How to Move to Canada and Become a Citizen

For many young people affected by the news that DACA is being rescinded, there are worries about the future. While the Trump administration has said Congress will find a way to protect children of undocumented immigrants in the United States, not everyone is optimistic about the promise. With only six months before DACA is rescinded and close to 800,000 residents of the United States become eligible for deportation, many DACA program participants are looking for alternative options.

One such option might exist to the North.

Canada is an English and French-speaking nation with many cultural similarities to the United States. It also has a few options for immigration. In fact, there are a few options for getting to Canada:

1) Check to see if you are already a citizen. If your parents have Canadian citizenship or you were born in Canada, you may already be Canadian. The government has a page to help you determine your status.

2) Apply through Express Entry. If you have a degree and some work experience, this system gives you points for desirable skills, job offers, language skills, and more. If you apply to be in the Express Entry pool and score high enough, you will be asked to apply for permanent residency. After living in Canada for six years, you can then apply for citizenship.

3)  Become a permanent resident. Each province has a different path to permanent residency and Quebec, especially, has a different immigration system. You can become a permanent resident by being an entrepreneur, by getting a job offer in Canada, by being sponsored through family and through other routes. Once you are a permanent resident, you will need to live in Canada for at least two years out of a five year period until you can apply for citizenship. Your residency requirements will be different if you are a Crown Servant or the immediate family member of a Crown Servant. After declaring your intent to reside in Canada and becoming a permanent resident, you can study, work, travel, and enjoy many benefits of being a Canadian.

4) Meet the requirements for citizenship. In addition to being a permanent resident, you will need to maintain a clean criminal record, understand French or English, and prepare for the citizenship test. You can study for the test with the Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship guide. You must also have at least four out of the last six years of tax filings before applying to become a citizen.

If you’re considering Canada as a location after DACA ends, start today to determine how you can move to and live in Canada. If you need help, Immigration Direct has numerous resources to help you, including a guide on how to become a Canadian citizen and kits including everything you need in order to apply to become a permanent resident through Express Entry.

IRCC Introduces New Photo Specifications for Citizenship Applications

IRCC Introduces New Photo Specifications for Citizenship ApplicationsThe IRCC has announced new photo requirements for citizenship applicants using forms CIT0001 and CIT0002. Whether you are a Canadian citizen applying for a citizenship card or certificate or an applicant seeking Canadian citizenship for the first time, you may be affected by these changes.

According to the IRCC, the requested photo changes are now 50x70mm. Before this change, they were 35x45mm. Other requirements for photos will remain the same. Your photos will still need to be taken within the past six months, for example. However, even if you took the photos recently, ensure that they meet the current guidelines and are 50x70mm. Before getting photos for your application completed, ensure your photographer is aware of current photo requirements.

Current Requirements

Your photos must:

  • Place your face in the middle of the photograph, with the top of your shoulders and the full front view of your head visible, with you gazing at the camera straight on with a neutral expression.
  • Have your face sized correctly, so the point from your chin to the top of the head or skull is no larger than 36 mm (1 7/16″) and no smaller than 31 mm (1 1/4″).
  • Include two photos which are identical and taken at the same time.
  • Be printed on good quality photographic paper and must have your name printed on the back, along with the name of the studio or photographer who took the photo, the date the photographs were taken and the address of the studio or photographer.
  • Not be altered and must be taken against a light or pale background.
  • Must be good quality and clear.
  • Clearly show your face, which must be unencumbered by hairpieces, sunglasses or other items which could obscure your appearance. Prescription glasses and religious head coverings are permitted as long as full facial features and eyes remain fully visible.  

It is important to ensure your photos meet all current requirements before you send in your application. Review the instructions that came with the application to ensure your photos are acceptable. If there is a mistake or your photos fail to meet current guidelines, your application cannot be processed until you submit the correct photos. The process of contacting you about the errors and having you send in additional pictures can delay your application.

Canadian Citizenship Requirements (2017)

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.

How to Become a Canadian Citizen

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.

Click here to check if you qualify to apply for Citizenship

Applying for Citizenship

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.

Liberal Gov Loosens Conditional Resident Rules

Liberal Gov Loosens Conditional Resident RulesConditional permanent resident status regulations no longer apply to sponsored spouses and common-law partners as the Liberal Canadian government abolishes Conservative rules, in effect since 2012. With the change, the government ushers in a policy committed to family reunification, gender equality, and gender non-violence.

The change, effective April 28, means conditional permanent residence no longer applies to anyone, which includes those sponsored by a spouse or partner for permanent residence or sponsored by someone with conditional permanent residents– like a child or parent.

Individuals who received official communication on or after April 18, 2017, indicating a requirement to “cohabit in a conjugal relationship with your spouse or partner for a continuous period of two years after the day on which you became a PR” should disregard the message. In the same way, investigations around individuals in violation of the rule are now dropped.

Under the old rule, sponsored spouses and common-law partners had to live with their sponsor for two years. The rule applied those individuals with a relationship less than two years old and in cases where the couple had no children in common. Failure to abide by the condition equated to risk in losing status.

Conservatives introduced the rule as a means of guarding against immigration to Canada through disingenuous relationships. While the government “recognizes that cases of marriage fraud exists,” according to a release, “the majority of relationships are genuine and most spousal sponsorship applications are made in good faith.”  Additionally, removing the barrier reaffirms the government’s “commitment to family reunification and supports gender equality and combating gender violence.”

Bill C-6 Makes Citizenship Easier

Bill C-6 Makes Citizenship Easier“We want all permanent residents, if possible, to become Canadians,” said Canada’s Immigration Minister, Ahmed Hussen, at a recent conference in Toronto. “Canada’s identity has always been shaped by the significant economic, cultural and social contributions of immigrants. Changes to the Citizenship Act will enhance program integrity, while giving more flexibility to eligible applicants to meet the requirements for citizenship so that they can continue building successful lives in Canada.”

Bill C-6 is now in effect. On June 19, 2017, it received Royal Assent and is now law. This bill amends Canada’s Citizenship Act and will now offer a quicker path to citizenship for permanent residents. Not all measures of the law will go into effect immediately. Some of the bill’s measures will take effect later this year or early 2018.

According to the new law, Bill C-6 will also:

  • Allow permanent residents who had spent time in Canada on temporary status, such as on a work or study permit, to count up to 365 days of this temporary status towards the residency requirement.
  • Remove the ‘intent to reside’ provision, which previously required new citizens to state that they intended to reside in Canada.
  • Eliminate the government’s ability to revoke citizenship from naturalized citizens who hold dual citizenship on national security grounds, which the now-governing Liberals had said created a two-tiered citizenship system when in opposition.
  • Permit children under the age of 18 to apply for citizenship without the support or consent of their parents.
  • Give individuals who lost their citizenship on the grounds that it was obtained fraudulently the right to appeal that decision in Federal Court.

One measure of the bill taking effect later on this fall is much anticipated. Immigrants will now be eligible to apply for citizenship when they have accumulated 1,095 days, or three years, within a five-year period, instead of the 1,460 days required within 6 years.

Citizenship offers individuals the opportunity to political rights such as the ability to stand for office or the right to vote, to name a few benefits. As a Canadian Citizen, you also have the right to obtain a Canadian Passport.

Canadian Citizenship Practice Test II

Are you ready to take the Citizenship Test?

If you are a Permanent Resident seeking to become a Canadian citizen there is couple things to consider before you proceed.

First know the requirements needed to see if you qualify to apply for citizenship. The requirements to obtain Canadian citizenship are the following:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have permanent resident (PR) status
  • Physically present as a permanent resident in Canada for at least 1,460 days (4 years) out of the 6 years on day of applying
  • Know basic English or French
  • General knowledge about Canada’s history, geography, government, and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship to pass a citizenship test (adults 65 years of age and over are exempt)

Second, and most importantly you will need to complete Form CIT 0002e to apply for citizenship.

Third, it is important to know about Canada’s history, geography, government and the rights and responsibilities of citizens in order to gain citizenship status. The test will evaluate your knowledge of Canada and language abilities.

Check out Part 1 of this Quiz to help you study for common questions asked on the citizenship test.

Canadian Citizenship Practice Test

Are you ready to take the Citizenship Test?

If you are a Permanent Resident seeking to become a Canadian citizen there is couple things to consider before you proceed.

First know the requirements needed to see if you qualify to apply for citizenship. The requirements to obtain Canadian citizenship are the following:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have permanent resident (PR) status
  • Physically present as a permanent resident in Canada for at least 1,460 days (4 years) out of the 6 years on day of applying
  • Know basic English or French
  • General knowledge about Canada’s history, geography, government, and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship to pass a citizenship test (adults 65 years of age and over are exempt)

Second, and most importantly you will need to complete Form CIT 0002e to apply for citizenship.

Third, it is important to know about Canada’s history, geography, government and the rights and responsibilities of citizens in order to gain citizenship status. The test will evaluate your knowledge of Canada and language abilities.

Check out Part 2 of this Quiz to help you study for common questions asked on the citizenship test.

Despite Law, Some Canadian Immigrants Charged Employment Fees

work in canada

Despite a law banning the practice, a loophole is allowing Alberta-based employment agencies to charge some Canadian immigrants thousands of dollars in employment fees.

Alberta’s Fair Trading Act prohibits employment agencies from collecting fees “directly or indirectly” from immigrant workers; however, in what some critics see as being a significant loophole in the law, agencies are allowed to charge fees for services not considered to be “employment agency business services.” That broad-based category can often include employment-related services such as resume writing, job-skills training and immigration consulting.

According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), at least a dozen businesses in Alberta are utilizing that loophole in the immigration law, and operating as both employment agencies—who are not allowed to charge immigrants fees—as well as providing immigration consulting services, for which fees are permitted.

Complicating matters even more, the rules governing these practices varies wildly throughout Canada’s western provinces—British Columbia (BC), Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

While the laws applying to employment agencies are similar in both Alberta and BC, Manitoba has far stricter rules that totally ban recruiters from charging any fees. Saskatchewan’s laws are even more complex, as agencies can charge for immigration consulting with the workers’ consent, but employers must pay for any resume preparation or training that is provided.

A spokesman for the organization representing Canadian employment agencies said the members of his group have a code of ethics that prohibit charging for recruiting services. Randy Upright, national director of the Association of Canadian Search, Employment & Staffing Services (ACSESS) said it is the practice of members of his organization to not offer both recruiting and resume-writing/employment consulting services.

However, Gil McGowan, the president of the Alberta Federation of Labor, is calling for changes to the Fair Trading Act, saying the law “has loopholes so big you could drive a truck through it.” McGowan is calling on the provincial government to re-write the law in order to close those loopholes, and make it more difficult for employment agencies to justify charging any fees to foreign workers seeking employment.

For its part, Alberta’s provincial government is resisting any pressure to change the law. Alberta’s Minister of Service Stephen Khan said he doesn’t agree that there are any loopholes in the existing law, and that his ministry investigates any claims by workers who believe they have been victimized by employment agencies.

Instead of changing the law, Khan said his government believes a better way to address any possible victimization of foreign workers is through greater education and public awareness.

To that end, Khan told the CBC that his ministry is doing its best to “create messaging” as well as “public awareness” in order to ensure that people—including foreign workers—“know what their rights are when it comes to these (employment) issues.”

Critics Call For Changes To New Canadian Immigration Law

Canadian Citizenship

Only a few weeks after its initial implementation, a growing number of critics are calling for changes to the new Canadian immigration law known as Express Entry.

In the first round of the Express Entry system, a total of 779 candidates were selected at the end of January to participate in the program; that number represented about 26 percent of the 3,000 applications the government accepted for the initial Express Entry draw.

Under the Express Entry program, candidates are assigned points based upon their age, education, professional qualifications and successful completion of a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). A full half of the required 1,200 points in Express Entry are assigned based on attaining an LMIA. Under the LMIA system, employers are required to show that foreign applicants for Canadian work visas can prove that they possess skills in demand, and are filling a position that no Canadian is available to fill.

Although the January selection of candidates marked the first draw from the ‘pool’ of Express Entry applicants, the percentage of those accepted was seen by many as being rather low, and could be indicative of problems with the LMIA program. Toronto immigration lawyer Sergio Karas explained that LMIAs are “incredibly difficult to get…laborious and time insensitive and complicated” for Canadian employers to obtain.

The Express Entry program requires employers to successfully complete a two-step application process in which foreign applicants’ names are entered into a “pool”, and then ranked against other candidates under consideration for permanent residency based on the number of points assigned to them.

Over 10,000 foreign workers applied for the first round of Express Entry, with only 3,000 candidates being selected for the initial pool of names.

While critics of the Express Entry program expressed concern about its initial implementation, Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said he was pleased with the program’s first round of applications. Alexander cited the fact that all Express Entry candidates had “valid job offers” and were “highly skilled”, and he believed that meant that they were more likely to successfully integrate into Canadian society.

Among the criticisms of the Express Entry system is also its alleged lack of transparency. Mario Bellissimo, past president of the Canadian Bar Association’s immigration section, said the fact that the number of Express Entry applicants is not fixed but is instead a “moving target” means the program lacks transparency, and will likely call into question “the integrity of the (whole) system.”

A second Express Entry draw of applicants’ names was conducted in early February, and an additional 779 candidates were selected at that time. Under the rules of Express Entry, successful candidates must respond within 60 days of notice; those candidates not selected will remain in the pool for an additional six months, and will be entered into future draws.

The federal government is expected to conduct between 15 and 25 Express Entry draws during the current calendar year.