The co driver first came to Australia in 2001 and visited quite often after that.
Deciding to stay for longer periods she had to negotiate the tricky business of extending the limited stay tourist visas mainly by paying for an extension or, when that option was no longer available, flying from Australia to New Zealand and back.
Then an application for permanent residency saw both of us involved in extended 'negotiations' with the Department of Immigration which finally, after a long and sometimes frustrating struggle, resulted in a temporary then permanent residency visa. The latter has to be renewed every five years.
The next step was obviously citizenship which the Australian government encourages all qualifying permanent residents to apply for.
Being seasoned veterans of the Department of Immigration form maze (this one only had 22 pages!), we submitted all the necessary paperwork and information.
We must have done everything right as we very quickly got acknowledgement back.
On Sunday we drove to Canberra, the nation's capital, for her interview and citizenship test early the next day.
All went well with the former and she passed the latter with flying colours.
She was in!
The final step is to attended the citizenship ceremony organized by the local council (county) where she will take the pledge and receive her certificate from the Lord Mayor. A date has yet to be finalized.
Then she will officially be an Aussie.
Next step will be obtaining an Australian passport. This will make travel in and out of the country a lot easier.
She also will need to register to vote as voting is compulsory in Australia.
Both the Australian and USA governments recognize dual citizenship so she also remains a citizen of the latter.