Each year, over 900 Cairns region residents become Australian citizens through Citizenship ceremonies hosted each month by Council under the direction of the Department of Home Affairs.
Enquiries and applications
Initial enquiries regarding Australian citizenship, applications and approval should be directed to the Department of Home Affairs or phone 131 880. Please note that applicants must register with the Department of Home Affairs, not with Cairns Regional Council.
Once the Department has approved your application, it will make arrangements for you to attend a Citizenship ceremony where you will make the pledge and receive your certificate. Attending your Citizenship ceremony is important as 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 Home Affairs if you do not attend a Citizenship ceremony within 12 months of your application being approved.
About the Citizenship ceremony
When will it be held?
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 from Cairns Regional Council approximately four weeks before your ceremony date. This will give you time to arrange leave from work if required and invite family and/or friends to join you at the ceremony.
If you need to change the date of your ceremony, the Department of Home Affairs can generally accommodate you but you will need to let them know as soon as possible by contacting the department via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or 131 880.
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.
If you have any special needs, please let the Department of Home Affairs know by calling the Citizenship Information Line during business hours on 131 880.
Due to catering requirements, guests are limited to a maximum of 2-3 guests per candidate. If you would like to bring extra guests or have specific requirements such as disability access, please phone Cairns Regional Council Customer Service on 1300 69 22 47 and inform them of your requirements.
What to bring on the day
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.
The dress code for the ceremony should reflect the significance of the occasion, therefore you are invited to wear your National or cultural dress if you wish.
What happens if you are unable to attend the ceremony on your scheduled date?
You should notify the Department if you are unable to attend your ceremony. Please email us and we will then reschedule you to the next available ceremony in your council area. This may not be the very next ceremony; this means it will be the next ceremony where spaces are available.
Please be aware that if you do not attend a ceremony and make a Pledge of Commitment within 12 months of the date your citizenship application was approved, the approval of your application may be cancelled.
All citizenship ceremonies are held at Council's Civic Receptions Rooms, ground floor,119-145 Spence Street, Cairns. Please register at the registration table in the foyer on arrival.
Registration opens at 9:15am and the ceremony starts at 10:00am. You and your guests should be seated by 9.50am for a run-through of the ceremony.
It may not be possible to accommodate late arrivals so please allow plenty of time for registration.
What happens during the ceremony?
You should allow two hours for a Citizenship ceremony.
The Mayor or his representative welcomes everyone, acknowledges the traditional owners of the land and reads a message from the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection.
Candidates repeat the oath or pledge of Citizenship, as a group, and are then presented individually with their certificate. When you have made the pledge, you will then become an Australian citizen.
When all citizens have made their pledge or oath, they are asked to join in singing the national anthem, Advance Australia Fair. The ceremony will conclude, and citizens and their guests can enjoy light refreshments.
You and your guests may take photos during the ceremony and after the formalities.
Those taking photos are asked to follow the ceremony closely and be prepared to take a photo as Citizenship certificates are presented.
Please be mindful of the formal nature of the ceremony and be respectful of those waiting to receive their certificates.