For many people, Canadian citizenship is extremely meaningful and important. For many, Canadian citizenship represents a chance for a better life.
This year, Canada will celebrate Citizenship Week from May 23 to May 29. The Canadian Citizenship Act came into place on January 1, 1947, under Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King’s administration. The Citizenship Act has been updated since then to reflect Canada’s principles as a multicultural nation. The pandemic further pushed innovation in Canadian citizenship by introducing virtual citizenship ceremonies.
Immigration Minister Sean Fraser spoke on some of the improvements to the Citizenship Act that are aimed at making Canada more welcoming.
How to Apply for Citizenship in Canada
Obtain permanent residency
if you have already completed this step. Otherwise, check to see whether you are qualified for one of Canada’s more than 100 immigration programmes.
Comply with the residence requirement
You must have lived in Canada for at least 1,095 days (three years) in the five years before the day you apply for citizenship. To prevent calculating issues, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recommends that you apply with more than 1,095 days of residence in Canada.
If you were a temporary resident in Canada, you may be eligible to apply that period toward your residence requirement as well. When calculating your physical presence, each day you spent in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person in the previous five years counts as a half-day. You can include up to 365 days as a temporary resident or protected person in your physical presence calculation with IRCC Official website.
Visitors, students, employees, and temporary residence permit holders are all examples of temporary residents. Protected individuals are those who were determined by the Immigration and Refugee Board to be in need of protection or a convention refugee, or who got a favourable result on an IRCC Pre-Removal Risk Assessment.
Time spent outside of Canada, in general, does not count towards your physical presence requirements, although there are certain exceptions. Permanent residents who work in the United States, for example, may be eligible to credit days spent in the United States toward their physical presence requirement if they reside in Canada and return to Canada for at least part of the day.
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Fill up your tax forms
You may be required to submit taxation in Canada for at least three years prior to applying for citizenship.
Even if you only spent a portion of the year in Canada, you may be required to submit an income tax return if you:
- Taxes for the year must be paid
- Want to get a refund?
- Interested in receiving benefits and credit payments
Pass the citizenship test in Canada
On the day of their Canadian citizenship application, those aged 18 to 54 must take a citizenship exam. Participants are tested on their knowledge of Canadian rights and duties, as well as Canada’s history, geography, economy, government, laws, and symbols. The test lasts 30 minutes, is available in English or French, and includes multiple-choice and true/false questions. A mark of 15 out of 20 is required to pass.
Demonstrate your language abilities.
Those between the ages of 18 and 54 must additionally demonstrate their ability to communicate in English or French by attaining a Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) level of 4 or above in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. IRCC evaluates your language skills in a variety of methods, including:
- Examining the evidence you provide with your application
- Keeping a record of how successfully you connect with immigration authorities during the application process
- If required, assessing your language abilities during a hearing with a citizenship authority.
Proof of language ability can include your educational certification or transcript in English or French (IRCC accepts certified translations), or documentation that you completed a secondary or post-secondary educational programme in English or French, whether overseas or inside Canada. It might also be the results of the language exam you took as part of your application for Canadian permanent residency.
Obtain Canadian citizenship
More than 85% of Canadian immigrants gain citizenship. An immigration lawyer can assist you with the Canadian citizenship application procedure.