Applying for Canadian citizenship is a daunting task that demands persistence, accuracy and a healthy dose of time. We know all the places where the system ties up an application, and we get ahead of these issues before they add days or even months to the process of becoming a Canadian Citizen.
DETERMINE YOUR ELIGIBILITY - CITIZENSHIP
To be eligible to become a Canadian citizen, you must meet the conditions in all these areas:
- Permanent resident status,
- Time you have lived in Canada (residence),
- Income tax filing,
- Intent to reside,
- Language skills,
- How well you know Canada, and
You must be at least 18 years old to apply.
To apply for citizenship for a child under 18:
- you must be the child’s parent, adoptive parent or legal guardian,
- the child must be a permanent resident, and
- one parent must be a Canadian citizen or apply to become a citizen at the same time (this also applies to adoptive parents).
Permanent Resident Status
You must have permanent resident (PR) status in Canada, have no unfulfilled conditions related to that status, and your PR status must not be in question. This means you must not:
- be under review for immigration or fraud reasons, or
- be under a removal order (an order from Canadian officials to leave Canada), or
- have certain unfulfilled conditions related to your PR status.
NOTE: You do not need to have a PR card to apply for citizenship. If you have a PR card, but it is expired, you can still apply for citizenship.
Changes to citizenship requirements for physical presence, language, and knowledge changed on October 11, 2017
Time You Have Lived In Canada (Residence):
With regard to Physical Presence, previously you had to be physically present in Canada for 4 out of 6 years with a minimum of 183 days in each of the 4 years before applying for citizenship. Now you must be physically present in Canada for 3 out of the last 5 years with no minimum number of days per year before applying for citizenship. Previously the time spent in Canada before before becoming a Permanent Resident did not count towards the physical presence requirement for citizenship. Now days spent in Canada before becoming a Permanent Resident within 5 years of applying for citizenship count as half days up to a maximum of 1 year. These requirements do not apply to children under 18.
Exceptions to these requirements apply for certain Crown servants and certain family members of Crown servants.
When calculating time you have lived in Canada, you can only count time spent after you became a permanent resident of Canada.
Use the government online tool to find out if you have lived in Canada long enough to apply to become a citizen.
Income Tax Filing:
You must have met your personal income tax filing obligations in 3 taxation years that are fully or partially within the 5 years immediately before the date you apply.
Intent To Reside:
You must declare your intent to reside during the citizenship application process.
To become a citizen, you must indicate your intention to:
- live in Canada,
- work outside Canada as a Crown servant, or
- live abroad with certain family members who are Crown servants.
Once you become a Canadian citizen, you have the right to enter, remain in, or leave Canada, one of the basic rights of citizenship.
Canada has two official languages—English and French. To become a citizen, you must show that you have adequate knowledge of one of these languages. In general, this means you can:
- take part in short, everyday conversations about common topics;
- understand simple instructions, questions and directions;
- use basic grammar, including simple structures and tenses; and
- show that you know enough common words and phrases to answer questions and express yourself.
If you are 18 to 54 years of age, you must send documents with your citizenship application that prove you can speak and listen in English or French at this level.
A citizenship officer will make the final decision on your application, including how well you can communicate in English or French.
How Well You Know Canada:
To become a citizen, you must understand the rights, responsibilities and privileges of citizenship, such as voting in elections and obeying the law. You must also show, in English or French, that you understand Canada’s:
- institutions and
If you are 18 to 54 years of age, when you apply for citizenship, you will need to take a citizenship test to show you have adequate knowledge of Canada and the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship. It is usually a written test, but it is sometimes taken orally with a citizenship officer. All you need to know for the test is in the free study guide, Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship. The questions in the citizenship test are based on this study guide.
If you have committed a crime in or outside Canada you may not be eligible to become a Canadian citizen for a period of time. For example if you:
- are in prison, on parole or on probation in Canada, or are serving a sentence outside Canada,
- have been convicted of an indictable offence in Canada or an offence outside Canada in the four years before applying for citizenship, or
- are charged with, on trial for, or involved in an appeal of an indictable offence in Canada, or an offence outside Canada.
Time in prison or on parole does not count as time you have lived in Canada. Time on probation also does not count if you were convicted of a crime.