If you are not already eligible for Canadian citizenship because you were born in Canada or born to Canadian parents, you can apply to become a citizen. In order to do this, you must apply and you must meet these prerequisites:
- You must have Permanent Resident status. Your status must not be compromised by unfulfilled conditions, removal orders, or a review for accusations of fraud.
- You must have lived in Canada as a permanent resident for at least 1,460 days over the six years before you place your signature on your citizenship application. You may not need to meet residency requirements if you are a crown servant or the family of one. You may also not need to meet minimum requirements for residency if you are applying for the fast track process to citizenship as a former or current member of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). Children who have a parent applying for them also currently do not need to meet residency requirements.
- You must be able to show a basic understanding of French or English.
- You must be able to pass a citizenship test and interview, which establishes your ability to have a basic conversation in English or French about Canada, including the responsibilities of citizenship, Canadian history and other topics pertaining to Canada. The topics you will need to know about are covered in the Discover Canada study guide.
- You must have paid taxes. If the Income Tax Act requires you to pay taxes, you must have filed for four years in the six years before your application.
- You must be in good standing. If you are currently serving jail time, probation, or are in trial for a serious crime, your application may be affected.
- You must meet application requirements. You must apply for citizenship, using the correct forms. You must fill out the forms fully and honestly and send them in, as required, with the appropriate application fee. You can find the right forms as well as a clear, step-by-step guide to filling out the right forms at Immigration Direct.
Requirements for Seniors
Applicants for Canadian citizenship who are at least 55 years old will not need to show a good grasp of English or French and will not need to show they understand the history and culture of Canada. Senior applicants will still need to meet for a citizenship interview and meet other citizenship requirements.
Requirements for Children
Children who are applying to become Canadian will generally do so with their parents. To do this, the form Application for Canadian Citizenship — Minors [CIT 0003] must be used. The correctly completed form, with all required documentation and application fee, must be submitted. The child needs to meet residency requirements, just like any applicant, and must have one or two parents who will either become Canadians at the same time or who are already citizens. Children over the age of fourteen will also need to show a basic understanding of the privileges and duties of citizenship and demonstrate a basic understanding of English or French.