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How to qualify for citizenship in Canada

One of the world’s most open citizenship policies is found in Canada.

To be qualified to submit a citizenship application to Canada, you must:

  • becoming a resident permanently

  • satisfy the physical presence requirement for Canada

  • submit your taxes (if necessary)

  • passing the citizenship test for Canada (if you are between the ages of 18-54)

  • Demonstrate your linguistic skills (if you are between the ages of 18-54)

If you are a Canadian applying for your adopted kid who was born outside of Canada, a minor, or a former Canadian citizen seeking to regain citizenship, there may be extra or different requirements.

Status as a permanent resident

To seek Canadian citizenship, you must be a permanent resident and you may not:

  • being under investigation for fraud or for immigration

  • being asked to leave Canada by Canadian authorities

  • Having outstanding requirements for your PR status, such as medical testing

Your Permanent Residence (PR) card may already be expired when you submit your application; this is not required.

Required physical presence

Before submitting an application for Canadian citizenship, you must have spent at least three of the previous five years—or 1,095 days—residing in Canada. For rare circumstances, there may be exceptions to this rule.

Before you became a permanent resident, if you were a temporary resident or a protected person in Canada, you may count those days against your physical presence requirement. You may only use up to 365 days as a temporary resident or protected person and each day spent in Canada during the five years preceding your application only counts as a half-day.

In case you made a calculating error, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) advises that you submit your application for Canadian citizenship after having resided in the country for more than 1,095 days.

Submit your taxes

For at least three of the five years prior to submitting your application for Canadian citizenship, you might be required to file taxes in Canada. Even if you only spent a portion of the year in Canada, you can still be required to file an income tax return if :

  • Taxes for the year are due.

  • You’d like a refund?

  • Desire receiving credit and benefit payments

Demonstrate your language abilities

You must demonstrate to IRCC that you can speak English or French at a level 4 or higher on the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB). The IRCC may evaluate your language abilities by looking at the documentation you provide proving them (such as proof that you are enrolled in a secondary or post-secondary program in English or French) or by observing how well you interact with citizenship officials while submitting your application. Your language abilities may be evaluated by IRCC during a hearing with a citizenship authority, if necessary.

If you don’t fit the bill for citizenship, you might not be eligible for citizenship in Canada. You would also not be eligible for Canadian citizenship if you had certain legal or criminal convictions, such as:

  • Within the last five years, your citizenship has been revoked.

  • You were found guilty of a crime during the last three years.

  • You are on probation, parole, or incarcerated

  • You are subject to a Canada deportation order.

  • You are suspected of committing a crime against humanity or a war crime, or you have already been found guilty of one.

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