New regulations now in effect make it easier to obtain Canadian citizenship

Posted October 11, 2017 10:11 a.m. EDT
Updated October 11, 2017 4:00 PM EDT



As of October 11, permanent residents in Canada can apply for Canadian citizenship – a process known as naturalization – easier and earlier than before, following the implementation of key measures contained in the draft Bill C-6, which was passed last June.

Whereas previously permanent residents had to accumulate at least four years of residency days out of six years before applying, they can now apply if they accumulate three out of five years of residency. Additionally, permanent residents who spent time in Canada as a foreign worker, international student, or protected person before moving to permanent residence may count a portion of that time toward the residency days requirement, where each day spent in Canada with a temporary status counts for half. per day, up to a maximum of 365 days.

In addition, since October 11, the government no longer requires citizenship applicants to be physically present in Canada for 183 days or more in four of the six years preceding their application, as was previously the case.

Speaking in Brampton, Ont., last week, Federal Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, himself a naturalized citizen of Canada, said, “We want all permanent residents in Canada to become citizens. This is our wish, because we value Canadian citizenship, we understand that we are a community that continues to welcome people from all over the world. And we understand the importance and positive role that immigrants play in our economy, in our society and in our cultural life.

The Minister’s comments point out that, barring exceptional circumstances in international adoption cases, citizenship is a status that can only be obtained after an individual becomes a permanent resident of Canada.

Other amendments to the Citizenship Act also came into force on October 11.

Previous settlement New rules
Applicants had to be physically present in Canada for four out of six years before applying for citizenship. Applicants must be physically present in Canada for three out of five years before applying for citizenship.
Applicants were required to file a Canadian income tax return, if required to do so under the income tax law, for four out of six years, corresponding to the requirement of physical presence. Applicants must file a Canadian income tax return, if required to do so under the income tax law, for three out of five years, corresponding to the new physical presence requirement.
Applicants had to be physically present in Canada for 183 days in four of the six years preceding their application. This provision is repealed. Applicants are no longer required to meet this requirement.
Time spent in Canada before becoming a permanent resident was not counted towards the physical presence requirement for citizenship. Applicants can count each day of physical presence in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person before becoming a permanent resident as half a day toward meeting the physical presence requirement for citizenship, up to a maximum credit of 365 days.
Applicants between the ages of 14 and 64 had to meet the language and knowledge requirements needed to obtain citizenship. Applicants between the ages of 18 and 54 must meet the language and knowledge requirements for citizenship.

Canadian citizens enjoy all the rights that come with that status, including the right to leave and return to Canada without having to accrue residency days, as well as the right to vote and stand for political office. Citizens can also apply for a Canadian passport, one of the most valuable passports in the world.

Assess eligibility

Readers can find out if or when they can apply for Canadian citizenship by using the Canada Visa Citizenship Calculator.

For more information on applying for Canadian citizenship in light of proposed changes to the Citizenship Act, please email [email protected] Please include information about your time as a Canadian permanent resident, as well as any information about time spent in Canada with temporary status.
To find out if you are eligible to immigrate to Canada through one of the programs currently available, please complete a free online assessment today.

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