Canada is one of the most popular destinations for immigrants who want to live in a safe, prosperous, and multicultural country. If you are one of them, you may be curious about how to become a Canadian citizen and what are the benefits of doing so. In this article, we will answer all your questions about applying for Canadian citizenship, including the eligibility criteria, the application process, the fees, the test, and the oath of citizenship.
Who is Eligible for Canadian Citizenship
To be eligible for Canadian citizenship, you must meet the following requirements :
- You must be a permanent resident of Canada. This means that you have the legal right to stay, work, and study in Canada indefinitely, but you are not a citizen yet. You must not have any outstanding immigration or fraud issues, or any removal orders against you.
- You must have lived in Canada for at least 3 out of the last 5 years (1,095 days) before you apply. This is called the physical presence requirement. You can count some of the time you spent in Canada as a temporary resident or a protected person, as well as some of the time you spent outside Canada if you were a Crown servant or a family member of one.
- You must have filed your taxes in Canada for at least 3 years during the 5 years before you apply, if you are required to. This is to show that you have complied with your obligations as a resident of Canada.
- You must prove your language skills in English or French, if you are between 18 and 54 years old. You must show that you can speak and listen at the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) level 4 or higher. You can do this by providing proof of your education, your work experience, or your results from a recognized language test.
- You must pass a citizenship test, if you are between 18 and 54 years old. The test is based on a study guide that covers various topics about Canada, such as its history, geography, government, laws, rights, and responsibilities. You must answer at least 15 out of 20 multiple-choice questions correctly to pass the test.
- You must take the oath of citizenship, which is the final step to become a Canadian citizen. The oath is a solemn promise to be loyal to Canada and to respect its values and laws. You must attend a citizenship ceremony, where you will recite the oath and receive your citizenship certificate.
There are some exceptions and different requirements for certain groups of people, such as minors (under 18), adopted children, former Canadian citizens, and current or former Canadian Armed Forces members. You can check your eligibility and find out the specific requirements for your situation on the official website of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
How to Apply for Canadian Citizenship?
You can choose to apply for Canadian citizenship online or on paper, depending on your preference and eligibility. Do not apply both ways, as this will delay your application. Here are the steps to apply for Canadian citizenship:
- Get an application package. The package includes the instruction guide and all the forms you need to fill out. Make sure you follow the instructions carefully and complete all the sections of the forms. You also need to collect all the supporting documents that verify your identity, your status, your physical presence, your language skills, and your tax filing. You can find the list of required documents in the instruction guide.
- Pay your fees. The fees include the processing fee and the right of citizenship fee. The total amount depends on whether you are an adult (18 and over) or a minor (under 18). You can pay your fees online using a credit card or a debit card. You need to include the receipt with your application.
- Submit your application. You must sign and date your application form on the same day you submit it. You must also make sure that you are eligible for Canadian citizenship on the day before you sign your application. You can mail or courier your application to the address provided in the instruction guide. If you are submitting more than one application, you can send them together or separately.
After you submit your application, you will receive an acknowledgement of receipt and a confirmation number. You can use this number to check the status of your application online. You will also receive a notice for your citizenship test and interview, and a notice for your citizenship ceremony. You must attend these appointments and bring the required documents with you. The processing time for your application may vary depending on the volume of applications and the complexity of your case.
What are the Benefits of Becoming a Canadian Citizen
Becoming a Canadian citizen has many benefits, such as:
- You can vote in federal, provincial, and municipal elections, and run for office. This gives you a chance to influence the policies and decisions that affect you and your community.
- You can apply for a Canadian passport, which is one of the most powerful passports in the world. It allows you to travel to more than 180 countries without a visa or with a visa on arrival. It also gives you access to the consular services and protection of the Canadian government when you are abroad.
- You can enjoy the full rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, such as the freedom of expression, the freedom of religion, the freedom of association, and the equality rights. You also have the responsibility to respect these rights and freedoms for others.
- You can participate in the cultural and social life of Canada, which is rich and diverse. You can celebrate your heritage and identity, while also embracing the values and traditions of Canada. You can also contribute to the economic and social development of Canada, by working, studying, volunteering, or starting a business.
If you are interested in moving to Canada and becoming a Canadian citizen, you may want to check out this article on how to move abroad to Canada and the visa requirements. It will give you some useful tips and information on how to plan your immigration journey and achieve your dream of living in Canada.