Canadian Citizenship Requirements

In order to take the next big step in Canadian immigration and apply for citizenship you will have to meet certain requirements before filling out any forms. The requirements are relatively easy to understand and this article addresses them all.

Red Maple leaf and bars on white field

First of all, you must be of age to apply for citizenship and be a permanent resident as well. People wishing to become Canadian citizens under the age of 18 must have a parent, an adoptive parent or legal guardian apply for them. This guardian must be a citizen or also applying for citizenship simultaneously. (Note: children less than 18 years do not need to meet the residential time requirement.) Both the guardian and the child must be permanent residents. However, if your permanent resident status is contested you will be ineligible for citizenship.

Applicants for citizenship must also show that they have lived for at least three of the past four years within Canada’s borders. This means that you should have been present in Canada for 1,095 days out of the past four years. Citizenship and Immigration Canada offers a useful residency calculator to help you figure out whether or not you meet this requirement. Keep in mind that time in prison does not count as residence in Canada.

Canada has two official languages: English and French. In order to become a citizen you must be fluent in either of them, but not necessarily both. Your understanding of either English or French will be assessed when you are interviewed by the immigration officer. Permanent residents are advised to enroll in language courses if needed before applying for citizenship.

Canadian citizens are also expected to be familiar with the rights, values, institutions, government and history of Canada. A test will be administered to you to assess your knowledge when you apply for citizenship.

Disqualifications to citizenship are largely criminal. If you are currently being or were convicted of an offence under the Citizenship Act; are in prison or subject to administrative punishment; have been ordered removed from Canada; or being investigated or charged with war crimes you may not apply for citizenship. Also if your citizenship has been revoked in the past five years you won’t be eligible.