To become a Canadian citizen, the requirements are outlined by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) as follows:
- Being of the proper age – You must be 18 or older. Anyone under 18 must have an application made for the minor by a parent or guardian. The minor must already be a permanent resident of Canada.
- Must have permanent residence status – This is the first step to becoming a Canadian citizen; you must have already obtained permanent residence status.
- Time in Canada – To be eligible for citizenship in Canada, the Applicant must have been in Canada (i.e. physically present) for at least 1,460 days during the six years immediately before the date of application. Specifically, the individual must be 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.
- Income tax compliance – Only those who can demonstrate that they have met personal income tax filing requirements for four years within the six years before the application may qualify for citizenship.
- Show intent to reside in Canada – Declaring your intent to reside is mandatory and means that you will live in Canada.
- Pass language criteria – Citizens must be proficient in one of the two official languages – either French or English. Specific levels of skill apply, and a formal test is given to allow the applicant to demonstrate proficiency.
- You do not have prohibitions against you – Crimes committed outside or inside of Canada may negate your ability to become a citizen.
IRCC official study guide Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship
These criteria must all be met prior to filing your citizenship application. If you have served in the Canadian Armed Forces, the “fast track process” may be more appropriate for you. There are two standard application kits – those for Adults and those for Minors. Adults can apply for their children at the same time they apply for their own citizenship.
All applications require the submission of various supporting documents and fees. Fees are payable only in Canadian funds, and may be submitted via the online option or at specific financial institutions. After you apply, you will be contacted in order to take the formal Citizenship Test.
As IRCC notes, if you are between 14 and 64 years of age when you apply for citizenship, you must take the citizenship test. All the test questions are based on what’s in the Discover Canada guide. Applicants must study this guide in order to prepare for the test. The guide is available in both English and French. The time and place of the test is provided once the application is processed and you learn the results immediately after completing the test.
Passing the citizenship test is the final step to allow you to receive a ceremony date. You will take the Oath of Citizenship and become a full citizen at the Citizenship Ceremony. If you do not pass, you are able to take a second test at a later time.
As you might guess, there is a great deal involved, and it is always best that you speak with an immigration expert if you have concerns about your citizenship application in Canada.
Discover Canada guide is always free:
- available to read online
- listen to the MP3 version
- download the PDF or eBook.
Do you have questions about Canadian immigration? We Can Help
Evelyn Ackah is an immigration lawyer and expert who can review your particular case, and help you determine the best course of action. As the founder and managing lawyer at Ackah Business Immigration Law, Evelyn Ackah helps you understand your rights and interpret and navigate Canadian immigration law. To find out more about how to apply for Canadian citizenship and how to move to Canada: