13th November 2019.
As usual, even though the appointment was at 9:20 AM, I reached the Parliament station, the closest station to the Melbourne test centre, around 8:30 AM. I spent the extra time attempting a few more citizenship tests on the mobile app.
By 9 o’ clock, people started queuing up at the centre.
Exactly at 9:20 AM, the door was opened. Two officers started checking the appointment email to confirm only the right people were let in.
I thought I was the only nutcase who came an hour before the appointment, but some people even surpassed me. I didn’t get why people who had an appointment at 11:00 arrived at 9 AM. One guy, accidentally came a week before his appointment. Talk about absent-mindedness!
Bottom line: don’t go more than half an hour before your appointment time.
Anyway, once inside, at the entrance there was a machine where I scanned the barcode at the top of my appointment email and got the ticket with a number. If you can’t scan the barcode, simply enter the 11-digit client id to get the ticket. By the way, this client id is the same as the one on your PR grant letter.
The waiting hall had a seating capacity of about 20 people and around 14 counters to conduct the citizenship interview. On the left of the hall was a room where the citizenship test was being conducted.
Citizenship appointment was divided into two phases – Citizenship Interview and Citizenship Test.
- Duration: 15-20 minutes
- Mode: In person
- Purpose: Verification of documents
This was the first part of the test. The “interview” was not really an interview per se. It is a process to verify the documents you submitted along with your citizenship application.
The queuing system was a bit like the Passport office in India. There was a digital screen on the wall where the ticket numbers were displayed along with the counter number where the person should go.
When it was my turn, I went to the counter and a middle-aged lady officer greeted me. By her looks, I guessed that she was either from South India or more probably, from Sri Lanka. Incidentally, almost 90% of the officers were from Indian sub-continent.
What Is Asked In Citizenship Interview?
The officer asked me for my birth certificate, passport and driving license. These were the only documents she was interested in. She never even looked at the Aadhar card or rates notice. I hoped that at least she will have a look at Identity declaration form, given the amount of trouble I had to endure to get it certified. But nope! She had no interest in it.
Based on the experiences of other people, I was expecting a question or two. Something like, why I came to Australia or a few questions about the citizenship itself like what were the benefits of being an Australian citizen. But it was mostly a silent (and boring) interview. The only thing she asked was to confirm my address and date of birth.
If you got lucky and faced a chatty interviewer, you might get questions like:
- How long have you been living in Australia?
- What is your area of work?
- What do you like about Australia?
- Are you married? Do you have kids?
In short, it’s more of a conversation than an interrogation. So relax and talk calmly and politely.
The officer asked whether my wife has had her citizenship test because, in the citizenship application, I had opted to have the citizenship ceremony with my wife. I told her that she was yet to receive the test invitation.
After doing necessary verification and scanning the documents, she asked me to look in the camera which was affixed into the wall to my right. After taking my picture, she returned my documents and told me that she has initiated the Australian police verification.
That was the end of the citizenship interview. She then asked me to wait in the lobby for the citizenship test.
- Total questions: 20
- Passing score: Before 15 November 2020, 75% (15 correct answers)
On and after 15 November 2020, must answer all 5 questions on Australian values correctly and get 75% overall passing score
- Format: Multiple-choice
- Duration: 45 minutes (90 minutes for the assisted test)
- Multiple Attempts: Allowed, possibly even on the same day
After a couple of minutes, the same lady officer ushered me to the testing room. If you have ever taken any computer-based tests such as Microsoft certification or even drivers license test, this should be no different. There were around 20 desks with small wooden partitions between them.
The officer started one of the computers and signalled me to start the test. There were a few people in the room along with an invigilator in case you need any help.
Now coming to the test, I believe you must have already heard this. In case you didn’t, the test was REALLY EASY!!
The test was a multiple-choice test and the questions were completely based on the testable section from the Our Common Bond booklet.
If you have a good command of English, read the booklet thoroughly and practised even a little, getting 15 correct answers out of 20 is a piece of cake. Even if you fail, you can re-take the test, possibly on the same day free of cost. So there is really nothing to be scared of. It is possibly the easiest test in the world.
It took me hardly 5 minutes to finish the test. Just to be double sure, I checked all my answers again and finally hit the submit button. Can you guess what was the result?
I ACED IT – 20/20.
I informed the invigilator and she handed me a printed copy saying that I have passed my citizenship test. It’s sad that the printout doesn’t mention the score (something to brag about), just the pass or fail status. The invigilator told me I was free to go.
Successful completion of the citizenship interview and test was a major milestone. This called for a celebration, albeit on a smaller scale.
Fortunately, I knew the perfect place for it. Just around the corner on the Lonsdale street, there is a small Turkish restaurant called Goz City, famous for its world-class Gozleme. I decided to head there to celebrate my little achievement.
The place was pretty small but crowded because one, it’s popular and two, people like to grab brekkie before heading to the office. I ordered a coffee and a spinach feta Gozleme.
I settled myself in a nearby chair waiting for my order. Suddenly, my whole journey right from my PR days till now rolled in front of my eyes. It was like a dream – one day I thought of moving out of India and six years later, I was close to being a citizen of Australia. Ten years ago if somebody would have told me that I would be an Australian citizen by 2020, I would have laughed at that person. But here I was, so close to being Australian. What an incredible journey it was!
While I was lost in thoughts, my order arrived – nine neatly arranged rectangular pieces of Gozleme with a chilli sauce and bowl of sour cream. On the side, was a cup of creamy cappuccino. Just a smell of that made me even more hungry.
Enough to say that I skipped lunch after finishing all that. If you are in that area, I would highly recommend checking out this place – especially the cheese and spinach or mushroom and veggies variant of Goz. It was a little pricey but the taste and quantity were worth every penny.
Approval of Citizenship Application
After coming home, I was checking the immi account every day to see if there was any change to the status. It took a week for the status of my application to change from Received to Approved. In contrast, my wife’s application got approved in a day after her citizenship test.
In short, don’t lose your sleep if your application is not approved immediately after the test. I believe the outcome largely depends on how fast the Australian police verification is completed.
A little over a week later, I also received the letter from the Department of Home Affairs confirming that my citizenship application (along with my daughter) was approved.
Now the only thing remaining was the citizenship ceremony. It was a final step to becoming an Australian citizen. I was hoping to attend the biggest ceremony event of the year on Australia day in January 2020. However, it would take me 7 months to attend a ceremony, that too not in person, thanks to Covid-19. More on that in the next instalment of my citizenship journey.
Read other articles in this series:
- My Journey To Australian Citizenship : Getting Eligible
- Getting Indian PCC for Australian Citizenship
- My Journey To Australian Citizenship : Gathering Documents
- My Journey To Australian Citizenship: Citizenship Application
- My Journey To Australian Citizenship : Citizenship Test Preparation
- Virtual Citizenship Ceremony: An Incredible Experience