When most people are considering immigrating and becoming citizens of another country, Canada often features on the list of countries they’re considering. If you’re one of the people considering Canadian citizenship, this article will shed light on everything you need to know.
Eligibility Requirements to Apply for Canadian Citizenship
Even before you start your Canadian citizenship application, the first thing to determine is if you qualify to become a Canadian citizen. First and foremost, you must meet the following criteria:
Be a permanent resident of Canada
To meet this qualification means that you must fully meet the requirements stipulated by the IRCC to be a permanent resident of Canada.
If your immigration status is under review for any criminal reasons, you’ll have to wait until the review is over and you’re allowed to retain your PR status. If there’s a removal order against you or you have unfulfilled conditions related to your PR status, you also don’t qualify as a PR and thus aren’t eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship.
Must have lived in Canada for at least 3 out of the last 5 years
3 years of living in Canada translates to approximately 1,095 days. However, it’s recommended that you ensure you’ve lived in Canada longer than that before you apply for citizenship.
Otherwise, miscalculating how long you’ve lived in the country might render you ineligible. The best time to include in your calculation is when you’ve been in Canada as a permanent resident.
However, you can also include time spent as a temporary resident or protected person. Similarly, if you’ve been working outside Canada as a Crown servant or a family member of one, you may also be able to include that time as time lived in Canada.
Filed taxes for as long as you were eligible
Filing taxes as long as you qualify will go a long way into raising your chances of acquiring Canadian citizenship. At the very least, you’ll be required to show that you filed your taxes for at least 3 years within the last 5 right before the date you apply for citizenship.
Pass the Canadian citizenship test
Anyone between 18 and 54 years at the time of application must take a Canadian citizenship test as part of their application.
The things you’ll be tested on will include your knowledge of a Canadian’s rights and responsibilities, Canadian history, geography, economy, government, laws, and symbols.
The test is in English or French and typically takes about 30 minutes with 20 multiple choice and true or false questions. You’ll need to score at least 15 to pass the test. The test will be oral or written.
Prove you meet the language requirements for Canadian citizens
The official languages of Canada are English and French. To be eligible for Canadian citizenship, you must approve you can use, speak, understand, and comprehend either or both of the languages on an intermediate level.
Whether you provide a certificate, diploma, or test as proof of your language proficiency, you’ll need to have a level 4 or higher based on the Canadian Language Benchmarks.
Additional Eligibility Criteria
While you might meet all the requirements above, you may not be eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship if you’ve been subjected to certain prohibitions such as committing a crime in or outside Canada or spending time in jail.
The following categories of applicants also need to meet a set of different requirements before qualifying to apply for Canadian citizenship:
- Those applying for minors (under 18 years of age)
- Canadian citizens applying for adopted children born outside Canada
- Current or former members of the Canadian Armed Forces applying under the fast-track process
- Past Canadian citizens who want their citizenship back
Unlike most other places, spouses married to Canadian citizens do not become citizens or qualify for citizenship automatically. Instead, they too MUST meet the criteria above to apply for citizenship.
However, children and grandchildren of Canadian citizens may become citizens if there is clear proof of their heritage.
The Benefits of Becoming a Canadian Citizen
If you meet the requirements described above, you’ve probably been looking forward to the day you become a Canadian citizen. If you decide to apply for Canadian citizenship and you’re finally granted citizenship, below are some of the rights you’ll enjoy:
- Ability to vote in municipal, provincial, and federal political elections
- Ability to run for political and other governmental offices
- Right to work any and all jobs (there are specific careers only Canadian citizens can work)
- Have dual citizenship (if your home country allows it)
- Hold a Canadian passport (allowing you to travel to more countries without a visa
Determining whether you qualify for Canadian citizenship might take you more time than you have. However, working with an immigration consultant will make the process much smoother. Additionally, with an immigration expert working with you, chances are you can expedite your application faster as they know what to do every step of the way.