Who is a Canadian citizen?
A person is a Canadian citizen if he or she:
- Was born in Canada;
- Became a citizen through naturalization;
- Was born outside Canada and one parent was a Canadian citizen at the time of birth, because the parent was either born in Canada or naturalized in Canada;
- Was born outside Canada on or after January 1, 1947, up to and including April 16, 2009 to a Canadian parent who was also born outside Canada to a Canadian parent; or
- Was adopted outside Canada by a Canadian parent on or after January 1, 1947.
For the purposes of this page, we will be dealing with the process of obtaining Canadian citizenship through naturalization.
What are the requirements to become a Canadian citizen?
To become a naturalized citizen of Canada, applicants must:
- have permanent resident status;
- have resided in Canada for at least three years (1,095 days) out of the previous five years*;
- have filed personal income taxes for at least three years within the five-year period, if required under the Income Tax Act;
- demonstrate knowledge of Canada, and knowledge of English or French (if between 18 and 54 years of age, inclusive); and
- not be under a removal order.
What are the advantages of becoming a Canadian citizen?
Canadian citizenship bestows a number of rights. In addition to the rights held by permanent residents of Canada, including the right to live and work in any part of Canada, Canadian citizens may:
- vote in federal, provincial, and municipal elections;
- run for political office;
- leave and re-enter Canada as and when they wish, without needing to accumulate residency days to maintain status in Canada; and
- apply for a Canadian passport, one of the most valuable passports in the world.
In addition, a child born to a Canadian citizen, whether that child is born in Canada or not, is automatically a Canadian citizen. And lastly, citizens don’t need to renew their immigration documentation, as a Canadian citizenship certificate is valid indefinitely.
Do I need to apply for permanent residence 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.
Do I become a Canadian if 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 (see our spousal sponsorship article), after which you may eventually become eligible for citizenship. Alternatively, you may apply for permanent residence by other means (such as through an economic immigration program).
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, the government of Canada 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 or her knowledge of Canada, asking questions about his or her residency in Canada, and assessing English or French ability.
Tatiana Viktorovna Nazarova - International Intermediary Immigration Consultant (IIIC)
Whats App in Canada +1 647 234 9529