Citizenship

A citizen of Canada enjoys a lot more privileges than a permanent residency holder does. If you meet all the requirements for citizenship you can take the citizenship test. Usually, within six months of passing the test you are invited to the oath taking ceremony for the Canadian citizenship pledging their commitment to the responsibilities and privileges of Canadian citizenship.

There are certain rights and privileges which you are entitled to as a Canadian citizen. These rights include right to free thought, speech, practice religion, vote, assemble peacefully, aboriginal people’s rights, mobility rights, equality right and legal rights.

Eligibility

To be eligible for a Canadian citizenship, you need to fulfill certain conditions terms. These eligibility criteria can be categorized as follows:

  • Age: You must be 18 years old or above to apply. If you have a dependent child below 18 years of age, you can apply for their citizenship if they are a permanent resident and eligible to apply for a citizenship. You must  be their biological parent, adoptive parent or legal guardian.
  • Permanent Residency: You must have a valid permanent residency status in Canada to apply for a Canadian citizenship. You must not be involved in any kind of fraud or there must not be any case pending against you in the court of law.  
  • Time lived in Canada: You must have been physically present in Canada as a permanent resident for at least 1,460 days during the six years right before the date you sign your application; and 183 days during each of four calendar years that are fully or partially within the six years right before the date you apply. You can only count the time spent after you became a permanent resident. These requirements do not apply if you are under 18 years of age. Find out if you have lived in Canada enough to apply for citizenship through this online calculator.
  • Language: You need to prove your ability to communicate in either of the two official languages of Canada - English or French. The citizenship office will evaluate your language skills during your citizenship interview. Ability to communicate, understand simple instructions, basic grammar, day-to-day usage etc is what the officer is looking for at the interview.
  • Income Tax: You must have filed for income tax for any income earned during your stay in Canada.  
  • Intent to Reside: While you apply for your citizenship, you must prove your intent to reside in the country in the long run. Once you are granted citizenship, you can enter, remain or leave Canada anytime.
  • Citizenship Test: You have to undergo a test to check your familiarity with Canadian values and culture. The citizenship test usually is combined of questions about Canada’s history, values, institutions, symbols, rights, responsibilities and privileges etc. you can read about all that in the study guide - Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship.
  • Prohibition: You must not be inadmissible, or undergoing trial in our outside Canada, you might not be eligible to apply for citizenship until you are rehabilitated.

If you have served in the Canadian armed forces, you are eligible to apply under a fast-track citizenship process.

Citizenship rights comes with some general responsibilities. You as a Canadian citizen, are expected to follow them and carry out peaceful living:

  • Obeying the law
  • Taking responsibility for oneself and one’s family
  • Serving on a jury
  • Voting in elections
  • Helping others in the community
  • Protecting and enjoying Canada’s heritage and environment