Are you eligible for Canadian citizenship?

Posted April 14, 2022 9:00 a.m. EDT


The man is holding a Canadian flag on his back

More than 85% of Canadian immigrants become citizens, one of the highest rates in the world.

The benefits of Canadian citizenship include the ability to live permanently in one of the most peaceful and economically, socially and politically stable societies in the world, to benefit from one of the most powerful passports in the world and to have the right to vote, among a host of other benefits. .

Schedule a Free Canadian Citizenship Consultation with Cohen Immigration Law Firm

It is therefore not surprising that hundreds of thousands of permanent residents apply to become Canadian citizens every year.

Several conditions must be met to become eligible for Canadian citizenship:

  • Be a permanent resident
  • Meet Canada’s physical presence requirements
  • File your taxes, if necessary
  • Pass a Canadian citizenship test
  • Prove your language skills

Permanent resident status

Regardless of your age, you must hold Canadian permanent resident status if you wish to apply for Canadian citizenship. This means that you are not under review for immigration or fraud, you are not subject to a removal order, and you have unmet conditions relating to your status. a permanent resident (for example, you have not had a medical examination). You do not need to have a valid PR card to apply for citizenship and you can apply with an expired PR card.

Canadian physical presence requirements

You must have been physically present in Canada for at least 1,095 days (three years) in the five years preceding the date you sign your application for Canadian citizenship. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) encourages you to apply with more than 1,095 days of living in Canada in case there is a problem with your calculation.

Those who resided as temporary residents or protected persons in Canada before becoming permanent residents can count some of this time toward their residency requirements. Each day you have spent in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person in the past five years counts as half a day when calculating your physical presence. IRCC allows you to use a maximum of 365 days as a temporary resident or protected person for your time spent in Canada. Temporary residents include visitors, students, workers or holders of a temporary resident permit. Protected persons are those who have been found to be in need of protection or Convention refugees by the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) or who have received a positive decision on a risk assessment before removal from IRCC.

Generally, time spent outside of Canada does not count towards your physical presence requirements, but there are a few exceptions. For example, permanent residents working in the United States can count days spent in the United States toward their physical presence requirement as long as they reside in Canada and return to Canada for at least part of the day.

Try the CanadaVisa Citizenship Calculator

File your taxes, if necessary

Filing income tax in Canada for at least three years in the five years before you apply for citizenship may be a requirement.

Even if you only lived in Canada for part of the year, you may be required to file a tax return if you:

  • I have to pay tax for the year
  • You want to request a refund
  • You want to get benefit and credit payments

Pass a Canadian citizenship test

People between the ages of 18 and 54 on the day they signed their application for Canadian citizenship must take a citizenship test on the rights and responsibilities of Canadians, history, geography, economy, government, laws and symbols of Canada. The test is 30 minutes in English or French, contains multiple choice and true or false questions, and has a passing score of 15 out of 20.

Prove your language skills

People between the ages of 18 and 54 must also demonstrate that they can speak and listen to English or French at a specific level. This involves demonstrating that you meet level 4 or higher of the Canadian Language Benchmarks (NCLC). IRCC assesses your language skills in several ways, including:

  • Review of the evidence you submit with your application
  • Note how well you communicate with citizenship officials during the application process
  • Assess your language skills during a hearing with a citizenship officer, if necessary

An example of proof is proof that you have completed a secondary or post-secondary program in English or French. The program may have taken place abroad or in Canada. Proof can be your education diploma or transcript submitted in English or French (IRCC accepts certified translations).

IRCC also accepts the results of an English or French language test that you completed, for example, as part of your application for permanent residence in Canada, or completed a language training program in Canada.

Apply for Canadian citizenship today

Becoming a Canadian citizen is very rewarding and often marks the symbolic end of the “newcomer” phase of one’s immigration journey to Canada. Once you become a Canadian citizen, you can enjoy a variety of benefits and continue to make a significant contribution to Canada’s economy and society. You are encouraged to contact Cohen Immigration Law to discuss how to submit your application for Canadian citizenship.

Schedule a Free Canadian Citizenship Consultation with Cohen Immigration Law Firm

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