For the 85,000 people who have received a letter confirming they had been approved for Australian citizenship, when exactly the ceremony would occur has been up in the air.
On Tuesday it was announced that citizenship ceremonies will be held over a secure video link during the coronavirus crisis.
The news offers some clarity for the permanent residents cleared to become a citizen but waiting for their ceremony. Those who have received a Citizenship appointment or ceremony date over the coming months will be contacted to make new arrangements.
Traditional, in-person citizenship ceremonies were usually held by local authorities, during which new Australians make a pledge to commit to Australia before a presiding officer.
But since the COVID-19 response got underway, these in-person ceremonies, where family or close friends could be invited to attend, have not been possible.
The Department of Homes Affairs revealed it had been trialling one-on-one ceremonies for people already approved for Australian citizenship. Its estimated that 750 people a day will be able to undertake their citizenship ceremony under the new one-on-one secure video format.
Citizenship applications are still being accepted by the Department of Home Affairs. However, citizenship interviews and tests have been put on hold during the social distancing. The government expects these to resume again once social distancing measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 ease.
Permanent residents must continue to keep their visa up to date until they take the pledge of commitment to Australia. After the ceremony, they will become an Australian citizen – at which point their visa becomes void. New Australian citizens should apply for an Australian passport to enable them to re-enter Australia as and when they can travel outside of Australia. Visas are only granted to non-Australian citizens.