Many would-be Canadians who apply for citizenship are adults or adults with children. However, a new law which will go into effect in fall of this year will permit children to apply for citizenship on their own. Children who are orphaned, estranged from their parents, have parents who do not qualify for citizenship or who are in otherwise challenging situations will be able to apply to become citizens. The new law also reduces language and knowledge requirements, so children under the age of 18 will not have to meet these prerequisites to get citizenship.
One concern for some Senators and critics, however, is the fact that children applying alone will still face the same high application fees as adults. When children apply for citizenship with their parents, their application fee is $100. When applying alone, their fee will be $530.
The fee for citizenship has long been debated, with some critics noting the large price tag can place a burden on those who want to start a new life in Canada. Some critics believe that the $530 fee and the $100 for child applicants means families struggle to pay for fees when they could be investing the money to start their new lives. Some feel the fees especially are disadvantageous for families, who are required to pay extra for children.
It’s no surprise, then, that the $530 application fee for children applying alone has come under scrutiny. Conservative Senator Victor Oh opposes the fee, saying it makes already vulnerable applicants face a more precarious situation. Without the help of adults, children may not be able to afford the higher application cost. Oh is the Senator who submitted the amendment to allow children to apply for citizenship without an adult.
Oh has also written a letter to Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, asking the fee to be lowered to $100 for children applying without an adult. The Immigration Minister is the authority with the discretion to make such a change.