Obtaining Canadian Citizenship

Obtaining Canadian citizenship is the final step for those wishing to become full members of Canadian society. Citizenship grants certain rights and responsibilities, such as the ability to vote in elections, obtain a Canadian passport, and live in Canada indefinitely without risk of deportation.

To become a Canadian citizen, specific legal requirements must be met, and the process involves several stages.
Eligibility Criteria for Canadian Citizenship

Permanent Resident Status

  • Before applying for Canadian citizenship, you must first be a permanent resident in Canada.
  • You must not be under investigation for fraud or immigration-related matters, subject to a removal order, or have unfulfilled conditions related to your status.
  • A valid permanent resident card is not required to submit the application.

Time Resided in Canada (Physical Presence)

  • Adults (and certain minors) must have been physically present in Canada for at least 1,095 days (3 years) within the 5 years preceding their application.
  • It is recommended to apply after living in Canada for more than 1,095 days (3 years).
  • Applicants must also demonstrate their intention to reside in Canada after obtaining citizenship. This means planning to make Canada their primary residence and not intending to permanently reside elsewhere.

Filing Tax Returns

  • You may be required to file tax returns for at least 3 years within the 5 years preceding your application.

Language Proficiency

  • Applicants aged 18 to 54 must demonstrate French or English language skills equivalent to level 4 of the Canadian language benchmarks.
  • Skills are assessed through provided evidence, interactions during the application process, and the citizenship exam described in the next section.

Passing a Citizenship Exam

  • Applicants aged 18 to 54 must pass a citizenship knowledge exam. This exam covers the rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizens, as well as Canada's history, geography, economy, government, laws, and symbols.
  • The exam lasts 45 minutes and consists of 20 questions. Some questions are multiple-choice, while others are true or false.
  • The passing score is 15 out of 20.
  • The exam can be taken in French or English.
  • You have a maximum of 3 opportunities to pass the exam. If you fail the exam 3 times, you will be interviewed by a citizenship officer. During the interview, you will be asked questions similar to those on the citizenship exam:
    • If you pass the interview, your citizenship application will continue to be processed.
    • If you fail the interview, your application will be rejected. You will need to submit a new application and pay the fees again if you wish to obtain citizenship.

Taking the Citizenship Oath

  • You must take the citizenship oath if you are at least 14 years old at the time of application and it is approved.
  • This is the final step before obtaining Canadian citizenship.


You may be subject to a period of prohibition from Canadian citizenship if you have been convicted of a crime in Canada or abroad. Time spent in prison, on parole, or on probation is not considered residence time in Canada. Other situations may prevent you from becoming a Canadian citizen. This will be the case if you are in any of the following situations:

  • You are in prison, on parole, or on probation in Canada, or serving a sentence abroad;
  • You are subject to a removal order from Canada (e.g., facing deportation);
  • You have been involved in a false declaration on a citizenship application in the past 5 years; or
  • Your Canadian citizenship has been revoked for fraud in the past 10 years.

It is important to note that individuals with criminal records may be ineligible for Canadian citizenship or may need to demonstrate rehabilitation before their application is approved.


Application Process

Once applicants meet the legal requirements for Canadian citizenship, they can submit a citizenship application by sending their application package to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The application package typically includes completed forms, supporting documents (such as proof of residence), language test results, and any applicable fees.

Upon receiving the application, IRCC will review it to ensure all requirements have been met. This may involve verifying that all questions on the forms have been answered, all required documents have been submitted, and any applicable fees have been paid. This stage may also involve background checks, interviews, and requests for additional documentation. It generally takes around 14 months from the time IRCC receives your properly completed application until a decision is made.

If the application is approved, applicants will be invited to attend a citizenship ceremony where they will take the citizenship oath, officially becoming Canadian citizens. They will then receive a citizenship certificate as proof of their citizenship status.

After obtaining this certificate, the new Canadian citizens will be able to apply for a Canadian passport. They will also have the right and responsibility to vote.


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