Canadian Citizenship

How to become a Canadian

Canadian Citizenship

Every year, approximately 150,000 permanent residents elect to become Canadian citizens. Every single one of them must go through a long process to obtain the citizenship.

In order to be eligible for a Canadian citizenship several things must be done. Firstly, you must apply to immigrate to Canada and obtain permanent resident status. When you become a landed immigrant and obtain your Permanent Resident Card, you have to live in Canada for 3 years out of a total of 4 years before you are eligible to apply for the Canadian citizenship. You must be 18 years of age or older, possess knowledge of at least one official language (i.e. English or French) and Canadian society. You also have to be knowledgeable about your rights and responsibilities as a Canadian citizen. Finally you have to apply for the Canadian Citizenship Certificate.

If you have any children under the age of 18 years, they can apply together with you as a family or after you become a citizen.

To demonstrate your knowledge about Canada, you are required to complete a short test that asks different questions about Canadian politics, government structure and other topics.

From the date of submission of your citizenship application, the process to become a Canadian citizen may take anywhere between 5 months and several years depending on various factors. If you have spent some time in Canada before becoming a permanent resident, you may be able to count half of that time towards your residency requirement if it falls within the 4-year time span.

If you were born outside of Canada to parents of Canadian citizenship, but have never obtained Canadian citizenship, you can apply for a citizenship by naturalization. The process is essentially the same as for the other types of applicant.

Who is not eligible for Canadian citizenship?

You are not eligible to be awarded a Canadian Citizenship Certificate if you:

  • Are under a removal order
  • Are charged with an indictable criminal offence
  • Have been convicted of an indictable criminal offence in the past three years
  • Are in prison, on parole, or on probation
  • Are being investigated for or have been convicted of war crimes
  • Had your citizenship revoked in the last five years

In addition, if you have spent some time in a correctional institution such as prison, this time is not applicable to the residency requirement.

How to become a Canadian citizen?

You need the following to apply for the Canadian citizenship:

  • Copy of the proof of permanent residency such as the Permanent Resident Card or Record of Landing (for immigrants before 2004)
  • Completed application form
  • Two passport-size photos taken within the last 12 months
  • Total application fee of $200 (Application fee of $100 and Right of Citizenship fee of $100)
  • Guarantor statements and signatures
  • Copies of the two pieces of identification such as the drivers license and the health card

Send the above to the citizenship application processing office and be patient. They will inform you of receipt and the approximate period to wait until your citizenship test. After you complete the test, it will take approximately 6 weeks or more to attend the citizenship ceremony if your application has been successful. At the citizenship ceremony, you will receive your citizenship certificate and then be able to apply for a Canadian passport.

Further reading

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