Canadian citizenship application
Before you rush to submit a Canadian citizenship application it is crucial that you understand and meet all the requirements for becoming a Canadian citizen. Not knowing the full requirements is like filling out your Canadian citizenship application blind-folded.
To be eligible to become a Canadian citizen, you must:
- be a permanent resident
- have lived in Canada for 3 out of the last 5 years
- have filed your taxes, if you need to
- show how well you know Canada
- prove your language skills
You may pre-qualify for a Canada immigration program.
If you’ve served in or with the Canadian Armed Forces, you may be able to apply through a faster process.
Canadian Permanent Resident status
Regardless of your age, if you’re applying for citizenship, you must have Permanent Resident (PR) status in Canada. This means you meet all conditions for a PR and must not be:
- under review for immigration or fraud reasons
- asked to leave Canada (removal order)
You don’t need a valid PR card to apply for citizenship. You can still apply with an expired PR card.
Time you have lived in Canada
Adults and some minors must have been physically present in Canada for at least 1095 days during the five years right before the date you sign your application.
We encourage you to apply with more than 1095 days of physical presence to have extra days in case there is a problem with the calculation.
Use a travel journal to help record your trips outside Canada. It will help you calculate your physical presence in Canada.
Using time as a temporary resident or protected person
You may be able to use some of your time spent in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person towards your physical presence calculation.
Each day spent physically in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person before becoming a permanent resident within the last 5 years will count as one half day, with a maximum of 365 days, towards your physical presence.
Temporary resident status includes lawful authorization to enter or remain in Canada as a:
- worker or
- temporary resident permit holder
A protected person is someone who:
- was found to be in need of protection or a convention refugee by the Immigration and Refugee Board or
- received a positive decision on a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
Note: If you made a refugee claim, or were included on a family member’s refugee claim, you will not be credited time in Canada from the date of the refugee claim until you have received a positive decision confirming that you are a protected person as described above.
Using time outside Canada as a Crown servant or family member of a Crown servant
You may be eligible to apply even if you don’t meet the minimum time lived in Canada if you’re a:
- Crown servant (certain categories of public officials)
- family member of a Crown servant
Income tax filing
Regardless of your age, if required under the Income Tax Act, you must meet your personal income tax filing obligations in three tax years that are fully or partially within the five years right before the date you apply.
Canada has two official languages: English and French. 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 one of these languages.
The ways we measure your language skills in English or French include:
- reviewing the proof you send with your application
- noting how well you communicate when you talk to a citizenship official anytime during the process
- assessing your language level during a hearing with a citizenship official, if necessary
To become a citizen, we need you 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
We accept various certificates, diplomas and tests as proof of your language skills. Find out if we’ll accept your certificate, diploma or test results as proof
Canadian citizenship test – How well you know Canada
If you’re 18 to 54 years of age on the day you sign your application, you need to take the Canadian citizenship test. You’ll need to answer questions about the rights and responsibilities of Canadians and Canada’s:
The test is:
- in English or French
- 30 minutes long
- 20 questions (pass mark: 15 correct answers)
- multiple-choice and true or false questions
- based on the official citizenship study guide: Discover Canada
- usually written, but may be oral
Learn more about the Canadian citizenship test.
If you have committed a crime in or outside Canada, you may not be eligible to become a Canadian citizen for a period of time. This includes if you:
- are serving a sentence outside Canada
- are serving a term of imprisonment, on parole or on probation in Canada
- are charged with, on trial for, or involved in an appeal of an:
- have been convicted in the four years before applying for citizenship of an:
Time spent serving a term of imprisonment, on parole, or on probation doesn’t count as time you have lived in Canada.
Read more about situations that may prevent you from becoming a Canadian citizen.
Canadian citizenship status – Check your eligibility
Answer some questions to help you find out if you’re ready to apply for citizenship. These questions are for adults (age 18 and over) who want to apply for citizenship. Minors (under age 18) have some different requirements.
Click your Check your eligibility NOW
Top questions about Canadian citizenship
- What are the requirements for becoming a Canadian citizen?
- I already have a citizenship application in process. How will the 2017 changes to the citizenship legislation affect my application?
- Do I become a Canadian when I marry a Canadian?
- How much does it cost to apply for Canadian citizenship?
- I am a citizen of another country. Will I lose that citizenship if I become a Canadian?
Other Canadian citizenship application assistance
Canadian citizenship application form
- Find out if you’re eligible
- Check Canadian citizenship processing times
- After you apply
- Prepare for the citizenship test
- Prepare for the citizenship ceremony
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.|
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