How to move to Australia and become an Australian citizen

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Like Canada, New Zealand, and France, Australia was a popular fantasy destination among Americans looking for a fresh start in the wake of the 2016 presidential election.

And now that it's summer, many more are likely thinking of moving south to enjoy the mild Australian winter.

For those who want to make the leap and become a naturalized Australian, there are a few things to know ahead of time, such as the requirements for permanent residency and criteria to gain full citizenship.

Here's how to move to Australia and become an Australian citizen.

SEE ALSO: How to move to Canada and become a Canadian citizen

Be at least 16 years old — unless your parent qualifies.

Applicants can gain citizenship through several different routes, but each hinges on the age of the applicant.

People who are 18 or older can apply as adults. People who are 16 or 17 can apply on their own, but they must be already have permanent residence status (more on that in a bit).

People 15 and under and must be a permanent resident and "living with a responsible parent or an unaccompanied humanitarian minor," according to Moving to Australia.

Decide what kind of permanent residence visa you qualify for.

Like many countries, Australia relies on a residency system that proves immigrants have family or work waiting for them in the country.

There are several ways to gain permanent residency, which are required to apply for citizenship. Each type of visa comes with different costs.

The most common route is through an Australian employer who sponsors skilled candidates to come over. "Skilled" is defined by a specific points system created by the Australian government. In these cases, the company will bear the cost, which starts at $2,870.

Business owners and investors can also apply for work visas. Investors need to have at least $1.73 million (AUD$1.5 million) invested for four years just to apply (the application costs an additional $1,740). Business owners can apply for the same price.

Or maybe you have family or a spouse in Australia, in which case ...

... you'll want to apply for the corresponding visa. Australia has a number of options for parents, children, caretakers, adoption, last-remaining relatives, and partners. Costs can vary.

It costs $1,270 for caretakers to apply, while the cost for adult children bringing over a parent starts at $15,400. The high cost avoids a much lengthier process that can take up to 30 years in the non-expedited route, which costs at least $4,700.

In either case, you'll need to sign the Australian Values Statement, a document that affirms you will act legally and in accordance with the country's principles, such as individual liberty and Parliamentary democracy.

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