How long do I have to live in Canada before I am eligible for Canadian citizenship?
You must live in Canada for three (3) years (1,095 days) within the four (4) years (1,460 days) immediately before applying for citizenship.
How is the residence requirement for citizenship calculated?
Only the four (4) years preceding the date of your application are taken into account. Within that four-year period:
- Every day you spend in Canada as a permanent resident counts as a full day,
- Every day you spend in Canada before you become a permanent resident counts as a half-day,
- Time spent serving a sentence in Canada does not count towards the residence requirement (i.e. you cannot count time spent in a prison, penitentiary, jail, reformatory, on conditional sentence, probation and/or on parole as a residence).
How does the residence calculator determine the number of days for each absence?
Below are things to keep in mind when you complete the residency calculation:
- When calculating an absence, either the day you leave Canada or the day you return is considered an absence, but not both. For example, an absence between July 1, 2003, and July 15, 2003, equals 14 days of absence,
- If you leave Canada and come back the same day, you do not have to declare an absence,
- An absence on February 29 (leap day) is not counted as an absence, nor is it credited as a presence,
- Total residence days ending in .5 are rounded up in your favour,
- The total number of days absent includes all absences from Canada within the four-year period immediately preceding the date of your application,
- Because the time spent in Canada before you became a permanent resident is only credited as half-time, absences from Canada before you obtained permanent resident status are divided by two before they are included in the total number of days absent.
I spent a lot of time in Canada before I became PR. Can I not calculate these days?
Yes, you can, but you cannot meet the residence requirement until you have at least two (2) years of permanent residence, no matter how long you have spent in Canada before becoming a permanent resident.
APPLYING WITH FEWER THAN 1,095 DAYS OF PHYSICAL PRESENCE?
I have more than 1,095 days of basic residence (or basic residence taking into account time spent serving a sentence) but fewer than 1,095 days of physical presence. Should I apply now or wait until I have 1,095 days of physical presence?
This a good question. Only a citizenship judge can determine if you meet the residency requirements with fewer than 1,095 days of physical presence. So, you can apply.
You most likely will be asked to complete a residence questionnaire and provide evidence that establishes residence in Canada, and you might be asked to appear in person before a citizenship judge. Also, keep in mind that when you apply with fewer than 1,095 days of physical presence, your application will take longer to process and may be refused by the citizenship judge.
So, depending on how many days are missing and why you wish to apply for Citizenship now, it might be worthwhile to wait until you meet the residency requirements. If you wish to seek guidance here, please contact us, and we can better advise you.
So applying with fewer than 1,095 days of physical presence is a personal
decision that should be made carefully and taken into account your personal circumstances. We are here to help you with that!
WHAT ABSENCES TO DECLARE
Do I have to declare day trips to the United States?
No, not if you come back the same day.
I often travel to the United States and don’t remember the exact dates. What do I do?
To use the calculator, you will need to enter the exact date. However, not remembering dates is a common matter. If you do not know the exact number of days you were absent, try to calculate an estimated number, and after you have printed your absence sheet, attach a handwritten note to indicate that the dates are approximate. But be careful about how many of your dates are approximate. What we can do is write the immigration officer a thorough submission explaining your situation as well as why the dates are not exact. This is important as it will help the officer decide whether to send the Questionnaire or not. In addition, we can apply to get the officer’s notes on you. This will show us what notes they have on you, and go from there.
I travel often because of my job; do I have to declare those absences?
Yes. All absences from Canada, regardless of the reason, must be declared. The only trips you do not have to declare are those where you left and came back to Canada on the same day.