Everything You Need to Know About Becoming a Canadian Citizen
Did you know that after just three years of permanent residency, you can apply for Canadian citizenship? But many immigrants don't know how to become or how long it takes to become a Canadian citizen after getting Canadian permanent residence. In 2022, Canada made 210,000 permanent residents Canadian citizens.
Becoming a Canadian citizen is a dream for many people, and for good reason. Canada is rich in culture and opportunity. Many permanent residents want to stay in Canada for the rest of their lives as citizens, and obtaining Canadian Citizenship can help them pursue that dream.
Canada welcomes foreigners from all over the world to live and work in Canada. The country's strong economy and ample job opportunities make it an attractive choice to anyone who wants to start a new adventure.
Canada aims to welcome 1.23 million immigrants to become permanent residents by 2025 Canada welcomes over 300,000 new immigrants every year and has made the process of becoming a Canadian citizen relatively simple. This is an incredible opportunity for anyone looking to get Canadian citizenship. Every year, this immigration target will increase by 10,000 and you could be one of them.
People from all over the world are gearing towards Canada for several reasons. Its economy is steadily growing, which means plenty of job opportunities and a better future for themselves and their families. Whether you want to enjoy a high quality of life, free public education and universal healthcare, great career opportunities with incredible salaries and work benefits, or simply the sheer beauty, Canada could be the place you’ve been looking for. But what happens next?
There are many benefits you can enjoy when you become a part of the Canadian community. Continue reading to learn more as we take a look at everything you need to know about becoming a Canadian citizen in 2023.
Understanding Canadian Citizenship
Canadian citizenship is a legal status that entails citizens with specific rights, duties, protections, and benefits in Canada. Foreign permanent residents or status Indians over the age of 18 may become Canadian citizens by grant after residing in Canada for more than three years.
Canadian citizenship holds much significance and meaning for a lot of people. For many, Canadian citizenship is a promise of a better life. Canadian citizens have the unrestricted right to enter and remain in the country and cannot be deported. They are eligible to apply for Canadian passports, are required to serve in a jury when summoned, and may enlist in the Canadian Armed Forces.
Navigating the Canadian immigration programs is certainly not simple or easy. Although Canada is one of the easier countries to immigrate to, calling it easy is definitely inaccurate. There are certain strict requirements you must meet to be eligible to immigrate to the country and obtain Canadian citizenship.
Eligibility Criteria for Canadian Citizenship
Furthermore, to become a Canadian citizen, there are a few requirements and criteria you must meet before you can apply.
- Be a permanent resident
- Meet Canada's physical presence requirements
- File your taxes (if necessary)
- Pass a Canadian citizenship test (if you are between the ages of 18-54)
- Prove your language skills (if you are between the ages of 18-54)
Permanent Resident Status
A permanent resident is someone who has been given permanent resident status by immigrating to Canada but is not a Canadian citizen. Permanent residents are citizens of other countries. However, a person in Canada temporarily, like a student or foreign worker, is not a permanent resident. Regardless of your age, if you’re applying for citizenship, you must have permanent resident (PR) status in Canada.
You must have been physically in Canada for at least 1,095 days (3 years) during the 5 years before the date you sign your application. However, this requirement does not apply to minors who are applying along with a parent or who have a Canadian parent. It does apply to minors who neither have a Canadian parent nor are applying with a parent. It is highly recommended by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that you apply with more than 1,095 days of living in Canada in case there’s a problem with the calculation.
Moreover, in your calculation, you may be able to include some of the time you spent in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person before becoming a permanent resident.
Filing Income Tax
You may need to file taxes in Canada for at least 3 years during the 5 years right before the date you apply.
If you’re 18 to 54 years of age on the day you sign your application, you must show that you can speak and listen at a specific level in English or French, which are the official languages in Canada. However, to become a citizen, you need to meet the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) Level 4 or higher. This means you can:
- take part in short, everyday conversations about common topics
- understand simple instructions, questions, and directions
- use basic grammar, including simple structures and tenses
- show you know enough common words and phrases to answer questions and express yourself
Meanwhile, IRCC assesses your language skills in a variety of ways, such as
- review the evidence you submit demonstrating your language skills
- IRCC may take note of how well you communicate with citizenship officials during the application process
- IRCC may assess your language skills during a hearing with a citizenship official, if necessary
Pass a Canadian Citizenship Test
If you’re between 18 to 54 years of age on the day you sign your application, you need to take the citizenship test. The test is 30 minutes long and contains multiple-choice and true or false questions. You can complete the test in English or French. The pass mark is 15 out of 20. You’ll need to answer questions about the rights and responsibilities of Canadians and Canada’s history, geography, economy, government, laws, and symbols.
How to Apply for Canadian Citizenship
You can apply for Canadian citizenship online or on paper. You cannot apply both ways. The best way to submit your application is online; however, you can apply online as long as:
- you meet Canada’s citizenship requirements
- you are 18 years old or older;
- have a valid email address
- only applying for yourself;
- you haven’t included time spent outside of Canada as a Crown servant or family member of a crown servant.
You’ll also need to pay your application fee along with any required documentation, like proof of language test results when submitting your application. Your fees may include the processing fee and the right of citizenship fee. You have to pay your fees online once you are ready to submit your application and also ensure to include the fee receipt with your application.
Oath of Citizenship and Ceremony
This is the final step to becoming a Canadian citizen. Citizenship ceremonies take place across the country and at all times of the year. If you're aged 14 or over, then you must go to the citizenship ceremony and take the oath. Parents will have to get certificates of citizenship for their children under age 14. Children under age 14 don’t have to go but are welcome to.
You must wait to get your citizenship certificate after the ceremony before you can apply for a passport. A valid Canadian passport proves you have the right to enter Canada. Your citizenship certificate is not a travel document.
In conclusion, here are some of the frequently asked questions on Canadian citizenship.
What is the fastest way to get Canadian citizenship?
There are several ways to become a Canadian citizen, some of which are faster than others. However, you can apply for urgent processing under certain circumstances, such as:
- 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
Are there ways to get Canadian citizenship without having permanent resident status?
Foreign nationals become citizens by moving to Canada as permanent residents. Afterward, they can apply for Canadian citizenship once they have lived in Canada for three years. This process is known as "naturalization". However, in some circumstances, you may be able to apply for citizenship without ever having permanent residency (PR) status. This is called a "grant of citizenship."
How long does it take to grant Canadian citizenship?
The average online processing time to grant Canadian citizenship is 27 months. This includes completing your application, taking the citizenship test, as well as the citizenship interview and ceremony. You should receive your citizenship certificate or proof of citizenship within 17 months.
Do I become a Canadian citizen when I marry a Canadian?
Marrying a Canadian citizen does not automatically make you a Canadian citizen. Spouses, partners, and common-law partners don’t have a special application process. You and your partner will need to meet the general citizenship requirements, which include physically being in Canada for a minimum of 1,095 days out of five years immediately before submitting your application.
That's all we have on how to become a Canadian citizen. However, you follow the link below for more detailed information on the application steps.