CITIZENSHIP

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Since 2010, Canada has welcomed an average of more than 260,000 permanent residents each year. Furthermore, Canada has the highest rate of naturalization globally – 85% of eligible permanent residents become citizens. As a citizen, you will benefit from living in a country ranked among the top 10 in the UN Quality of Life Index since 2004.

 

Canadian citizens can carry a Canadian passport, vote in Canadian elections or run their political campaign. They have the absolute right to live in Canada and leave and enter Canada (can travel to 170+ countries visa-free). Moreover, Canada is one country that recognizes dual citizenship, so you don’t need to give up on your previous passport.

Who is eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship?

To be eligible to become a Canadian citizen, you must:

 

  • Be a permanent resident of Canada

  • Must have lived in Canada for at least 1095 days within the past five years.

    • Days spent inside Canada as a temporary resident (visitor, student or worker) can count as ½ days up to a maximum of one year total qualifying time.

  • Filed a Canadian Income Tax Return for at least three of the past five years.

  • You are proficient in either French or English, demonstrated by taking a language test or studying in either official language. Those under age 18 or over age 54 do not need to show language skills.

  • Take a test to show sufficient knowledge of Canada.

  • You are not in prison, on parole, on probation, have been convicted, charged with an offence, under a removal order, or investigated.

Canadian citizenship application process

1

Submit Your Application

Be sure to include supporting documents and Citizenship fees.

2

Write the citizenship exam

After your application has been assessed and deemed eligible for Canadian Citizenship, you will receive an invitation to write the Citizenship Exam. The exam is composed of 20 multiple choice questions and covers topics such as Canadian history, geography, and government systems. You will be provided with a link to the online study guide after submitting your Canadian Citizenship application. A passing mark on the Canadian Citizenship exam is 15 correct answers.

 

If you don’t pass the exam on your first attempt, you will be rescheduled to retake the exam in a few weeks. Suppose you are unsuccessful on your second attempt. In that case, you will be scheduled for an interview with a citizenship official so that they can speak with you about your knowledge of Canada and determine if you meet the criteria to become a Canadian Citizen.

 

Applicants under the age of 18 and over 54 do not need to take the Citizenship exam.

3

Attend an interview

On the same day that you write your Canadian Citizenship Exam, you will meet with a government official to present your original documents for inspection and have a brief conversation to verify your language skills.

4

Attend the oath ceremony

All Canadian Citizenship applicants over the age of 14 must attend a citizenship ceremony and take the Oath of Citizenship. Sometimes your oath ceremony will be scheduled on the same day as your exam, and other times it will be held on a separate day. During the ceremony, you will be presented with your Certificate of Canadian Citizenship and have the opportunity to take a photo with the Citizenship judge.

Apply for a Canadian passport

Once you have received your Canadian Citizenship Certificate, you will probably be eager to apply for a Canadian passport. You will need to wait at least two business days after your Canadian Citizenship oath ceremony before you can apply for a passport.

Applying for proof of Canadian citizenship

In some cases, you may already be a Canadian Citizen and need to apply for a Citizenship Certificate to obtain a Canadian passport. If one of your parents or grandparents was Canadian, born before 2009, there is a good chance that you became a Canadian citizen when you were born.

 

For those born outside of Canada to a Canadian Citizen in 2009 or later, the situation is less clear and will depend on where your parents were born. If you find yourself in this situation, it would be a good idea to set up an appointment with a professional to review the complex rules concerning Canadian citizenship and determine your options.

What it means to be a citizen of Canada

Canadian Citizenship means that you can live anywhere in Canada, you can work in any job, and you can sponsor your family to live with you if they are located elsewhere. You can vote in Canadian elections and even run for political office if you want to. You are eligible for a Canadian passport, and you can keep your Canadian Citizenship even if you don’t continue to live in Canada.

 

Let’s review a quick summary of the differences between Canadian Citizenship and Permanent Residence.

Benefits of Canadian Citizenship:

  • Can work and live anywhere in Canada

  • Guaranteed entry to Canada

  • Hold Canadian passport

  • Requires Canadian passport to return to Canada

  • No residency requirement

  • Can vote and run for political office

  • Remains in Canada after criminal convictions

Benefits of Permanent Residence:

  • Can work and live anywhere in Canada

  • Guaranteed entry to Canada

  • Hold passport from country of origin

  • Require PR card to return to Canada

  • Must live 2 years inside Canada in each 5 year period

  • Cannot vote or run for political office

  • Can be deported for criminal convictions

WHAT'S NEXT?

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