Online citizenship ceremonies being trialled during coronavirus crisis

The Government will hold online citizenship ceremonies via secure video link, to enable people to continue to become Australian citizens during the COVID-19 crisis.

Current health advice around COVID-19 means it is not possible for traditional, in-person citizenship ceremonies to be held.

These ceremonies will be with the presiding officer and generally a single conferee, or a household group if they reside at the same location. Ceremonies performed via video link include integrity measures, such as confirming identity.

The Department is contacting conferees with full details of the process. There is no need to contact the Department or your local council about your ceremony.

Face-to-face citizenship ceremonies will re-commence when it is safe to do so.

Generally, conferees have 12 months from their notice of approval to attend a ceremony and make the pledge of commitment, however, during the COVID-19 period, citizenship approval will not be cancelled if a conferee cannot attend a ceremony within this 12 month period.

When fully implemented, it is expected this new capability will see up to 750 people per day having their citizenship conferred.

The Australian Citizenship Act 2007 requires a person to make a pledge of commitment to Australia before a presiding officer. This is a legal requirement which has been in place for decades.

Applications for Australian citizenship are still able to be accepted during this period, though citizenship interviews and testing have been put on hold.

Additional resources will be deployed to conduct testing and interviews as soon as social distancing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 ease.

The Government recognises the importance of Australian citizenship for migrants and for the wider Australia community. Already in 2019-20, more than 157,000 people have been conferred Australia citizenship, up 70% on the same period in 2018-19.

There are currently 85,000 people awaiting a ceremony.

People who were scheduled to attend a Citizenship appointment or ceremony over the coming months will be contacted to make alternative arrangements.

Seekvisa’s Coronavirus action plan

The Seekvisa team have plans in place to ensure ongoing operation for our current and prospective clients. We are able to work entirely remotely in the event that self-isolation is required or the offices are closed, including accessing client files, emails and phones, lodging applications, and accessing documents.

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