Canadian citizenship is the finish line at the end of a long journey to many immigrants. This handy guide will teach you through a step-by-step Canadian Citizenship process.
- 1. What are the benefits of becoming a Canadian citizen?
- 2. What are the requirements to apply for Canadian citizenship?
- 3. How to apply for Canadian citizenship?
- 4. Physical Presence Calculation
- 5. Canada citizenship application processing time
- 6. Canadian citizenship application fees
- 7. How to Demonstrate Proficiency in English or French for Canadian Citizenship Application?
- 8. How to get Canadian citizenship if your parent is a Canadian
- 9. How to check Canada citizenship application status?
- 10. Frequent asked questions regarding Canada citizenship application 2023
- Does a permanent resident have to apply for Canadian citizenship as soon as he or she if eligible?
- Will time spent in Canada before becoming a PR counts towards a citizenship application?
- Will time spent absent from Canada be counted towards a citizenship application?
- Are Canadian citizens required to pay Canadian income tax on their worldwide income?
- If citizenship is revoked, how can a new Canadian citizenship be obtained?
- Do children born in Canada gain citizenship automatically?
- How can children under 18 become Canadian citizens?
1. What are the benefits of becoming a Canadian citizen?
There are a number of good reasons to get Canadian citizenship.
1.1 No need to renew status
Most permanent resident (PR) cards are valid for just five years. In that time, once you are qualified and become a Canadian citizen, there is no need to renew your citizenship status.
Permanent residents can also be deported if they are convicted of a serious crime. However, your Canadian citizenship certificates are valid indefinitely, as well as citizenship cannot be revoked for any crime committed after naturalization.
1.2 Travel worldwide with Canadian passport
People with Canadian citizenship status are able to visit most countries in the world without a visa for certain purposes, such as the US, UK, and most of European countries.
Meanwhile, the Canadian passport currently ranks on the 5th place according to the Guide Passport Ranking Index 2022. It provides visa-free access to 105 countries. With a high mobility score, as a result, it is one of the most desirable passports in the world.
Most importantly, a Canadian passport holder has the constitutionally protected right to enter, remain in, and leave Canada.
1.3 The right to vote and run for federal Parliament
Canadian citizens can vote in in federal, provincial, and municipal Canadian elections, run for office and become involved in political activities.
1.4 Be eligible for more jobs
Some jobs require high-level security clearance, which only Canadian citizens can apply for. In other words, this includes some jobs at the federal level which tend to pay well and have many benefits.
1.5 Can transmit citizenship to descendants
In general, if your children are born in Canada, they automatically become Canadian citizens.
As a Canadian citizen, you can transmit your citizenship to your descendants, which means that you can also automatically transmit your citizenship to your children born outside Canada.
1.6 Dual citizenship
Because Canada accepts dual citizenship, you are allowed to become a Canadian citizen, while retaining your other citizenship.
2. What are the requirements to apply for Canadian citizenship?
To become a Canadian citizen, most applicants must:
- be a permanent resident
- have lived in Canada for at least 3 out of the last 5 years (1,095 days)
- have filed their taxes
- pass a citizenship test
- prove their language skills in English or French
Depending on your situation, there may be additional requirements.
You might not be eligible if any of the following applies:
- be under review for immigration or fraud reasons
- be asked by Canadian officials to leave Canada (removal order)
- have unfulfilled conditions related to your PR status, for example: medical screening
Therefore, before proceeding your Canadian citizenship application, you should review the documents you received when you became a permanent resident to make sure you’re eligible.
Also, you don’t need a valid PR card to apply for citizenship. You can apply with an expired PR card.
3. How to apply for Canadian citizenship?
There are 2 ways:
- Apply online
- Apply on paper
You need to choose the online or paper application. However, do not apply both ways.
3.1 Apply Canadian citizenship online
You can apply Canadian citizenship online if:
- you’re eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship
- you have a valid email address
- you’re at least 18 years of age when you submit your online application
- you’re applying for yourself only (not with your family)
- in your physical presence calculation, you do not include time spent outside Canada as a:
- crown servant, or
- family member of a crown servant
If you don’t meet the criteria above, you can only apply on paper at this time.
Access your online application, use your email address to sign in: https://citapply-citdemande.apps.cic.gc.ca/en/sign-in
3.2 Apply Canadian citizenship on paper
Firstly, get an application package for your situation:
- Adult (age 18 or older)
- Parent or guardian applying for a minor (under age 18)
- Minor without a Canadian parent applying alone
- Adult who served with the Canadian Armed Forces
- Adoption by a Canadian citizen
- Stateless person born to a Canadian parent
Secondly, you should follow the instruction guide and fill out all the Canada citizenship application forms.
Thirdly, pay the Canada citizenship application fees. Depending on whether you’re an adult or minor, the fees will be different. The fees may include:
- the processing fee
- the right of citizenship fee
Pay all the fees if you are submitting with your family member at the same time.
You have to pay your fees online and keep the receipt to submit your application.
Finally, submit the application
You have to sign and date the application form. Send your completed application form and all required documents by mail or courier.
If you have more than one application (apply with your family members), you should put all applications in the same envelop.
Address for regular mail
Case Processing Centre—Sydney
P.O. Box 7000
Sydney, Nova Scotia B1P 6V6
Address for courier mail
Case Processing Centre—Sydney
47–49 Dorchester Street
Sydney, Nova Scotia B1P 5Z2
Apply for citizenship urgently
You can apply for urgent processing if you are:
- needing Canadian citizenship to:
- apply for a job
- avoid losing your job
- go to a Canadian school, college or university
- needing to travel because of death or serious illness in your family and you can’t get a passport in your current nationality
- receiving a successful Federal Court decision on an appeal on a previous application for citizenship
If you have not sent you application: Write an explanation of why you need urgent processing and include any documents that will support your explanation.
If you sent your application: submit a webform (online) to explain why you need urgent processing and include any documents that will support your explanation.
4. Physical Presence Calculation
- You must have been physically in Canada for at least 1,095 days (3 years) during the 5 years immediately before the date of your citizenship application;
- only the five (5) years immediately before the date of your application are taken into account;
- each day you were physically present in Canada as an authorized temporary resident or protected person before you became a permanent resident counts as half a day (up to a maximum of 365 days);
- each day you were physically present in Canada after you became a permanent resident counts as one day;
- time spent serving a sentence for an offence in Canada (for instance: serving a term of imprisonment, probation and/or parole) cannot be counted towards your physical presence.
5. Canada citizenship application processing time
The processing time of a citizenship application currently is: 24 months.
Due to COVID-19, it’s taking longer to send out acknowledgement of receipt (AOR) letters or emails.
You’ll get an AOR after your application is sent to IRCC and checked that it’s complete.
6. Canadian citizenship application fees
- It costs CAD$630 for an adult (the processing fee: $530.00 + the right of citizenship fee: $100.00)
- It costs CAD$100.00 for a minor (under the age of 18)
Your application will be returned if your fees are not paid or are insufficient. If your fees are overpaid, your application will be processed and the IRCC will send you a refund as soon as possible.
7. How to Demonstrate Proficiency in English or French for Canadian Citizenship Application?
You need to reach level 4 for speaking and listening in English or French or higher to apply for citizenship.
The following documents are accepted, including:
- the results of an IRCC – approved third-party test (for example: CELPIP, IELTS, TEF…)
- proof from certain government-funded language training programs (for example: LINC…)
- proof of completion of secondary or post-secondary education in English or French, in Canada or abroad
8. How to get Canadian citizenship if your parent is a Canadian
You are likely a Canadian citizen if at least one of your parents (legal parent at birth: The biological or non-biological parent listed on the original birth certificate or birth record of a child):
- Was born in Canada, or
- Become a naturalized Canadian citizen before the child was born
That is to say, applying for proof of Canadian citizenship is the formal way to find out if you’re a citizen.
Application fees to apply for proof of Canadian citizenship: $75.00
The current processing time of an application for proof of Canadian citizenship: 17 months (applications outside Canada and the United States may take longer).
There are 2 ways to apply for a Canadian citizenship certificate:
You will answer some question to clarify your case before proceeding to your application.
Get the application package, fill out the forms, collect all required documents.
Translate you documents if they aren’t in English or French.
Pay the application fee online
Submit the application
9. How to check Canada citizenship application status?
You can only check your application status after you’ve received an acknowledgement of receipt (AOR) letter or email.
You can go directly to the website: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/application/check-status.html, answer some questions to clarify your case.
After that, use citizenship application tracker tool to check the status of your citizenship grant application.
- Create your own account only after you receive your AOR email or letter: https://cst-ssc.apps.cic.gc.ca/en/register
- Sign in your account to see:
- The overall application status
- Your next steps
- Details of your application status
- Your application history
10. Frequent asked questions regarding Canada citizenship application 2023
Does a permanent resident have to apply for Canadian citizenship as soon as he or she if eligible?
No, there is no obligation to apply for Canadian citizenship at any time.
Will time spent in Canada before becoming a PR counts towards a citizenship application?
Canadian law dictates that applicants must be physically present in Canada as a permanent resident for 1,095 days within the five (5) years immediately before applying for citizenship.
Consequently, only the five years preceding the date of the application are taken into account. To clarify, within that five-year period:
- Every day spent in Canada as a permanent resident counts as a full day.
- Every day spent in Canada before becoming a permanent resident as a temporary resident or protected person counts as a half-day towards meeting the physical presence requirement for citizenship, up to a maximum credit of 365 days.
- If the applicant became a permanent resident less than five years ago, the calculation period starts on the date that he or she became a permanent resident.
- Time spent serving a sentence in Canada does not count towards the physical presence requirement (for instance: time spent in a prison, penitentiary, jail, reformatory, probation and/or on parole cannot be counted as physical presence).
Will time spent absent from Canada be counted towards a citizenship application?
Unless there are exceptional circumstances, time spent outside of Canada will not be counted towards the calculation of the 1,095 days required to qualify for Canadian citizenship.
Are Canadian citizens required to pay Canadian income tax on their worldwide income?
Not in all cases. As a general rule, only citizens residing in Canada are required to pay Canadian income tax on worldwide income. Therefore, it is always best to consult with a specialist in Canadian taxation for specific advice regarding any and all Canadian taxation matters.
If citizenship is revoked, how can a new Canadian citizenship be obtained?
Depending on when and for what reason citizenship was revoked, it may be possible to re-apply for Canadian citizenship. For complicated citizenship problems like these, it is best to have a consultation.
Do children born in Canada gain citizenship automatically?
Yes. Children born in Canada are Canadian citizens regardless of the status of their parents (for example: a parent does not have to be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident in order for his or her Canadian-born child to be a citizen).
How can children under 18 become Canadian citizens?
A child must be a permanent resident of Canada to become a citizen. The physical presence requirement of 1,095 days does not apply to children under the age of 18. In order to apply for citizenship for a child under the age of 18, one of the child’s parents must already be a Canadian citizen, or must apply for citizenship at the same time. This applies to adoptive children as well.