Becoming a Canadian is a journey which begins with ensuring you are eligible. You may be eligible for Canadian citizenship if:
- You are a permanent resident of Canada and do not have any unfulfilled conditions related to your status. You must not be under a removal order or have your status under review for possible fraud or immigration issues.
- You have lived and been present physically in Canada for at least 1095 days in the past five years before you apply for citizenship. If you lived in Canada as a protected person or temporary resident before becoming a permanent resident, you may be able to count each day you spent as one-half day of physical presence and you can use this towards your residency requirement. You can accumulate up to 365 days of physical presence in Canada this way. If you are the family member of a Crown Servant or are a Crown servant, you may be able to count days spent outside of Canada towards your physical presence requirement.
- You file your taxes (or are exempted from filing). You must have filed your income taxes (if you have earned an income and are required to file taxes) at least three of the five years before you apply for citizenship.
- You are able to show you can listen and speak in English and/or French. You may not need to meet the language requirement if you are over 54 years or under the age of 18 years.
- You have enough of a knowledge of Canada that you can pass the citizenship test.
- You have not recently committed a crime inside or outside Canada.
The Canada government website has an online form you can fill out to determine if you are eligible for citizenship.
Applying for Citizenship
Once you have met all the requirements for Canadian citizenship, you can apply to become a Canadian. You can do this with an application package. If you are an adult, use Application for Canadian Citizenship — Adults (Form CIT 0002). Minors need to use Application for Canadian Citizenship — Minors (CIT 0003) or Application for Canadian Citizenship – Minors (under 18 years of age) applying under subsection 5(1) (CIT 0403). Members of the Canadian Armed Forces should use Application for Canadian Citizenship — Adults – Canadian Armed Forces (CIT 0532).
Make sure you fill out the most recent version of the correct form and submit the application package, along with your application fee and any supporting documentation. Your package will also generally require you to submit photos which meet the current requirements for this application. In some cases, you may need to submit to fingerprinting as part of the Canadian citizenship process.
Once you have submitted your application package, you must wait to see whether your application is accepted. You can check processing times online to understand how long the process may take. If you need your citizenship sooner, you can apply for urgent processing of your application. Once you have applied, you can also check the status of your application online.
Taking the Test
Once your citizenship application has been submitted, the next step of the Canadian citizenship process is taking the citizenship test. Assuming there are no problems with your application, you will receive a letter informing you of the location and date of your test. You will want to start preparing for the test as soon as possible—potentially before you even submit an application.
The test may be written or may be part of an interview. You will be asked about citizen freedoms, rights, and duties in Canada. You will also be asked about Canadian political systems, history, society, culture, and military. You may see questions about branches of government, the monarchy, and ways to take part in Canadian society. In addition to testing your knowledge of Canada, the test examines your ability to understand and respond in either French or English.
You will know right away if you have passed or failed the exam. If you have failed, you can take the test a second time. If you fail your second attempt, you will be given an interview, where a citizenship officer will evaluate your qualifications.
When you arrive to take your test, arrive a bit early and bring any original documents you submitted with your citizenship application. Also bring any travel documents, including passports, you have used in the five years before you submitted your citizenship application.
The Oath and Ceremony
If you pass your citizenship test, you will get a notice telling you when your citizenship ceremony will be. The ceremony is the final step of the Canadian citizenship process. The ceremony may involve many other people who are also becoming Canadians, just like you.
When you arrive for the ceremony, bring your Record of Landing (IMM 1000) or your Confirmation of Permanent Residence (IMM 5292, IMM 5688). Also, bring any permanent resident (PR) card you have, even if it is expired. If you want to swear your Citizenship Oath on your own religious holy book, bring the book with you.
At the ceremony, a judge or official will lead all participants through the Oath of Citizenship and through the singing of the national anthem. You will sign the Oath or Affirmation of Citizenship form and receive your citizenship certificate. Two days after you have obtained a citizenship certificate, you can apply for a Canadian passport.
Do You Want to Become a Canadian Citizen?
If you feel like this process is something you would like to do to become Canadian, start by verifying your eligibility. If you need help at any point, Immigration Direct has online forms and resources to help you apply for citizenship. We have resources to help you determine your residency and a free FAQ, among other resources, to help you on your journey to citizenship.