Formalization: how to apply for Canadian citizenship as a permanent resident

Posted June 1, 2022 6:42 a.m. EDT

Then you want to become a Canadian citizen!

You have made an excellent choice. Canada is known for its many world-class offerings, such as universal health care, hockey, and ketchup-flavored potato chips. It is also welcoming to newcomers, with more than 20% of its population born elsewhere.

Obtaining Canadian citizenship may seem like an overwhelming undertaking, but we have some good news. If you have questions about how to convert your residency to full citizenship, you’ve come to the right place. This handy guide will teach you all the ins and outs of becoming a Canuck.

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What changes can I expect when I become a Canadian citizen?

Applying for citizenship involves several steps, but the benefits are well worth it. Along with having easy access to Tim Horton’s coffee and the world’s longest coastline (to be enjoyed simultaneously), citizens can enjoy other perks like being able to vote, run for office, and receive a Canadian passport. Depending on the policies of your home country, you might even be able to hold dual citizenship.

Who can apply for Canadian citizenship?

The first step towards obtaining Canadian citizenship is that you must already have permanent resident status and have lived in Canada for at least 1,095 days (three years) in the five years prior to the date you sign your citizenship application. Other criteria include the potential need to pass a citizenship test and prove your proficiency in one of Canada’s official languages, although these two requirements only apply to applicants between the ages of 18 and 54. If applicable, you may also need to prove that you filed your tax returns in Canada. over the past five years.

Three steps to citizenship

Becoming a Canadian citizen actually involves many small tasks, but we prefer to keep it simple. We have organized your journey to citizenship into three main stages.

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Step 1: Prepare and submit your application

Your citizenship application is a folder containing all your documents in one place so that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) can process your application. Some applicants, such as single adults applying only for themselves, may submit online. All others must print and complete a paper application to be mailed.

You will be required to provide certain information for each request you submit for yourself and your family members such as your children. Before you even start filling out your paperwork, it’s a good idea to review this checklist to see what information you’ll need. In addition to identification such as your passport and any documentation showing that you meet the eligibility requirements, you will need to provide citizenship photos and fees.

Once you have submitted your application, there is nothing to do but wait until you have been processed. Currently, the expected processing time is 27 months, but don’t worry, you could use that time to revise Canadian history, law, and civics. There is a test for those between the ages of 18 and 54 that you will want to pass.

Step 2: Pass your citizenship test and complete your interview

Once the IRCC has processed your application, it will contact you to take a citizenship test or have an interview (or both), depending on your age and situation. If this gives you high school flashbacks, don’t worry. They tell you everything that will be on the test and you even get a free study guide. If you are between 18 and 54, you will need to take the test followed by an interview where they will confirm your eligibility, assess your language skills and ask any questions they may have about you and your application.

Many people find being tested or interviewed stressful, but your only job is to prepare. The interview usually takes place right after the test on the same day. If you are successful, you will either receive your ceremony date immediately or you will be followed up with this information.

Step 3: Did someone say “ceremony”?

Everyone loves a little tradition and Canadians are no different. Along with other successful candidates, you will take the oath of citizenship, receive your citizenship certificate, sign the form and sing the national anthem, O Canada. Feel free to dress up (with or without a “Canadian tuxedo”) and celebrate your achievement. It’s a great moment, so enjoy it!

Establish your new Canadian life

Earning your Canadian citizenship is a huge deal and now that you have received it, you are free to pursue the same activities as your fellow Canadians. Your plans may involve buying a house, sending your children to college, or starting a business – goals that may seem monumental in themselves.

Now is a good time to familiarize yourself with some good advice for newcomers to Canada. Check out the Scotiabank Tips+ program. It offers tons of helpful tips and guides on how to continue your trip to Canada financially prepared. And if you need help pursuing your career in Canada, consider Windmill Microlending, a Canadian non-profit organization that, in partnership with Scotiabank, helps skilled immigrants and new citizens achieve career success.

Becoming a Canadian citizen is an important step. Whatever your future, enjoy every moment. You earned it.

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Legal disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It should not be considered financial, tax or investment advice or a guarantee as to the future, nor should it be considered a recommendation to buy or sell. The information in this article, including information relating to interest rates, market conditions, tax rules and other investment factors is subject to change without notice and the Bank of Nova Scotia is not responsible for updating this information. Reference to any third party product or service, opinion or statement, or use of any trade, firm or company name does not constitute an endorsement, recommendation or endorsement by The Bank of Nova Scotia of any of the third party’s products, services or opinions. All third party sources are believed to be accurate and reliable as of the date of publication and The Bank of Nova Scotia does not guarantee their accuracy or reliability. Readers should consult their own professional adviser for specific financial, investment and/or tax advice tailored to their needs to ensure that individual circumstances are properly considered and action is taken based on the latest information available.