Hundreds of thousands of people apply to become a Canadian citizen every year. In this post, our Ottawa and Orleans immigration physicians discuss Canadian citizenship requirements and how you can improve your citizenship application.
Hundreds of thousands of people apply to be a Canadian citizen annually. In fact, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada reported that the country had surpassed its citizenship goals for 2021-2022, when more than 210,000 individuals became citizens of the country.
So, how can you improve your citizenship application and make yourself stand out, beyond covering all the requirements for Canadian citizenship when you apply? We'll share some tips today.
How to Improve Your Canadian Citizenship Application
Here are 7 measures you can take to improve your Canadian Citizenship Application.
1. Secure a Job
Having a valid job offer or maintaining gainful employment at the time you apply for Canadian citizenship can help your chances, as you'll have an established career in the country. Looking for a job? You may choose to use job sites such as Indeed, Canada Job Bank, LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter, Workopolis and more.
2. File Your Taxes
If you've lived in the country for three to five years, always make sure that you are tax-compliant by submitting your tax returns for the relevant tax year before applying to become a Canadian citizen.
The Canadian Immigration office will review your tax records to check whether you have any outstanding tax records on your profile.
3. Build Your Language Skills
As you may be aware, Canada's two official languages are English and French. When the immigration office reviews your profile, your application will be rated based on your ability to communicate in either of these languages.
If you are 18 to 54 years old, your language proficiency will be rated by:
- Reviewing the proof you submitted with your application
- Checking your engagement with immigration office officials
- Looking at your language proficiency during a session with a relevant official
Successful applicants for Canadian citizenship must meet Canadian Language Benchmarks by scoring Level Four or higher for English or NCLC (Niveaux de Compétence Linguistique Canadiens) for French.
Acceptable language tests include:
- CELPIP: Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program – CELPIP-General
- IELTS: International English Language Testing System - General Training
- TEF Canada: Test d’évaluation de français
- TCF Canada: Test de connaissance du français
You won't have to take the language exams listed above if you've studied at a high school or university in Canada.
Keep in mind that you'll need a 6.5 on the Canadian Language Benchmark for most of these categories. By doing this, you'll show that you:
- Are able to effectively communicate
- Have a basic vocabulary in either of the official languages
- Can answer questions
- Are able to follow basic instructions
- Can ask for and follow directions
- Have a basic understanding of grammar and are able to construct simple sentences
4. Stay in Canada for Five Years
To be eligible for Canadian citizenship, you'll need to have lived as a permanent resident of Canada for at least three of five years. This is based on the time you've spent living in Canada physically - not as a tourist. Only apply once you've lived in the country for 1,095 days.
Spending additional amount of time living here will strengthen your application. Keep in mind that Canadian Immigration will know whether you've spent any prolonged time outside of our country's borders. We recommend documenting the total amount of time you've spent traveling in and outside of Canada.
5. Learn About Canada's History
Canada's history and heritage are important aspects of our country that our citizens take pride in. As you embark on the path to becoming a Canadian citizen, we recommend learning all you can about the country.
You'll be required to take a citizenship test, which will rate your level of knowledge on all areas relevant to Canada. That said, this test isn't exclusively about our country's history. It also incorporates Canadian citizens' rights and responsibilities. If you pass the test, you'll meet this important requirement for Canadian citizenship.
You'll take the test in either English or French. This multiple-choice exam will have 20 questions and take about 30 minutes. You'll need to have at least 15 correct answers to be considered successful. Major sections include:
- Citizenship Rights
If you are younger than 18 or older than 54 years old, you won't need to take a Canadian Citizenship Test.
6. Keep Your Criminal Record Clean
Because we take laws and illegal activity seriously in Canada, it's important to ensure you've stayed within the bounds of the law in every aspect of your life. So, even if you haven't committed a serious crime such as robbery or assault, you may still be denied entry to Canada for offenses such as unpaid alimony payments, traffic fines, etc.
These offenses will also render you ineligible for Canadian citizenship:
- Committing immigration fraud
- Misrepresenting your immigration case
- Having a Canada removal order against you
- Being identified as a threat to Canada's security
- Being investigated for a crime that's been committed
- Committing crimes against humanity
- Being currently on trial
You'll need to go for biometrics, which will let the immigration office scan your profile for any previous immigration infractions or criminal convictions with Canada. You'll need to provide a copy of your fingerprints and potentially even court documents to prove that you do not have a criminal record.
If you are already on Canada's biometrics system, you may not need to fulfill this section of your Canadian citizenship application.
7. Stay Up to Date on the Latest Immigration News
Canada's immigration landscape is ever-evolving. Don't forget to stay up to date with the latest in our country's immigration news by following this blog. You can also set up a Google alert for keyword terms relating to Canadian Immigration and follow Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada's Twitter account.