After nearly 30 years of statelessness, Wagga's Dolkar Kyap will finally have a place to call home tomorrow.
He is one of 43 people in Wagga who are set to receive Australian citizenship in the first ceremony since the coronavirus pandemic.
Dolkar Kyap's 17-year-old son Tenzin Pelsang and 14-year-old daughter Tenzin Metok will become Australian citizens alongside him.
Tenzin Pelsang is a student at Kooringal High School while Tenzin Metok attends school in Sydney.
Two ceremonies will be held at the Wagga Civic Centre on Friday to allow for social distancing restrictions, as new Australians from 20 countries are presented by Wagga mayor Greg Conkey.
Dolkar Kyap and his children are the first among the growing Tibetan community in Wagga to receive Australian citizenship.
Dolkar Kyap and Tenzin Pelsang moved to the city last year as a group of Sydney-based Tibetans decided it was a good place to start a new life.
There are now about 40 Tibetans living in Wagga, one of the most recent multicultural communities to settle in the city.
Dolkar Kyap said for many Tibetans, the language barrier made it difficult to find opportunities in capital cities like Sydney.
"A big problem is the language ... looking for work is difficult, also the rent is very expensive."
He now works as a cleaner at Charles Sturt University.
"We moved to Wagga Wagga and this is a good place, rent is very cheap," he said.
"Wagga Wagga is developing, so there's a lot of chances I think."
Dolkar Kyap said he was happy to be the first Tibetan-Australian to receive citizenship in Wagga, after 29 years of statelessness.
Growing up and studying in Eastern Tibet, he was forced to leave the country after he was arrested and jailed by the Chinese government for protesting for free speech, free religion, free language and the region's autonomous status.
He then moved to Nepal before spending fifteen years in India until he moved to Australia seven years ago.
"I like this country, it's very peaceful and a very lawful country," he said.
"I can say it's a new life."
He said it was also important for his children to have the opportunities and freedom of movement associated with Australian citizenship.