Many Canadian permanent residents who have navigated the immigration process eagerly anticipate being granted citizenship and look forward to the day they can officially become Canadian citizens.
Before reaching that milestone, certain final steps must be completed for Immigration, Refugees, Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to approve their Canadian citizenship application.
How to get Canadian citizenship
To become a Canadian citizen through naturalization, you need to first move to Canada as a permanent resident.
Like with all Canadian immigration programs, permanent residents must fulfill certain requirements to be eligible for citizenship:
#1. Residency Requirements:
Applicants must show evidence of residing in Canada for three years (1,095 days) out of the five years before submitting their application, with a few exceptions.
#2. File Taxes
Applicants for citizenship must have filed their taxes in Canada for at least three years within the five years before applying.
#3. Pass the citizenship test�
Applicants aged 18 to 54 must undergo a citizenship test to showcase their understanding of Canadian rights and responsibilities.
#4. Demonstrate language ability
To become a Canadian citizen, applicants need to show a basic proficiency in either French or English.
When to Apply for Canadian Citizenship
Canadian permanent residents need to live in Canada for at least three out of the last five years, totaling 1,095 days, before they can apply for Canadian citizenship, with a few exceptions.
PRs must also meet additional minimum requirements before being eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship.
How To Apply For Canadian Citizenship
The Canadian government is testing an online platform for citizenship applications, but it’s only open to specific applicants. Those not eligible for online applications need to apply using paper forms.
Those who qualify must pass the Canadian citizenship test and might undergo an interview if requested by IRCC before a citizenship judge.�
Upon approval, applicants attend a Citizenship Ceremony to take the Oath of Citizenship, officially becoming Canadian citizens.
#1. Canadian Citizenship Test
You must actively pass a test that assesses your knowledge of Canadian history, geography, economy, government, laws, and symbols. The test is made up of 20 questions on the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
When Can I Take The Citizenship Test?
Once the IRCC has processed a citizenship application, applicants must take the citizenship exam. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the exam is currently available only online.
To take the citizenship test online, you need to wait for an invitation. After processing an application, Immigration, Refugee, Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will send an invitation to you to take the citizenship test.
Preparing for the Canadian Citizenship Test�
The Canadian government offers a free study guide to assist in preparing for the citizenship test.�
Applicants can also inquire about free citizenship classes by contacting their local school or school board or reaching out to nearby immigration settlement service providers.
Applicants for citizenship who are under 18 or over 54 at the time of signing the application are exempt from the citizenship test requirement.
Attend the Canadian Citizenship Ceremony
The last step in becoming a Canadian citizen is the citizenship ceremony, where soon-to-be citizens take the Oath of Citizenship.
The Canadian government will send a Notice to Appear, which is like an invitation, for individuals to take the oath at a citizenship ceremony.
The Oath of Citizenship signifies a commitment to uphold Canadian rights and responsibilities.
Canadian Citizenship Application Processing Time & Cost
The time it takes to process a citizenship application can vary based on the submission date and application complexity. To find the average processing time, visit IRCC’s dedicated webpage.
The–cost of Canadian citizenship is CAD 630 per adult and CAD 100 per child for a single applicant.
- Processing fees: $530/adult & $100/child�
- Right of Citizenship fee: $100/adult�
Language Test for Canadian Citizenship
Language proficiency can be shown through test results submitted for Quebec immigration. If you’re under 18 or over 54, proving language skills is not needed.
When applying for Canadian citizenship, you must show proof of adequate proficiency in English or French.
You can demonstrate your language ability through third-party test results from specific organizations, including:
- Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) – CELPIP General, CELPIP General-LS�
- International English Language Testing System (IELTS) – General training�
- Test d’Évaluation de Français (TEF) (in French)�
- Test d’Évaluation de Français (TEFAQ) (in French)�
- TEF pour la naturalization: a 2 skills (listening and speaking) version�
Benefits of Becoming a Canadian Citizen
Here are things permanent residents can only do once they become citizens:
Canada operates as a parliamentary democracy. In federal elections, every citizen aged 18 and above can vote for the Prime Minister.
Besides federal elections, there are also regular provincial and municipal elections open to citizens
Voting provides citizens with a voice in choosing leaders at the national, provincial, territorial, and local levels. It is a significant privilege and responsibility of Canadian citizenship.
#2. Run For Office
Canadian citizens have the opportunity to run for office in municipal, provincial, or federal elections.
Various major political parties exist in Canada, and those interested in politics can join a youth wing or run independently.
#3. Travel Freely
Canadian citizens can apply for a Canadian passport, which only requires renewal every 5-10 years, unlike PR cards.
The Canadian passport is globally recognized, enabling citizens to travel to many countries without a visa.
It also facilitates easier re-entry into the country compared to a permanent resident travel document.
Other benefits of being a Canadian citizen are passing on citizenship to kids and living anywhere in the world without losing your citizenship.
#1. How long till I apply for Canadian Citizenship?
The processing time is the average duration from receiving a complete application to making a decision, which typically takes 16 months.
#2. How can I become a Permanent resident in Canada?
To start the immigration process, you need to apply to the province or territory where you want to live and receive a nomination.
Once nominated, you apply toIRCC for permanent residence. An IRCC officer will assess your application according to Canadian immigration rules.
You can become a Canadian Citizen as long as you have migrated for other opportunities. However, you have to stay in Canada for 3 years after your permanent resident status.
Becoming a Canadian Citizen entails certain processes and requirements.�
In order not to get confused in the process, I’ll recommend an immigration lawyer in Canada. They’ll help you navigate a cunning system.