Canadian Citizenship

"Canadians are proud of their citizenship; the status, rights, and freedoms that it provides."

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is the federal department that manages Canadian citizenship, both for those applying for citizenship and for current Canadian citizens. Approximately 210,000 people became citizens of Canada in 2014, which represents 85 per cent of eligible Canadian immigrants. These new Canadians have taken loyalty oaths pledging their commitment to the responsibilities and privileges of Canadian citizenship.

Based on As a result of 2014 changes to the Citizenship Act.

Requirements

Age

You must be at least 18 years old to apply.

To apply for citizenship for a child under 18:

  • You must be the child’s parent, adoptive parent or legal guardian,
  • The child must be a permanent resident, and
  • One parent must be a Canadian citizen or apply to become a citizen at the same time (this also applies to adoptive parents).

Permanent Resident Status

You must have permanent resident (PR) status in Canada, have no unfulfilled conditions related to that status, and your PR status must not be in question. This means you 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 do not need to have a PR card to apply for citizenship. If you have a PR card, but it is expired, you can still apply for citizenship.

Time You Have Lived in Canada

Regardless of your age, you must have been physically present in Canada for at least:

  • 1095 days during the five years right before the date you sign your application

You may be able to use some of your time spent in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person towards your physical presence calculation. Each day spent physically in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person before becoming a permanent resident within the last 5 years will count as one half day, with a maximum of 365 days, towards your physical presence.

Temporary resident status includes lawful authorization to enter or remain in Canada as a:

  • visitor,
  • student,
  • worker or,
  • temporary resident permit holder

A protected person is someone who:

  • was found to be in need of protection or a convention refugee by the Immigration and Refugee Board, or
  • received a positive decision on a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

Income Tax Filling

Regardless of your age, if required under the Income Tax Act, you must meet your personal income tax filing obligations in three tax years that are fully or partially within the five years right before the date you apply.

Language Abilities

Canada has two official languages—English and French. To become a citizen, you must show that you have adequate knowledge of one of these languages. In general, this means you can:
  • take part in short, everyday conversations about common topics;
  • understand simple instructions, questions and directions;
  • use basic grammar, including simple structures and tenses; and
  • Show that you know enough common words and phrases to answer questions and express yourself.

If you are 18 to 54 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. Second, we will note how well you communicate to staff or a citizenship officer during your interview.

A citizenship officer will make the final decision on your application, including how well you can communicate in English or French.

How Well You Know Canada

To become a citizen, you must 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 18 to 54 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. We will send you a copy of it once we get your application. The questions in the citizenship test are based on this study guide.

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.

For example if 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, or are charged with, on trial for, or involved in an appeal of an indictable offence in Canada, or an offence outside Canada.

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.