Canadian Citizenship Requirements

Canadian Citizenship Requirements

Are you wondering about the requirements for Canadian citizenship and who can apply? Our Ottawa and Orleans immigration physicians explain the requirements for Canadian citizenship in this post.

If you're thinking of immigrating to Canada, you'll need to know:

  • Who is able to apply for Canadian citizenship
  • Which Canadian citizenship application requirements you'll need to meet to be successful, and who is able to apply

We'll cover both in today's post.

What are the requirements for Canadian citizenship?

To become a Canadian citizen, you must:

  • be a permanent resident
  • have lived in Canada for 3 of the last 5 years
  • have filed your taxes, if required
  • pass a test about your rights, responsibilities and knowledge of Canada
  • prove your language skills

You may have to meet additional or different requirements depending on your circumstances, specifically if you are:

  • applying for a minor (under age 18)
  • a Canadian applying for your adopted child born outside Canada
  • a current or former Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) member applying under the fast-track process
  • a past Canadian citizen who wants your Canadian citizenship back (including current and former CAF members)

Spouses of Canadian Citizens

Did you know that you do not automatically become a citizen when you marry a Canadian? If you're a Canadian citizen's spouse, you must meet the same requirements listed above, with no exceptions.

Children & Grandchildren of Canadian Citizens

You may be a Canadian citizen if you have a Canadian parent or grandparent. To find out for sure, type "apply for a Canadian citizenship certificate" into your favourite online search engine.

Permanent Resident Status

If you are applying for Canadian citizenship, you must have permanent resident (PR) status in Canada, regardless of your age.

This means you must not:

  • be under review for immigration fraud reasons
  • be asked by Canadian officials to leave Canada (known as a removal order)
  • have unfulfilled conditions related to your PR status (for example: medical screening)

Review the documents you received when you became a permanent resident to confirm you're eligible, before applying for Canadian citizenship.

You won't require a valid PR card to apply for citizenship. You can apply with an expired PR card.

Time You've Lived in Canada (Physical Presence)

You (and some minors, if applicable) must have been physically in Canada for at least 3 years (1,095 days) during the 5 years before the date you sign your application.

The Canadian government encourages applicants to apply with more than 1,095 days of living in Canada in case there's an issue with the calculation.

In your calculation, you may include some of the time you spent:

  • in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person
  • outside Canada if you were a Crown servant or a family member of a Crown servant

Filling Income Tax

You may need to file taxes in Canada for at least 3. years during the 5 years right before the date you apply.

Language Skills

Englisn and French are Canada's two official languages. If you are 18 to 54 years old on the day you sign your application, you must prove that you can speak and listen at a specific level in one of these languages.

Your language skills in English and French will be measured in many ways. To become a Canadian citizen, you'll need to meet the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) Level 4 or higher. This means you'll be able to:

  • participate in short, everyday conversations about common topics
  • understand simple instructions, directions and questions
  • use basic grammar, including simple structures and tenses
  • show you know enough common words and phrases to answer questions and express yourself

The government will accept various certificates, diplomas and tests as proof of your language skills.

Pass a Citizenship Test

Will you be 18 to 54 years old on the day you sign your application? You'll need to take the citizenship test in English or French. The 30-minute, 20-question test is based on the official citizenship study guide (Discover Canada) contains both multiple-choice and true or false questions. While it is usually written it may be oral.

You'll need to correctly answer 15 questions to pass. Topics include Canadians' rights and responsibilities, as well as Canada's::

  • geography
  • government
  • history
  • economy
  • laws
  • symbols


If you committed a crime in or outside of Canada, you may not be eligible to become a Canadian citizen for a period of time. In addition, the time you spent serving a term of imprisonment, on parole, or on probation doesn't count as time you've lived in Canada.

To learn about circumstances that may prevent you from becoming a Canadian citizen, contact your lawyer or arresting police officer if you're not sure whether a constraint might be applicable to you. Alternatively, you can also wait until the situation no longer applies before you apply for citizenship.

Your application will be reviewed by the Government of Canada on a case-by-case basis.

Are you interested in learning more about applying for citizenship in Canada? Our doctors at Immigration Physician Ottawa can help. We can provide guidance on the application process and provide health exams and certifications as needed. Contact us today to book an appointment.


Why Trust Us

  • Dr. Max Della Zazzera and his staff are superb and extremely accommodating. They are very knowledgeable about medical exam procedures for varying countries, and they will do their utmost to ensure that you have everything required for your application.
    - Patient Bank St. Clinic

Call Bank St.Call Innes Rd.