Are you hoping to immigrate to Canada and become a Canadian citizen? You might be curious about the benefits of Canadian citizenship. Here, our Ottawa and Orleans immigration physicians list some advantages you'll be able to enjoy.
What are the benefits of Canadian citizenship once you immigrate to Canada?
Now that you're a Canadian permanent resident, you have access to many of the same resources as people who hold citizenship status. You and your family can attend publicly funded schools and use the Canadian healthcare system.
You're able to live and work anywhere in Canada, and Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protect your civil liberties. So, why would you trade your permanent residence status for Canadian citizenship after immigrating to Canada? Here are some sound reasons to make the switch.
1. You'll be able to travel freely to more than 150 countries.
Canadian citizens can apply to get a Canadian passport. Unlike Permanent Resident cards, you'll only need to renew your passport every 5 to 10 years.
You'll be able to use your passport to travel to more than 150 countries without requiring a visa. Plus, you'll have an easier time re-entering Canada than with your permanent residence travel documents.
2. You can live anywhere.
While Canada may always be your first love, you may want to live in another country for various reasons. As a Canadian citizen, no need to worry - you'll be free to live anywhere in the world for as long as you like without losing your Canadian citizenship.
3. You can vote.
Canadian citizens and permanent residents share many benefits. For example, both can access our public healthcare system and primary education is subsidized for minors in most Canadian provinces and territories. In addition, neither are required to leave Canada after their visa expires.
However, the right to vote is reserved for citizens of Canada under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This is a big one, as Canada prides itself on being a democratic country where citizens and permanent residents can exercise their rights.
Canadian citizens can vote for:
- Ministers (Members of the House of Commons)
- Local officials who oversee provinces and cities
4. Your children will be Canadians.
Are you a Canadian citizen who has a child? Whether your kid is born in Canada or not, they are automatically a Canadian citizen. This means they can benefit from your status without needing to apply for Canadian citizenship.
If you are a permanent resident, your child will only be a Canadian citizen if they were born in Canada. If your child was born abroad, you will need to sponsor him or her.
5. You can run for office.
If you are interested in municipal, provincial or federal politics and elections, good news: you can run for office. You'll find there are several major political parties in Canada.
If you would like to get involved in politics, look for youth wings, join a party or run as an independent candidate.
6. You may have more job opportunities in Canada.
Canada's diverse workforce is one point of pride for our citizens. It's true that both temporary and permanent residents are attracted to the country for its hiring and career opportunities.
This is a signal that a wide range of industries may be seeking workers for numerous positions. You may want to review the Government of Canada's Job Bank for openings ranging from line cook to electrical engineer, bookkeeper, administrative officer and technical support analyst.
7. Canadian citizenship is permanent.
To be a permanent resident, you must meet certain residency requirements set by the federal government and the province you live in. If you fail to meet any of these requirements, you may lose healthcare coverage or your permanent residence status.
However, you don't need to meet any requirements to maintain your citizenship, even if you obtained your citizenship through naturalization. The Canadian Citizenship Act of 1985, section 7, actually states that citizens of Canada do not cease to be citizens.
According to the same section, you'd have to renounce your citizenship to lose it. That is, you won't legally lose your status unless you give up your citizenship by choice.
For naturalized citizens, losing citizenship is only a remote possibility if the Crown finds a citizen guilty of immigration fraud. In short, once you're a Canadian, you're always a Canadian.
How to Immigrate to Canada: Applying for Canadian Citizenship
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is a department of the federal government that manages Canadian citizenship, both for applicants and for current Canadian citizens. You must meet these requirements to be eligible for Canadian citizenship:
- Applicants must be Canadian permanent residents and have lived in Canada for at least 3 years (1,095 days) out of the past 5 years before applying (unless exceptional circumstances are involved). Children under 18 must also have permanent resident status. However, they do not have to satisfy the three-year requirement.
- Applicants must be able to speak either one or both of Canada's two official languages - English or French well enough to communicate in Canadian society. People between the ages of 18 and 54 must submit proof of language proficiency.
- Applicants must be aware of the rights and responsibilities of citizens and have a basic knowledge of Canada's history, political system and geography.
- Applicants cannot have a criminal history considered prohibitive to granting Canadian citizenship (as decided by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, or IRCC).
- Applicants must submit a formal applications to IRCC and pay a government processing fee and a right of citizenship fee.
Once an application for citizenship is approved, applicants will need to take a citizenship test (for applicants between 18 and 54 only). Successful applicants must then attend a citizenship ceremony where they'll become new Canadian citizens and receive a certificate of Canadian citizenship.