A Guide To Canadian Citizenship Requirements And Who Can Apply

You’ve seen the home channels showcasing the best of Canadian suburbia, drooled over the posts documenting the country’s vibrant foodie culture, and read the reports of all the promising job opportunities available in the Great White North in recent months. If that isn’t an indication that Canada is calling, we don’t know what is! With the Canadian government’s goal of welcoming 1.23 million immigrants as permanent residents by 2023, there’s never been a better time to start your journey to becoming a Canuck. So, let’s go over all of the Canadian Citizenship requirements and get you on your way to frolicking in the maple leaves, shall we ?

What Do I Have To Do To Be Eligible For Canadian Citizenship?

In order to qualify for Canadian citizenship, you will have to meet the requirements set by the Government of Canada. You have to:

  • Have Canadian permanent resident status
  • Have lived in the country for at least three years out of a five-year period
  • Take and pass a test for citizenship
  • Demonstrate proficiency in English and/or French

It is important to note that the following situations will necessitate additional Canadian citizenship requirements:

  • If you apply for someone under the age of 18
  • If you’re a Canadian citizen wanting to apply for citizenship for a child you’re adopting from another country
  • If you are or have been in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and apply via a set fast-track process
  • If you’re a former citizen of Canada and would like to become one again

What If I’m A Spouse Of A Canadian Citizen?

Being married to a Canadian citizen does not automatically grant you citizenship. You must meet all of the same requirements as everyone else who wishes to apply.

What About Children And Grandchildren Of Canadian Citizens?

If you have a Canadian parent or grandparent, you are likely to be a Canadian citizen as well. If you were born outside of Canada to one or both parents who were born in Canada or became citizens before you were born.

Canadian Citizenship Requirements Explained

Let’s take a look at the Canadian citizen requirements below.

Permanent Resident Status

If you want to become a citizen of the Great White North, you must have obtained Canadian permanent residency regardless of your age. However, keep in mind that your application for Canadian citizenship will be scrutinized in a number of ways.

Your application could be rejected if you:

  • Are being investigated or are found guilty of immigration, fraud or other criminal offenses
  • Are out on parole, probation, or currently incarcerated
  • Have at any point been ordered to exit Canada via a removal order
  • Have not met the requirements for permanent residency
  • Have not adhered to the terms and conditions of your permanent residency

Time Spent Living In Canada (physical presence)

This refers to the amount of time spent physically in Canada. It is recommended that you apply for Canadian citizenship only after spending more than 1,095 days in the country. This also applies to minors. Extra days spent up north will work in your favor.

Top Tip: Keep a travel log book to track your time spent outside of Canada. This will help you keep track of your time in the country.

Language Requirements

There are two official languages in Canada: English and French. Adults between the ages of 18 and 54 will be required to demonstrate proficiency in one or both of these languages. Your language skills will be tested using the following methods:

  • Checking the proof you submitted with your application package
  • Observing the manner in which you engage with citizenship officials during your application process
  • Examining your level of proficiency in a session with a relevant official

You must meet the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) Level four or higher to be eligible for Canadian citizenship. Being able to do so demonstrates your ability to:

  • Communicate effectively, when it comes to day-to-day engagement
  • Follow basic instructions, questions as well as directions
  • Communicate using at least a basic level of grammar and construct simple sentences
  • Have a basic vocabulary

The Canadian Citizenship Test

If you are 18 or older, you must take a Canadian citizenship test, just like the language tests. The exam will be given in either French or English. It is 30 minutes long and consists of 20 multiple-choice questions. To pass, you must get 15 of them right. You must be familiar with the following:

  • Canadian history
  • Canadian geography
  • The economic climate in Canada
  • The government of Canada
  • Canadian regulations and laws
  • Relevant Canadian signs, symbols, etc

Canadian Income Tax In Canada

Before applying for Canadian citizenship, you may be required to file tax returns in Canada for at least three of the last five years. Find out if you need to file tax returns, and if you do, make sure you know which income tax package to use, how to submit your tax returns, and by when.

You should submit a tax return if you:

  • Are eligible to pay taxes for the 12 month period
  • Need a tax refund
  • Require tax breaks or benefits

Now That You’ve Ticked All The Boxes

Your decision to apply for Canadian citizenship is most likely the best one you’ll ever make. While the application process can be intimidating and filled with complicated paperwork, once you know what to expect and have done thorough research on all of the requirements, you’ll find that things go smoothly. Because the application process can take up to a year, you must make every effort to submit a complete application package. Remember that the effort will be worthwhile, so put in the time and effort to reap the benefits of obtaining Canadian citizenship.

Ready To Start your Journey?

Our team of Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) will walk you through every step of the Canadian Citizenship application process. Don’t wait another day with so many opportunities in Canada. Apply for citizenship in Canada today!


Do I Need To Be In Possession Of A Valid PR Card To Be Able To Apply For Canadian Citizenship?

No, you will not need a valid PR card to apply for Canadian citizenship. You may submit an application with an expired one.

What If I’ve Committed A Criminal Offense In Another Country?

If you have been convicted of a crime outside of Canada, you may be barred from obtaining citizenship for a set period of time.

What Happens If My Application Is Found To Be Incomplete?

If officials determine that your application is complete, it will be returned to you along with a letter describing what is missing and how to correct it. The letter may identify any missing paperwork or fees and notify you if a new set of paperwork is required.

What Happens If I Fail My Canada Citizenship Test?

If your first attempt at the Canadian citizenship test fails, you will be able to retake it in four to eight weeks. the examination four to eight weeks later If this occurs a second time, you may be required to attend an interview with a citizenship official.

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