The process of becoming a Canadian citizen is available to people that have been permanent residents in the country for at least 3 years. Citizen status affords a number of rights and protections to Canadians, but comes with a set of requirements in order for an individual to be considered eligible for citizenship. Here, our Ottawa and Orleans immigration physicians provide a step-by-step guide for becoming a Canadian citizen.
What benefits does being a Canadian Citizen offer?
Canadian citizens are afforded a number of rights, including:
- the ability to vote in elections for municipal, provincial and federal political offices
- the ability to run for office at any level of government
- the right to work certain jobs (Some careers are limited or give priority to Canadian citizens)
- the ability to hold dual citizenship in both Canada and your home country (depending on your home country's policy on dual citizenship)
- a Canadian passport, which requires fewer renewals than a permanent resident card and affords you access to many countries without having to apply for a visa
- the ability to have your children automatically be considered Canadian citizens
What are the requirements for Canadian citizenship?
In order to be considered for Canadian citizenship, there are a number of criteria you must meet. If you fulfill all of the requirements below, you are eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship!
- You must have permanent residence status, regardless of your age
- You must have lived in Canada for a combined total of 1095 days (the equivalent of 3 years) out of the last 5 years. Every day you were in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person (such as a refugee) within the last 5 years is considered as half a day towards this total. You can use Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada's Physical Presence Calculator in order to determine whether or not you have fulfilled this requirement.
- Have filed income taxes (if applicable)
- Provide proof that you can both speak and understand either English or French. You can learn more about what kinds of proof are required on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website. (for applicants between the ages of 18 and 54)
- You are not currently in jail a reformatory or a prison.
- You are not on parole or serving a prison sentence outside of Canada.
- You have not been convicted of an offence in the four years leading up to your application for citizenship.
You can always visit the IRCC website for a more comprehensive list of requirements you must fulfill in order to be eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship.
What are the steps to becoming a Canadian citizen?
If you fulfill the requirements listed above, congratulations! You are eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship.
Once you have determined that you are eligible to apply for citizenship, there are 4 general steps to becoming a Canadian citizen.
1. Obtain an appropriate citizenship application form.
If you are over 18 years of age, you will need to fill out the Application for Canadian Citizenship: Adults form. You can access this form online and it comes with a number of requirements for your applications depending on your specific case.
If you are applying for a child who is younger than 18 years old, you must use a different application form: Application for Canadian Citizenship: Minors. A separate application form must be filled for each child you are applying on behalf of.
2. Complete the appropriate application package and submit it.
You may either complete your application for Canadian citizenship on paper, printing out the forms and attaching any other required documents, or online if eligible. You can check whether your application will be eligible for completion online on the IRCC website here.
Along with your completed application, you will also have to submit any required application feeds, photographs and photocopies of required documents. This can include proof of spoken English or French proficiency. You will have to show all of these documents either at the time of your citizenship test or interview as well.
After filling out your application, either submit it online or by mail to the IRCC. You can find the proper address to send your application package to here.
3. Take a citizenship test or interview.
After you have submitted your application and have been determined to meet the basic requirements for Canadian citizenship, adult applicants will be scheduled for a citizenship test or interview.
This meeting will ensure you have a basic understanding of Canada's government, the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship, its history, geography, industry and voting procedures. This will also gauge your proficiency in either French or English.
4. Take the oath of citizenship at your citizenship ceremony.
Once it is determined that you meet all of the requirements to become a Canadian citizen, you will receive a notice informing you of when and where you ceremony will take place!
At your citizenship ceremony, you will take an oath of citizenship and receive your certificate of citizenship.