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Shabnam Akrami is the Managing Partner and Founder of Akrami & Associates.

What to Know About Applying for Canadian Citizenship

What to Know About Applying for Canadian Citizenship

Apply for Canadian Citizenship

Though it sometimes seems like a long and daunting process to apply for Canadian citizenship, there are a variety of reasons someone would want to become a Canadian citizen, even if they already have status in Canada as a lawful permanent resident. Canadian citizens do experience many privileges above and beyond those that permanent residents have. For example, Canadian citizens have the opportunity to exercise their democratic right to vote and even more, actually become involved with a political party or leadership campaign. Furthermore, you have the freedom to travel without worrying that you permanent residency will expire while you are out of the country, and you won’t have to worry if you aren’t able to meet the residency requirements of permanent residents. But this is not all, there are more benefits! The children you have in Canada are automatically Canadian citizens, and will not have to endure the same process you once did. This is not all, though, the point is made that it is super beneficial to apply for Canadian citizenship, so keep reading this blog to learn more about the process.

Who can apply for Canadian Citizenship?

It makes sense that because there are so many benefits to being a Canadian citizen, there are also various requirements individuals must fulfill to successfully become Canadian citizens.

To be eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship you must meet various requirements which specify age, permanent resident status, the amount of time you have lived in Canada, history with income tax filing, intent to reside in Canada, language skills, your knowledge of Canada and its prohibitions.

1. Age requirements

To apply for Canadian citizenship, you must be at least 18 years of age or older. Children under the age of 18 can only apply if you are the child’s parent, adoptive parent or legal guardian; your children will be included in your application. Though, under age children must have permanent resident status themselves and one of the legal guardians must already be a Canadian citizen or apply to become a citizen at the same time, so that the child can be included in legal guardian’s application.

2. Permanent resident status

As briefly mentioned, you must have permanent resident status to apply for Canadian citizenship. Simply having status as a permanent resident is not enough though, you must meet all the conditions required as a permanent resident. This means:

  • You cannot be under review for fraud or immigration reasons,
  • You cannot be under a removal order,
  • You cannot have unfilled permanent residency conditions, such as not meeting the length of residency requirements

Please note, you can apply for citizenship if you have expired PR card and even if it is lost or stolen. As long as you meet conditions set on your PR card.

3. Time you have resided in Canada/ Residency Requirements

You must spend a minimum length of time in Canada as a permanent resident to be eligible for Canadian citizenship. As a permanent resident you must have resided in Canada for at least 1,460 days, or four full years out of the six years immediately before the date of your application. In addition to this, within 6 years of filing your citizenship application you need to be present in Canada for at least 183 days during each of at least four calendar years. Please note, residency requirements do not apply to individuals who are younger than 18 years of age. Also, there are some circumstances which you may not be physically present in Canada, yet time spent wherever you are counts towards your “time spent in Canada,” under specific conditions. The situations you could be in which count towards your time spent in Canada are as follows.

  • If you are with a spouse who is a Canadian citizen, or, if you are a dependent child traveling with a parent who is a Canadian citizen
  • If you are an employee of a Canadian business and work is the reason you are outside of Canada.
  • Or, if you are with your spouse who is a permanent resident of Canada AND is employed full-time by a Canadian business – the same applies for dependent children with parents.
  • Or, if you are an employee of the public service of Canada or any province, and you are on full-time assignment outside of Canada.

Please also note if you are in prison, on parole or on probation, the entire length of time these conditions are imposed cannot be counted towards the amount of time you must spend living in Canada.

4. Intent to live in Canada permanently

To apply to be a Canadian citizen successfully, you must clearly demonstrate intent to live in Canada permanently. This is the purpose of the residency requirements individuals are subject to as permanent residents.

5. Filing income tax

If you work in Canada and you have not declared your taxes you cannot apply for citizenship. You have to meet the same income tax obligations as Canadian citizens do, while you are a permanent resident for at least four of the six years you are a permanent resident.

6. Language requirements

The official languages used in Canada are English and French. Therefore, to truly be engaged with Canadian society, and to get a job for example, you must have satisfactory knowledge of either English or French. The Canadian government considers it enough to be able follow simple instructions, take directions, understand questions, participate in simple conversations, and to express yourself using common words and phrases. The language requirement applies to individuals who are between 14 to 64 years old. If you fall within this age group, you must include supporting documents proving you have the ability to speak and listen in English or French. Please note, it is possible the immigration officer will also conduct an interview to verify the information provided in your supporting documents.

7. Knowledge of Canada

Finally, an immigration officer will also assess you knowledge of Canada, as this demonstrates an effort to engage with society and learn about Canadian life. Ultimately, this helps demonstrate intent to settle in Canada permanently. An immigration officer will assess your knowledge of your rights, responsibilities and privileges of citizenship. Either in English or French you must understand and be able to communicate Canada’s history, values, institutions and symbols.

This information will be assessed in what is known as a citizenship test. If you are between 14 to 64 years of age, you must take the citizenship test and prove to an immigration officer you have good knowledge of Canada. Please note, there is a study guide available and the test is based on the guide. Studying this will help you truly understand Canada’s history, values, institutions and symbols, so that you can be successful on the day of your citizenship test.

Who Cannot Apply?

There are some things which leave you ineligible to apply for Canadian citizenship. First if you have committed a criminal offence inside or outside of Canada, you may not be able to apply for citizenship for certain period of time. The period of time which you cannot apply to become a Canadian citizen does not begin until all conditions of our sentence have been completed. This means, paid fines, parole/ probation finished, and any extra anger or drug management programs must be completed. From the time all conditions are completed, you cannot apply for a Canadian citizenship for a minimum of four years. This means any pending charges automatically disqualify you from being able to apply for Canadian citizenship.

Contact Akrami and Associates

It is essential that you have taken all of the aforementioned factors and information into consideration before you attempt to apply for Canadian citizenship. This is definitely the most selective application process one can enter, though, if you are well prepared and meet all the necessary requirements, there is a good chance of becoming a Canadian citizen. Though, due to the selective process, it is important to note that these are difficult applications to pursue on your own. It is highly recommended that you seek out professional and experienced help before attempting to submit the application. Here, at Akrami & Associates, we work and have experience with many different immigration issues. We have helped many of our clients with inadmissibility gain Canadian citizenship. So, if you want to become a Canadian citizen, please feel free to contact Akrami & Associates at our office at 416-477-2545 for more information or if you would like to book a consultation with an immigration professional for more advise.

With Akrami & Associates, there is always a way!

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