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Canadian citizenship requirements

New Rules for Canadian Citizenship Applications

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has reported that the applications for Canadian citizenship status increased by over 130% in 9 months after rules changed in October 2017. The IRCC stated that the number of people receiving Canadian citizenship is on the rise thanks to revised rules that have made it easier to obtain. The new rules under Bill C-6, Changes to the Citizenship Act, came into effect on October 11, 2017. See more information at New Rules Boosting Canadian Citizenship Applications

Bill C-6 Changes

PREVIOUS RULES NEW RULES
Applicants must be physically present in Canada for four out of six years before applying for citizenship. Applicants must be physically present in Canada for three out of five years before applying for citizenship.
Applicants must file Canadian income taxes, if required to do so under the Income Tax Act, for four out of six years, matching the physical presence requirement. Applicants must file Canadian income taxes, if required to do so under the Income Tax Act, for three out of five years, matching the new physical presence requirement.
Applicants must be physically present in Canada for 183 days in four out of the six years preceding their application. This requirement is completely repealed and no longer in force.
Time spent in Canada prior to becoming a permanent resident did not count towards the physical presence requirement for citizenship. Applicants may count each day they were physically present in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person before becoming a permanent resident as a half-day toward meeting the physical presence requirement for citizenship, up to a maximum credit of 365 days.
Applicants between 14 and 64 years had to meet the language and knowledge requirements for citizenship. Applicants between 18 and 54 years must meet the language and knowledge requirements for citizenship.

Complete Canadian citizenship requirements

Canadian permanent residents with 3 years of qualifying permanent resident status during the preceding 5 years may apply for Canadian citizenship.

Canadian Citizenship Requirements

  • Must be 18 years old or older
  • Must have been physically present in Canada for at least 183 days during any of the three qualifying calendar years that are fully or partially within the five years immediately before you apply
  • Must have filed income taxes for any four taxation years that are fully or partially within the six years immediately before application and other meet any other applicable requirements of the Income Tax Act
  • Must demonstrate intention and plan to reside in Canada. OR must intend to work outside Canada in or with, or accompany certain family members employed in or with the Canadian Armed Forces or the federal public administration or the public service of a province
  • Must meet official language requirements by being able to communicate (speak and understand) in English or French (if you are 65 years of age or older, this does not apply)
  • Must demonstrate sufficient knowledge of Canada and the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship (if you are 65 years of age or older, this does not apply)

Children and Minors under 18 years of age

Children and minors under 18 years of age may apply for citizenship if they are a permanent resident and have a parent who is either a Canadian citizen, or who is applying for citizenship at the same time. They do not need to take the citizenship test.

Ineligible Persons

The following may be ineligible for Canadian citizenship:

  • People under a removal order
  • People with a criminal record or facing criminal changes in Canada
  • People who have been refused Canadian citizenship as a result of misrepresentation
  • People whose Canadian citizenship was previously revoked

Citizenship Application Process and Timelines

Applications are to be sent to the citizenship office in Sydney, Nova Scotia where they are pre-screened to ensure the application is complete and the 4-year residence rule has been met. Within about 12 months from submission, applicants will be required to attend an interview to demonstrate their knowledge of Canada in one of Canada’ Official languages.

Official Language Requirement

Applicants for citizenship between the ages of 14-64 must provide evidence of their knowledge of one of Canada’s official languages on the date their application is submitted. The minimum language abilities to be met are described in the regulations as the capacity to:

  • Take part in short, every-day conversations
  • Understand simple instructions
  • Use basic grammar, simple structures and tenses in oral communication
  • Use vocabulary that is adequate for routine oral communication

Applicants must have English or French speaking and listening abilities that meet the language requirements described above. Written proficiency is not necessary. Evidence of language proficiency must include one of the following:

  • Results of an IRCC approved language test
  • Diploma or transcripts showing secondary or post-secondary education in English or French
  • Results from a government funded language course showing CLB 4 or NCLC 4 or higher

NOTE: If you already took language testing in the process of applying for permanent residence you can use those results as evidence of proficiency, even if they have since expired. Language tests currently approved by IRCC for citizenship application purposes are:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Canadian English Language-Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP)
  • Test d’Évaluation Française (TEF)
  • Test d’Évaluation du Français Adapté au Québec (TEFAQ)

For discussion see IELTS Forum Discussion

Citizenship Application Refusal

If your application for Canadian citizenship is refused, this decision may be appealed to the Federal Court of Canada. The first step in the appeal process involves filing a Notice of Application to the Federal Court within 30 days of receipt of the decision from Citizenship. This timeline is very important.

Canadian citizenship calculator

Check if you are eligible to become a Canadian citizen: Canadian citizenship calculator

 

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