Becoming a Canadian comes with many privileges and rights, allowing you to live, work, and enjoy all the benefits of one of the biggest countries in the world. The path of citizenship starts with ensuring you qualify and choosing a route to naturalization. If you have a criminal record from the past four years, for example, you may find your path to citizenship compromised.
Several Ways to Become a Canadian
You may already qualify for citizenship because your parents were Canadian or because you were born in Canada. If you do not qualify this way, you can apply on the basis of being a skilled worker, which allows you to enter through the Express Entry system.
You can also apply after obtaining permanent residency and remaining in the country for at least six years. You may need a shorter period of permanent residency in some circumstances. In some cases, you can apply for citizenship based on family status or because of your status as an entrepreneur.
If you have obtained permanent residency status and have met other requirements, you can apply through the following steps:
- Prepare for life in Canada. Learn about Canadian customs, history, and culture and become proficient in at least one of the two official languages (English or French).
- Secure an application package. You will need to obtain an application online or through a government office. Make sure you get the right application, as there are different forms of adults, children, and members of the Armed Forces.
- Complete and submit your application package. You will need to submit forms and information and will have to pay your fee online before mailing your package.
- Wait for a reply. You will be told when your application has been received and you will be able to check on the status of your application.
- Go to your citizenship interview and test. You will have to pass an oral or written test to prove your knowledge of Canada if you are an applicant between 14 and 64 years of age. The test may be in either French or English and will be based on the official study guide, Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship. When you arrive for your test, you will need to bring any travel documents you used before you applied as well as the original documents used in your application.
- Go to the citizenship ceremony. During your application process, you will need to successfully complete each stage and remain eligible for citizenship. Once you have done this and successfully passed the test, you will be invited to a citizenship ceremony, where you will be sworn in as a Canadian.
The process of citizenship can be complex, and if you need help, Immigration Direct has resources you can use to find some answers.