Canada offers citizenship through naturalization and by birth in Canada.
After a certain period in Canada, you are eligible as a Permanent Resident to apply to become a Canadian Citizen. Citizenship and Immigration Canada now requires you to prove your language proficiency as well as knowledge of Canada in either French or English.
To be eligible to become a Canadian citizen, you must meet all conditions, including:
- Permanent Resident status
Regardless of your age, if you are applying for citizenship, you must have:
- Permanent Resident (PR) status in Canada
- no unfulfilled conditions related to your PR status.
Your PR status must not be in question. This means you must not:
- be under review for immigration or fraud reasons.
- have certain unfulfilled conditions related to your PR status.
- be under a removal order (an order from Canadian officials to leave Canada)
You do not need a valid PR card to apply for citizenship. If you have an expired PR card, you can still apply for citizenship.
- Time you have lived in Canada.
Regardless of your age, you must have been physically present in Canada for at least:
- 1095 days during the five years right before the date you sign your application.
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:
- visitor, student, 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.
- 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.
- Language abilities
If you are 18 to 54 years old, you must submit proof that demonstrates you can speak and listen in English or French.
- How well you know Canada.
If you are 18 to 54 years old, you will need to take a test to meet the knowledge requirement for citizenship.
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: indictable offence in Canada / offence outside Canada.
- have been convicted in the four years before applying for citizenship of an: indictable offence in Canada / offence outside Canada.
Time spent serving a term of imprisonment, on parole, or on probation doesn’t count as time you have lived in Canada.
Permanent Residency card renewals:
If you hold permanent resident status in Canada, you will need to show your permanent residence card anytime you wish to re-enter. To the benefit of Canadian immigrants, there are plenty of ways to get it. For starters, if you are a new permanent resident to Canada, there is no need to apply for a card as one will be sent to you automatically.
Simply provide your Canadian mailing address via mail or the online tool within 180 days of arriving in Canada. If you fail to do this during the 180-day timeline, you will have to pay a $50 processing fee to receive a new card.
You are eligible for a new card, if:
- You’ve lost your card.
- You’ve had it stolen.
- You’ve legally changed your name.
- Your card has or will expire in the next nine months.