The Citizenship Residency Requirement
Under the Citizenship Act, an applicant for Canadian citizenship must have resided in Canada for at least 3 years in the 4 years immediately preceding submission of the citizenship application.
For individuals who have been a permanent resident for the last four years, this is an easy calculation. You simply add up the days that you spent outside the country, and confirm that you were present in Canada for at least 1095 days.
For individuals who have been a permanent resident for less than four years, the calculation may be more complicated. If you became a permanent resident three years ago, and you never left Canada for more than 24 hours at a time since becoming a permanent resident, then – voila! – you meet the residency requirement. But if you did take international trips since becoming a permanent resident, then you need to make some more sophisticated calculations in order to qualify for citizenship. And you're only in a position to make these "sophisticated calculations" if you lived in Canada before you became a permanent resident and within the last four years. If you did not live in Canada before you became a permanent resident, or if the time that you lived in Canada before becoming a permanent resident is outside the "last 4 year" range - then you need to wait until you accumulate those 1095 days before applying. But if you did live in Canada before becoming a permanent resident, and within the last 4 years, then you might have some additional options.
The time you resided in Canada before you became a permanent resident counts as 1/2 time. This means that for every two days that you resided in Canada since becoming a permanent resident, you can count one of them as fulfilling the 1095 days obligation. So if you lived in Canada for a year before becoming a permanent resident, and you were present in Canada for 100% of that year, you can add 182 days to the number of total days you have spent in Canada since becoming a permanent resident.
Individuals who have been a permanent resident of Canada for less than 3 years can also use this benefit. For example, if you have been a permanent resident for only two years and have spent a total of 730 days in Canada, you can still qualify for citizenship if you lived in Canada for the two years immediately preceding your acquisition of permanent resident Status, but only if you never took a trip outside of Canada in those two years.
It's a generous calculation system: one that tries to give as many advantages as possible to applicants, so that you can apply as quickly as possible for the benefit of Canadian citizenship. You should be aware, however, that there are certain periods of time . spent in Canada- that will not help you meet the residence requirement. For example, time that you spent serving in jail will not count towards the residence requirement.
If you think that you meet the residence requirement, you can get started with your citizenship application now. Don.t worry about making a mistake with your calculation - we'll make sure that you meet the residence requirement before you submit your application.