7 Requirements to Apply for Canadian Citizenship

Apply for Canadian citizenship You got your Canadian permanent residence and now you have been living in this great country for some time working hard, paying your taxes and enjoying your life with your family. You do not have Canadian passport which makes it inconvenient most of time when traveling abroad. You want to apply for Canadian citizenship as soon as you become eligible to submit your application. You must meet 7 requirements such as age, time spent in Canada, language skills and knowledge about Canada before you can apply for Canadian citizenship. Here I have listed all the requirements which you must meet so that you can assess you eligibility for Canadian citizenship quickly.

Canada made many changes to Citizenship Act in 2014 and all the amendments are in force effective from June 11, 2015. You application will be assessed according to new rules so you must all the new requirements.

1. Age:

Your age at the time of submitting your application for Canadian citizenship must be at least 18 years. If you are under the age of 18 years, your parents/guardians must apply for your Canadian citizenship. Your child must be permanent resident of Canada and on parent must also be applying to become the citizen at the same time.

2. Permanent resident status

You must be permanent resident of Canada with no unfulfilled conditions related to your status. Your permanent resident status must not:

  • be under review for immigration or fraud reasons, or
  • be under a removal order (an order from Canadian officials to leave Canada), or
  • have certain unfulfilled conditions related to your PR status.

You can apply for Canadian citizenship even if your Permanent Resident card is expired.

3. Time you have lived in Canada

Citizenship and Immigration Canada amended the residency requirements in the Citizenship Act. You must meet two residency conditions. First is you must be physically present in Canada for at least 1460 days during the six years immediately before the date you submit your application. The second condition is that you must be physically present for at least 183 days during each of four calendar years that are fully or partially within the six years immediately before the date of application.

You cannot include any time you have lived in Canada before becoming permanent resident of Canada.

For example you became Canadian permanent resident 0n January 01,  2010. You have to go back to Pakistan for 190 days in 2012 due to some personal reasons. Now you have been in Canada for 1803 days (1993 – 190 = 1805). You were not present in Canada for at least 183 days in 2012 so you cannot include that year for residency requirements. However, you meet the requirement of physical presence if you were submitting your application on June 17, 2015.

4. Income tax filing

You must have met your personal income tax filing obligations in four taxation years that are fully or partially within the six years immediately before the date you apply.

5. Intent to reside

You must declare your intent to reside during the citizenship application process. In order to become Canadian citizen, you must indicate your intention to:

  • live in Canada,
  • work outside Canada as a Crown servant, or
  • live abroad with certain family members who are Crown servants.

Once you become a Canadian citizen, you have the right to enter, remain in, or leave Canada, one of the basic rights of citizenship.

6. Language abilities

You must demonstrate that you have adequate knowledge of one of two official languages of Canada that is English and French to become Canadian citizen. The basic idea behind testing your knowledge of either English or French is to ensure that you can you can take part in conversation about common topics, understand simple instructions and express yourself without difficulties.

If you are 14 to 64 years of age, you must send documents with your citizenship application that prove you can speak and listen in English or French at this level. Citizenship officer will also consider the way you communicate during your citizenship interview. Citizenship officer will make the final decision about your language abilities in English or French.

You can include results of an accepted third-party test at the equivalent of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB/NCLC) / Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens  level 4 or higher in speaking and listening either done previously for immigration purposes (acceptable even if expired) or done specifically for citizenship purposes.

You can submit test results from one of the following as proof for your proficiency in English or French.

  • Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program General Test
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Test d’Évaluation de Français (TEF), Test d’Évaluation du Français adapté au Québec (TEFAQ) or TEF pour la naturalisation.

You can also use proof of completion of a secondary or post-secondary program conducted in French or English, either in Canada or abroad to meet the language requirements.

7. Prohibitions

If you have committed a crime in or outside Canada you may not be eligible to become a Canadian citizen for a period of time.

I you are in prison, on parole or on probation in Canada, or are serving a sentence outside Canada,
have been convicted of an indictable offence in Canada or an offence outside Canada in the four years before applying for citizenship, you cannot apply to become Canadian citizen for certain period of time.

Similarly if you are charged with, on trial for, or involved in an appeal of an indictable offence in Canada, or an offence outside Canada, you will have to wait before you can apply for Canadian citizenship.

Time in prison or on parole does not count as time you have lived in Canada. Time on probation also does not count if you were convicted of a crime.

How well you know Canada?

Once you have submitted your application, you will be required to take a citizenship test to show that understand the rights, responsibilities and privileges of citizenship, such as voting in elections and obeying the law. You must also show, in English or French, that you understand Canada’s history, values, institutions and symbols.

If you are 14 to 64 years of age, when you apply for citizenship, you will need to take a citizenship test to show you have adequate knowledge of Canada and the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship. It is usually a written test, but it is sometimes taken orally with a citizenship officer. All you need to know for the test is in our free study guide, Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship.  Citizenship and Immigration Canada will send you the copy of the study guide once your completed application has been received.

You can Contact us if you need more information about Canadian citizenship requirements.


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