Citizenship > Eligibility to Become a Canadian Citizen

Eligibility to Become a Canadian Citizen

There are eligibility requirements for a Canadian citizenship application. First, a candidate must have been a permanent resident of Canada and physically been in Canada for at least 3 of the last five years.

If you are wondering how to become a Canadian citizen, our guide is going help to understand the current system. The first thing is eligibility – that means that you meet all of the Canadian citizenship requirements. Here is a rundown of the main conditions:

1. Permanent Resident status

Regardless of your age, if you desire to become a Canadian citizen, when you apply you must have:

  • Permanent Resident status in Canada.
  • No unfulfilled requirements associated with your PR status.

At the time you apply, your PR status must not be in question. This means you must not:

  • Be under review for fraud or immigration reasons.
  • Have related to your PR status unfulfilled conditions.
  • Be under a removal order.

You don’t need a valid PR card to apply for citizenship. If your PR card is expired, you can still do that.

If you have served in or with the Canadian Armed Forces, you might be able to apply through a fast-track process.

2. Time you have lived in Canada

You must have been physically present in Canada for no less than 1095 days during the five years period right before the date you sign your application. This condition applies to every candidate regardless of age.

You may be able to use some of your time spent in Canada as a protected person or temporary resident. Each day spent physically under these statuses before becoming a permanent resident within the last five years will count as one-half day, with a maximum of 365 days.

Temporary resident status includes legal authorization to enter or remain in Canada as a temporary resident permit holder, student, visitor or worker.

These requirements don’t apply to children under 18 where a parent or guardian has applied on their behalf for citizenship.

Travel journal

It is not a requirement, but this is a way of greatly simplifying your life. We recommend keeping a record all your trips outside of Canada. It will help you estimate your physical presence and meet Canada’s immigration requirements.

3. Income tax filing

Canada immigration requirements also include meeting your personal income tax filing obligations. That’s why regardless of your age, under the Income Tax Act, you must meet your personal income tax filing obligations in three tax years that are partially or fully within the five years right before applying.

4. Language skills

There are two official languages in Canada – English, and French. To receive citizenship, you must prove that you can listen, speak and write in one of these languages. This means that you can:

  • Take part in short, common conversations on daily topics.
  • Understand simple directions, questions, and instructions.
  • Use basic grammar, including simple tenses and structures.
  • Demonstrate that you know enough general phrases and words to express yourself and answer questions

If you are 18 to 54 years old, you must add proof that shows your English or French skill level. However, if you are under 18, then you don’t have to meet the language requirement.

5. How well you know Canada

For becoming a Canadian citizen, you’ll need to take a test of the knowledge requirement. You’ll need to answer questions about Canada’s:

  • Symbols.
  • History.
  • Values.
  • Institutions.
  • Responsibilities, rights, and privileges of citizenship (like obeying the law and voting in elections).

The structure of tests:

  • Given to applicants 18 to 54 years old,
  • Can be in French or English,
  • Usually in a written format,
  • Made up of questions on the Discover Canada study guide.

Be aware that applicants under 18 years don’t need to pass the test.

6. Prohibitions

You may not be eligible to become a Canadian citizen for a period if you have committed a crime in or outside Canada. This includes if you:

  • Are serving a term of imprisonment, on probation or parole in Canada (doesn’t count as the time you have lived in Canada).
  • Are serving a sentence outside Canada.
  • Have been convicted in the four years before applying for citizenship of an:
    • Offense outside Canada.
    • An indictable offensein Canada.
  • Are charged with, on trial for, or involved in an appeal of an:
    • Offense outside Canada
    • The indictable offense in Canada


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January 2019

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