Who Can Apply for Canadian Citizenship - Immigration Law Firm

Bahar's Blog about Immigration to Canada & USA

Bahar's Blog about Immigration to Canada & USA
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Who Can Apply for Canadian Citizenship

Who Can Apply for Canadian Citizenship

Do you Desire to become a Canadian Citizen?

Has it been a dream of yours to finally become a Canadian citizen after many years of being a permanent resident? This can be possible with the Canadian citizenship application. To become a Canadian citizen is not an easy process but we will let you know the requirements and restrictions for citizenship.

Who may apply for Canadian Citizenship?

In order to become a Canadian citizen, you are required to meet the following conditions:

  • Age

  • Permanent Resident Status

  • Time you have lived in Canada (residence)

  • Income tax filing

  • Intent to reside in Canada

  • Language skills

  • How well you know Canada and

  • Prohibitions

Please note that if you have served in or with the Canadian Armed Forces, you might be able to apply through a fast-track process. This is determined based on how long you served our country, instead of how long you lived in Canada. Furthermore, foreign military members do not need to be a permanent resident of Canada.

In order for you to better understand what the conditions require of you, I will outline the specific requirements for each condition.


You must be at least 18 years old to apply to become a citizen of Canada.

However, in order to apply for citizenship for a child that is under 18:

  • You must be the child’s parent, adoptive parent or legal guardian,

  • The child must be a permanent resident, and

  • One parent must be a Canadian citizen or apply to become a citizen at the same time

Permanent Resident Status

You must have permanent resident (PR) status in Canada, have no unfulfilled conditions related to that status, and your PR status must not be in question.

What this means is, you must not:

  • Be under review for immigration or fraud reasons, or

  • Be under a removal order (an order from Canadian officials to leave Canada), or

  • Have certain unfulfilled conditions related to your PR status

You do not need to have a PR card to apply for citizenship, but you do need to be a permanent resident. If you have a PR card that is expired, you can still apply for citizenship.

Time you Lived in Canada

You must prove that you have lived in Canada and have been:

  • Physically in Canada as a permanent resident for at least 1460 days (4 years) during the 6 years immediately before the date of your application.

  • Physically present for at least 183 days during each of the 4 calendar years that are fully or partially within the 6 years immediately before the date of application.

Please note that these requirements do not apply to children under 18 years old.

Also, to better help you calculate how long you have lived in Canada, you can only count the time spent after you became a permanent resident of Canada.

Income Tax Filing

You must have met your personal income tiling obligations in 4 taxation years that are fully or partially within the 6 years immediately before the date you apply.

Intent to Reside in Canada

You must declare that your intent is to reside in Canada during the citizenship application process.

In order to become a citizen, you must indicate your intention to live in Canada. Then once you become a Canadian citizen, you have the right to enter, remain in, or leave Canada, as this is one of the basic rights of citizenship as a Canadian.

Language Abilities

In Canada, there are 2 official languages; they are English and French. To become a citizen in Canada, you must prove that you have adequate knowledge of, at least, one of these languages.

What this means is you are able to:

  • Take part in short, everyday conversations about common topics,

  • Understand simple instructions, questions and directions,

  • Use basic grammar, including simple structures and tenses, and

  • Show that you know enough common words and phrases to answer questions and express yourself.

Specifically, if you are between the ages of 14 and 64 years of age, you must provide proper documentation with your citizenship application that proves you can speak and listen in English or French at this level. During your interview, at the end of the application process, the immigration officer will note how well you communicate in one or both of these languages.

How Well you Know Canada

You must understand the rights, responsibilities, and privileges of citizenship in Canada, such as voting in elections and obeying the law.

You must also prove, in English or French, that you understand Canada’s:

  • History

  • Values

  • Institutions, and

  • Symbols

Specifically, if you are between the ages of 14 and 64 years of age, you must take a Canadian citizenship test to prove that you have adequate knowledge of Canada and the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship. This test is usually a written test, but it is also sometimes taken orally with an immigration officer. The discretion to issue one or the other is up to the immigration officer.


Depending if you have committed a crime in or outside of Canada, you may not be eligible to become a Canadian citizen for a period of time.

For instance, if you:

  • Are in prison, on parole, or on probation in Canada, or are serving a sentence outside of Canada

  • Have been convicted of an indictable offence in Canada or an offence outside Canada in the 4 years before applying for citizenship

  • Are charged with, on trial for, or involved in an appeal of an indictable offence in Canada, or an offence outside of Canada.

Please note that the time spent in prison or on parole does not count as time you lived in Canada. Also, time spent on parole also does not count if you were convicted of a crime.

Need of Urgent Citizenship

If you feel as though your certain circumstance entails for an urgent need of citizenship, it is important to know that the Canadian government only processes these types of applications in special circumstances and cases. Every urgent request will be analyzed and checked to see if it meets the required conditions for urgent processing. If an urgent application does not meet the required conditions, then it will be processed normally.

In order to apply for urgent processing, you must meet all 3 of these conditions:

  1. You must be eligible to apply for citizenship.

  2. You must have been a permanent resident living in Canada and have been in Canada for the required number of days (the residence requirement) before you submit your application.

  3. There must be some emergency that requires you to become a citizen quickly.

Some instances where the government may process an application for citizenship urgently are:

  • You are unable to apply for a job or could lose your job because you are not a Canadian citizen.

  • You cannot go to a Canadian school, college or university because you are not a Canadian citizen.

  • You need to travel because of death or serious illness in the family and cannot get a passport in your current nationality.

  • You received a decision on a previous application for citizenship that you successfully appealed to the Federal Court.

Non-Routine Application for Citizenship

There are some applications that do not abide by the normal application process.

Your application may be considered non-routine if:

  • You failed a test, or

  • You did not meet the language requirements during your interview.


The following will be questions you may ask with regards to eligibility of Canadian citizenship. We have included these here in order for you to better understand how applying for Canadian citizenship works and to resolve any confusion that you may have.

Do I automatically become a Canadian citizen when I marry a Canadian?

Unfortunately, no, it does not. When you become married to a Canadian citizen, you do not become a citizen. If you’d like to become a Canadian citizen, you must abide by the conditions listed above, just like everyone else. Therefore, there is not a special or different process for spouses of Canadian citizens.

If I am a citizen of another country, will I lose that citizenship when I become a Canadian citizen?

That may be a possibility. Under Canadian law, a Canadian can technically be a citizen of another country as well. Some other countries, however, will not allow you to keep their citizenship if you become a Canadian citizen. The consulate or embassy from that other country can inform you whether this applies to you.

Am I able to leave Canada after I submit my citizenship application?

Yes, you are entitled to leave Canada at any point in time. There is no specific requirement to stay in Canada while the government processes your application. However, keep in mind, if you need to leave Canada, there are several risks you should be aware of.

  1. If you leave Canada, you must ensure that you still meet your residency obligation to keep permanent resident (PR) status.

  2. The government generally only mails letters, notices or other material to addresses in Canada, though in the rare occasion, they will e-mail.

You must reply to the letters in a specific amount of time, and if not, or if you are unable to provide an adequate reason for not replying, they will close your application.

  1. You must attend appointments and other events at the offices, located in Canada. For instance: Citizenship test, interview and ceremony.

If you cannot attend the appointment or event, you must provide a letter of explanation to the local office that sent you the notice. You also have the option to send the letter via the Web form.

Contact Akrami & Associates when Applying for Canadian Citizenship

If you wish to become a Canadian citizen after having permanent residency, we can help you with this process. Canadian citizenship applications are not an easy process and can become overwhelming if done alone; it is highly recommended that you seek out professional and experienced help before attempting to submit an application. Here at Akrami & Associates, we work and have experience with many different immigration issues. We have helped many of our clients gain Canadian citizenship. If you believe that you might be eligible, please feel free to contact Akrami & Associates at our office at 416-477-2545 for more information or if you would like to book a consultation with an immigration professional for more advise.

With Akrami & Associates, there is always a way!

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