This last week I finally qualified to apply for citizenship in Australia. I’ve been here 8.5 years, and the amount of relief that came when I paid and submitted my online application was tangible. My shoulders relaxed, a smile broadened across my face, and tears ran down my cheeks. I have wanted to have the stability of being here in the world that I have created for myself and my family and now I actually have that chance. It’s so much more than having Permanent Residency as I could still technically be asked to leave with PR, and have to apply again in 5 years to get a Resident Return Visa, and wouldn’t have the right to vote. I want to be a contributing member of society in this beautiful country in which I live, where my family lives, where my life is. I love Australia and I honestly feel like change is possible here and that votes count. I feel like there is so much opportunity here and I want so badly to be able to participate freely, and soon, I shall.
The process of applying for citizenship was eerily easy compared to applying for the various visas I’ve had over the years. Also we’ve spent at least ten thousand dollars on visas until now, and citizenship cost a mere $288. Wild. Also the most tricky part was finding someone that knows me personally for at least a year, who also works in an occupation that the Identity Declaration Form 1195 deems is worth enough. Thank goodness I have a friend from Mother’s Group who is also a police officer as she is the only person I could think of that I know personally who would be able to fill out the form for me. The rest was straightforward. I know there’s still the interview and the test, which come later, but even this preliminary process was so much easier.
The relief though… I can’t even begin to fully describe what it feels like to finally get to this point. I am thankful that my partner has stuck by me in all of this as well, as he could have easily chosen a much easier path and chosen an Australian wife rather than a foreigner and would have avoided all of these years of headaches, heartache, and expense. I so look forward to becoming an Australian citizen and it’s closer now than it’s ever been.