Tribunal: Senior Member C Puplick
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) reviewed a decision made by the Department of Home Affairs (the Department) refusing a citizenship application.
The applicant lodged her citizenship application in May 2018. In June 2019 the Department refused her application and gave her 28 days to apply to the AAT. The AAT rejected the applicants appeal because it was 10 days late.
The AAT needed to consider if there was a reasonable explanation for the delay, and, if the matter were to proceed, whether there was a reasonable chance of it being successful.
The applicant claimed her lodgment was delayed because she was travelling through the Middle East in areas with poor internet connectivity. The AAT accepted this explanation, noting the delay was only 10 days, and that the AAT had technical difficulties with telephone and recording systems on two occasions when communicating with the applicant it accepted her explanation.
The AAT also considered whether the appeal would have had a reasonable chance of being successful (if not delayed). Of particular interest were several subsections of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007.
The first, regarding a close and continuing association with Australia and Australians was addressed by the fact that the applicant’s husband and children were Australian citizens. However, the general residence requirements, including being in Australia for four years immediately before application, required closer consideration. During the four years prior to her application she had only been in Australia for a total of 40 days. In the year before, zero days were spent in Australia.
The applicant acknowledged she ‘did not fulfil the citizenship criteria 100 percent’.
The AAT found the applicant did not meet the general residence requirements, so the application could not have succeeded in a full merits-based hearing.
The application was refused.
Read the full decision
 Under subsection 21(2) of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 (the Act)
 21(2)(c), 22(9)(d)