How to Get Canadian Citizenship

If you wish to obtain Canadian Citizenship, you must first make sure you qualify. In order to meet Canadian Citizenship requirements, you must be able to show you speak French or English (or qualify for an exemption), which are Canada’s official languages. Generally, you must also have lived in Canada as a permanent resident for a minimum of 1,095 days out of the 5 years before you submit your Canadian Citizenship application. You must also have filed your taxes, if you have income to declare, for a minimum of three years in the five years before your application. If you have taxes owing, you must have paid these taxes.

If you are not sure whether you meet all Canadian Citizenship requirements, the Government of Canada has a website which asks you a few questions and lets you determine eligibility.

The Process of Applying for Canadian Citizenship

If you determine you meet all Canadian Citizenship requirements, you may be able to apply for Citizenship by filing a Canadian Citizenship application. You will need to use the form which corresponds to your situation. Adults typically use Application for Canadian Citizenship — Adults (Form CIT 0002) while minors are required 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 usually, do not use the adult form. Instead, they may use Application for Canadian Citizenship — Adults – Canadian Armed Forces (CIT 0532).

Each of these forms is a part of complete application package and will need to be filled out fully and correctly to avoid delays. As part of the application package, you will be asked to supply copies of identification and, in some cases, you will need to submit to fingerprinting. You may also need to submit photos with your application as well as your application fee.

After you have applied, you can check processing times online or check the status of your application. If you check processing times and realize you need to fast-track your Citizenship application, you can apply for Citizenship urgently. You can get a fast-track of your application only if you have a legitimate emergency. This may mean there is a serious medical emergency in your family which requires you to travel and you cannot travel on your own passport. You may also qualify for urgent processing if getting or keeping a job or school placement relies on you getting Citizenship. Even in these cases, there is no guarantee your application will be processed more quickly.

If you have already applied for Citizenship and realize you need urgent processing, go to the online webform and submit the form, explaining why you need urgent processing. If you haven’t yet submitted your application, write “Request Urgent Processing – Grant of Citizenship” prominently on your application package when you submit your Canadian Citizenship application.  Be sure to include an explanation in your application package as to why you need urgent processing.

Whether your application is processed regularly or with urgent processing, you will want to start studying for the Canadian Citizenship test right away.

How to Get Canadian Citizenship: After the Application

Once you have submitted your application for Canadian Citizenship and have had your application accepted, you will get a letter telling you when and where your Citizenship test is (if you were between the ages of 18-54 when you applied for citizenship). Your test may be written, or it may be an interview. In either case, you will be tested on your language skills (in either French or English) as well as your knowledge of Canadian politics, civics, government, culture and history. You can re-take the test again if you do not pass it the first time.

Once you have passed the test, or if you were exempt from taking the test, you will receive a notice of when your Citizenship ceremony is. This ceremony will require you to make an oath, which a judge will lead you through. There will generally be others also becoming new citizens with you. If your Citizenship ceremony takes place on Canada Day, the ceremony itself may be public or celebratory. After you have recited the oath, you will be led through the singing of the national anthem and then be asked to sign an Oath or Affirmation of Citizenship. You will be given a Citizenship certificate, which completes the Canadian Citizenship application process.

Would You Like to Apply for Canadian Citizenship?

If you would like to apply to become a Canadian Citizen, Immigration Direct has resources to help you every step of the way. Browse our resources to determine your residency, read our free FAQ and other pages to learn more about the application process. With the latest information presented in an easy-to-understand way, Immigration Direct takes some of the guesswork out of Citizenship and immigration applications.