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Visas & Work Permits in Canada
How to Get Citizenship in Canada
If you love the Great White North, you may be wondering how to become a Canadian citizen. To become a citizen, you will need to meet Canada’s citizenship eligibility criteria. For instance, you must have lived in the country at least 1,095 days out of five years as a permanent resident. Along with this, there is other criteria an applicant will have to meet. To learn more, read this article which covers eligibility conditions, the different steps of the application process, and citizenship status for minors.
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Canada’s citizenship requirements are:
- Proof that you know how to speak and write English or French.
- Be a permanent resident (learn more about becoming a Canadian citizen from permanent resident below).
- Have filed your taxes for at least three years during the last five years and not have any outstanding tax payments owing.
- Pass the knowledge test on Canadian values, history, symbols, institutions, rights, responsibilities, and privileges of citizenship.
How Many Days and Years to Apply for Citizenship in Canada?
To apply for Canadian citizenship, you must have lived in Canada as a permanent resident for 1,095 days (or three years) out of five years.
Please note that if you have served as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, you may be eligible for a fast-track application process.
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How to Apply for Canadian Citizenship
Once you have ensured you meet all of the eligibility requirements, the process and steps to become a Canadian citizen are pretty straightforward, simple – and done all online!
Step One: Download Application
You will first download the correct Canadian application form right off of the Government of Canada site. There are application packages for yourself, adoption by a Canadian citizen, or a stateless person born to a Canadian parent, parents, and guardians applying for Canadian citizenship for minors (under 18), or minors applying on their own without a parent or guardian (learn more about Canadian citizenship for minors below).
The application package you download will include detailed instructions on how to proceed.
Step Two: Pay Your Fees
How much does it cost to become a Canadian citizen? Canadian citizenship fees for adults is 630 CDN and 100 CDN for minors. You pay for everything online.
Step Three: Submit Your Application
You will send your application form along with all of your supporting documents (see below for a list of these) via mail or courier. It will be returned to you if anything is missing. You will be asked to resend with the missing information included. If you are applying for more than one person at the same time and wish for the applications to be processed together, ensure that you put everything together in the same envelope. Otherwise, they will be processed separately at different times. If there is an issue with one of the applications, immigration may continue to process the rest.
Address for regular mail
Case Processing Centre—Sydney
P.O. Box 7000
Sydney, Nova Scotia B1P 6V6
Address for courier mail
Case Processing Centre—Sydney
47–49 Dorchester Street
Sydney, Nova Scotia B1P 5Z2
Step Four: Citizenship Test
Once your application has been accepted, you will be invited to take the citizenship test, which you must pass to become an official Canadian. This is the knowledge test in multiple-choice format with questions on Canada’s history, political system, geography, values, rights and responsibilities of citizenship, national symbols, and more.
To prepare for the test, you can sign up for a citizenship class which is usually free or low-cost. The Government of Canada also offers an online guide which you can download to help you study for the test.
CitizenshipCounts.ca is another useful online tool to help you study. It offers practice tests and flashcards.
Please note that if you are over 54, you are exempt from taking the citizenship test.
Documents Needed for Canadian Citizenship
The format for the following required documents is clear and legible photocopies:
- Proof of language proficiency (e.g., results from a third-party language test; certificate, diploma, or transcripts from a secondary or post-secondary education program in English or French; or proof of a government-funded language training program)
- Biographical page of passport
- Evidence of service in the Canadian Armed Forces (if applicable)
- Two pieces of personal ID (e.g., Canadian driver’s license, the biographical page of the passport, military ID, foreign national ID document, etc.)
- Payment receipt
- Two citizenship photographs that meet specifications
Canadian Citizenship for Minors
Minor children (under 18 years old) can apply for citizenship at the same time as their parents, after their parent has become a citizen, or on their own. To apply for Canadian citizenship as a minor the applicant must:
- Be under 18 at the time of application
- Be a permanent resident (if applying on their own, they must meet the residence requirement)
Required documents include:
- Proof of permanent residence status (e.g., photocopy of permanent residence card)
- Photocopy of the biographical page of passport
- Two pieces of personal ID, one of which must contain a photo (e.g., photocopy of provincial health card, birth certificate, a school record, hospital record)
Please note that minors are exempt from taking the required citizenship test.
How to Get Dual Citizenship in Canada
The good news about Canada is that it allows for dual citizenship meaning you can successfully apply for and receive Canadian citizenship and still keep your home country’s citizenship.
However, keep in mind that some countries may revoke your citizenship if you become a Canadian citizen. It is best to check with the embassy or consulate of your state to find out if this is the case.
How to Become a Canadian Citizen from Permanent Resident
To become a Canadian citizen, you must be a permanent resident first and meet the residency requirement.
It used to be that permanent residents needed to accumulate a total of four years of residency out of six years, but this has since been lowered, making citizenship much easier and faster to obtain for permanent residents.