Canadian Citizenship

The Canadian passport is among the strongest in the world. There are several advantages of being a Canadian Citizen. Becoming a Canadian citizen comes with benefits and advantages those are not generally available to temporary and permanent residents.

Benefits of Canadian Citizenship

Freedom to travel other countries without visa

For the most part, Canadians can travel anywhere in the world without worrying about visa restrictions. Canada recognizes dual citizenship, so if your country of birth also recognizes dual citizenship, then you may find yourself in the privileged position of holding two passports.

Right to vote and run for political office

Canadian citizenship comes with the right to vote in federal and provincial elections. Canadian citizens may play a vital role in influencing federal and provincial politics. Canadian citizens may hold a political office and represent Canadian constituents on issues like taxes, education, and foreign policy.

Not to worry about losing status

Permanent residents must comply with certain residency requirements to maintain the status whereas, Canadians citizens can spend as much time as they like outside of Canada with no immigration and/or Canadian residency requirements and/or consequences. In addition, Canadian citizens will not ordinarily lose citizenship if convicted of a crime, while permanent residents will face deportation if the crime is considered serious enough to merit this consequence.

More job opportunities

Canadian citizens may qualify for certain federal and provincial jobs those require citizenship as well as jobs requiring security clearances. On the other hand, permanent residents may find themselves with employment choices that are limited by their status.

Need not to renew the immigration documentation

Permanent Resident cards are valid only for five years. Permanent Resident (PR) cards are required for international travel and may be requested by employers or other government agencies as a proof of permanent resident status. Therefore, permanent residents are in the unenviable position of needing to file a new application for a Permanent Resident Card and pay a new fee every five years. Canadian citizens have no similar obligation. A Citizenship Certificate is valid for indefinitely and Canadian citizens who wish to travel internationally need only renew their passports every ten years.

Requirements for applying Canadian Citizenship

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is the federal department that manages Canadian citizenship, both for those applying for citizenship and for current Canadian citizens. To be eligible for Canadian citizenship the following requirements must be met:

  • Applicants must have Canadian permanent resident status and have lived in Canada for at least three years (1,095 days) out of the past five years before applying (unless there are exceptional circumstances). Children under 18 must also have permanent resident status, but do not have to satisfy the three-year requirement.
  • Applicants must be able to speak either one or both of Canada’s two official languages (English or French) well enough to communicate in Canadian society. Individuals between the ages of 18 and 54 must submit proof of language proficiency.
  • Applicants cannot have a criminal history considered prohibitive to granting Canadian citizenship (as decided by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, or IRCC).
  • Applicants must be aware the rights and responsibilities of citizens and have a basic knowledge of Canada’s geography, political system, and history.
  • Applicants must submit a formal application to IRCC and pay a government processing fee and a right of citizenship fee.

Once approved, applicants are required to take a citizenship test (for applicants between 18 and 54 only). Successful applicants must then attend a citizenship ceremony where they receive a certificate of Canadian citizenship and officially become new Canadian citizens.

You can use the calculator to find out if you have been physically present in Canada long enough to be eligible for citizenship. If you have, the calculator will tell you that you are eligible to apply. If you have not, it will tell you when you will be eligible to apply. This online calculator is the preferred method to calculate your physical presence in Canada.

Who can not be granted the Canadian Citizenship?

Canadian citizenship will not be granted to applicants who:

  • Do not meet the minimum required residency days in Canada
  • Cannot speak either English or French.
  • Do not pass their citizenship test and/or interview; or
  • Cannot provide the required proof of residency documentation.

There are also multiple legal and criminality issues that may make you ineligible for Canadian citizenship. If any of the following apply to you, you may not qualify for citizenship:

  • You have had your citizenship taken away within the past five years.
  • You have been convicted of a criminal offence in the past three years.
  • You are in prison, on parole or on probation.
  • You are under removal order from Canada.
  • You are under investigation for or have been convicted of a war crime or a crime against humanity.

Processing Time

12 months. Check processing times.

Government Fee

  • Adult,18 years & over ($630.00 CAD)
  • Stateless adult (18 or over) born to Canadian parent ($100.00 CAD)
  • Minor, under 18 years ($100.00 CAD)

Canadian Citizenship FAQ’s

Does Canada allow dual citizenship?

Yes! Canada allows dual (or multiple) citizenship. This means that new Canadian citizens may also retain the citizenship of another country (if that country also allows dual citizenship) while enjoying the rights and privileges of being a Canadian.

What happens if I fail the citizenship test?

Individuals who fail to pass the citizenship test the first time, but who otherwise meet the criteria for obtaining citizenship, will be asked to sit another test around 4-8 weeks after the first test. If the second test also results in failure, IRCC will invite the person to appear for a hearing with a citizenship officer. During this oral hearing, the officer may assess whether this person meets all the requirements for citizenship by testing his/her knowledge of Canada, asking questions about hi/her residency in Canada, and assessing English or French ability.

Do I become a Canadian citizen when I marry a Canadian?

No! You do not automatically become a Canadian citizen if you marry a Canadian citizen. It may be possible for your spouse (the Canadian citizen) to sponsor you to become a permanent resident.

I am Canadian, but my child was born outside Canada. Are they Canadian?

Your child is likely a Canadian citizen if at least 1 parent (legal/biological parent) was born in Canada or became a naturalized Canadian citizen before the child was born.

Can I leave Canada after I mail my citizenship application?

Yes! You can leave Canada after IRCC receives your application. If you need to leave Canada and want to stay eligible for Canadian citizenship, you must:

  • Make sure that you live in Canada long enough to keep your Permanent Resident (PR) status.
  • Not lose PR status before you take the Oath of Citizenship.
  • Bring your PR card with you when you leave Canada so you can return easily.

Do I need to reside in Canada after becoming Canadian Citizen?

No! Naturalized Canadian citizens do not have to intend to reside in Canada upon being naturalized.

Do I need to apply for permanent residency before applying for Canadian Citizenship?

Except for in a few rare cases involving international adoption, all naturalized Canadians must first apply for and obtain Canadian permanent resident status. Canada welcomes newcomers from across the world under its immigration programs, through which individuals and families may become permanent residents.