The adoption of Bill C-6 will mean changes to the Citizenship Act, which may affect the experience of new Canadians seeking citizenship. The new changes will go into effect October 11, 2017.
Among other changes, Bill C-6 may make it easier and faster for some Canadian citizen applicants to become Canadians by making some requirements more flexible. If you meet the new requirements for citizenship under these changes, however, you will need to wait until October 11, 2017, to apply for citizenship. On that date, new guides and application forms will become available for those seeking to become Canadian citizens.
The changes which will go into effect on October 11 include:
- Citizenship applicants can use the time before they became permanent residents towards their residency requirements. Previously, this was not possible. Under the new rules, every day a person spends in Canada as a protected person or temporary resident before they become a permanent resident can be calculated as a half-day when counting towards residency requirements. These days must occur in the five years before a person applies for citizenship and a credit of no more than 365 days can be acquired in this way.
- Citizenship applicants must live and be physically in Canada for three out of five years before they submit an application for citizenship. Previously, physical residency requirements required applicants to live in Canada for four of the previous six years before applying.
- Citizenship applicants are required to file Canadian income taxes for three of the five years before applying for citizenship. Previously, they must have filed in four of the previous six years. As before, applicants only need to file if they are mandated to do so according to the Income Tax Act.
- A loosening of residency rules. Previously, citizenship applicants needed to be physically in Canada for 183 days for four of the six years they lived in Canada before their application. You no longer need to meet this requirement.
- Citizenship applicants who are 18 to 54 years of age must comply with the knowledge and language requirements for Canadian citizenship, as established by the citizenship interview. Previously, applicants between 14 and 64 had to meet these requirements.
Additional changes to the Citizenship will also be coming in early 2018. Some of these expected changes include giving citizenship officers new authority to seize documents they suspect are fraudulent. In early 2018, the Federal Court will also become the final decision maker in cases where citizenship is revoked.
Stay tuned to Immigration Direct to get new guides for the new citizenship applications and to stay up-to-date about legislative changes which could impact your citizenship goals.