To become a Canadian citizen, there is a lot that one has to fulfill in the criteria. Questions of eligibility often present. In an effort to answer the question of how to be a Canadian citizen, we hope to provide definitive information on how to get the process started, where to apply, and what to expect.
Here is a guide with the nine application requirements to become a Canadian citizen:
Requirement #1 – You need to be a permanent Canadian resident
Before becoming a Canadian citizen, you need to have your permanent resident status. This is given when someone immigrates to Canada but is not yet a Canadian citizen, subject to certain requirements. To maintain your PR in good standing, you must not be under investigation for immigration or fraud, not have a removal order against you, and/or have unfulfilled conditions – such as a medical screening – which haven’t been met.
Requirement #2 – You need to have lived in Canada for 3 of the last 5 years
In order to be a Canadian citizen, you are required to have been physically present in Canada for a minimum of 1,095 days during the five years before signing the application. It’s always recommended to have more than the minimum, just in case there are any issues.
Requirement #3 – You need to have your taxes filed and up to date
All income taxes filed in Canada should be up to date. If you’ve spent 1,095 days in Canada, a minimum of three years of income taxes should have been filed within the five prior years.
Requirement #4 – You need to pass a citizenship test
The citizenship test is one of the essential requirements to become a Canadian citizen. A new citizen between the ages of 18 and 54 years is required to take a citizenship test. The purpose of this test is to assess one’s knowledge on the rights and responsibilities of Canada, Canadians, and relating to history, geography, economy, government, laws, and symbols.
Your Canadian citizenship test is provided in either English or French. It should take 30 minutes to complete. The test itself is made up of 20 multiple choice and true-and-false questions. Though the test is usually written, it also may be done orally. To pass this test, you must get a minimum of 15 out of the 20 questions right.
If you do not pass your test but meet the other requirements, you will be scheduled to take the test for a second time. This is usually booked 4-8 weeks after the first test however it can take longer. If you happen to fail a second time, a hearing with a citizenship official is booked. This meeting’s to assess your knowledge of Canada and language skills. If you don’t pass your citizenship three times, your application is denied.
Requirement #5 – You need to prove language skills
Proficient language skills are one of the requirements to become a Canadian citizen. Canada’s two official languages are English and French. You must be able to demonstrate you can speak and understand one of these languages. This is done through reviewing your application proofs, communicating with you directly, and assessing language level during a citizenship hearing.
Requirement #6 – Additional requirements
There may be other requirements if you are someone under the age of 18, a Canadian citizen applying on behalf of an adopted child born outside of Canada, or a past Canadian citizen looking to have their citizenship back.
Contrary to what some believe, if you marry a Canadian, you do not automatically become a Canadian citizen. If you are or will be the spouse of a Canadian, you will be expected to meet the same requirements.
Requirement #7 – Submitting the citizenship application
The application to become a Canadian citizen can be downloaded off the official Canada website. From there, the application must be filled out in full, with relevant documents and fees attached.
A Canadian immigration lawyer will be able to assist you with every step of the process, Once completed, the application is then sent in by mail to the Case Processing Centre in Sydney, Nova Scotia.
Requirement #8 – Getting your citizenship application approved
Current processing times for a citizenship application is 12 months. This is an average, meaning it could take less or more time depending on a variety of circumstances. Currently, the 12 months is how long it takes to review the application and then to make a decision. Now if there’s missing information in the application or if the documents aren’t there, your citizenship application is refused and sent back. Once you provide what’s missing, you can re-submit.
If your Canadian citizenship application is denied, it is often because you don’t meet the requirements. In all cases, a letter is sent by registered mail notifying you of why.
Requirement #9 – Taking the Oath of Citizenship
If you are approved for a Canadian citizenship, congratulations! The last step is to take your Oath of Citizenship at a public ceremony. This usually takes place within 3 months after approval. Invitations are sent out 1-2 weeks prior to the citizenship ceremony. Between the time your approval happens and the citizenship ceremony, you are expected to continue to meet the requirements of citizenship.