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Canadian Citizenship 

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COVID-19 UPDATE: The Government of Canada  has implemented travel restrictions which prohibit some persons from entering Canada, and may require additional documents for those who are exempted from same. As such, please click here to find out if you are eligible for travel to Canada. 

Canadian citizenship may be conferred by birth, parentage, or by a process called naturalization—whereby a person is first required to become a permanent resident and meet various requirements to qualify for citizenship. Pursuant to s. 5 of the Citizenship Act, a permanent resident, upon meeting the requirements of the Act may apply for Canadian citizenship which endows on that person all rights, powers, and privileges of Canadian citizenry.


Canada recognizes multiple citizenships, which means a person will not lose their citizenship in another country once they have attained Canadian citizenship. Conversely, some countries do not allow dual or multiple citizenships, therefore, a person must consult the laws concerning citizenship retention and revocation in that country prior to applying.


Persons who immigrate to Canada are required to go through the naturalization process, mentioned earlier, to become Canadian citizens. To be eligible, a person must prove that they:

  • Are a permanent resident whose immigration status is not under review and has fulfilled all conditions of same; 

  • Have been physically present in Canada for at least 1,095 days during the five years immediately before the date of submitting the application. Days spent as a temporary resident or a protected person are counted as half days and are credited for up to 365 days;

  • Have filed taxes in respect of three taxation years that are fully or partially within the five years preceding the application;

  • Meet the minimum language requirement. Persons between 18 years and 55 years must show that they have adequate knowledge of English or French; 

  • Have passed a citizenship test, if between the ages of 18 and 55 years;

  • Are not inadmissible, under a removal order, nor ineligible to apply based on criminal or security grounds.


Minor children

A child under the age of 18 years (a minor) may also be eligible for Canadian citizenship. They, unlike adults, are not required to demonstrate adequate knowledge of the languages nor are they required to complete and pass the citizenship test.  A parent or guardian of a minor child may also apply for citizenship on that child’s behalf where at least one of the parents is a Canadian citizen or is simultaneously applying to become a citizen. In this case, the child is not required to meet the physical presence requirement in Canada. However, where the child does not have a Canadian parent, they must show they have been present in Canada for the required 1095 days within the 5-year period.


Adopted Children

The Act allows for a grant of citizenship to those persons who have been adopted by Canadian parents. It must be demonstrated that the adoption: is in the best interests of the child; created a genuine parent-child relationship; is valid in the country of execution; adhered to the requirements for international adoption; was not entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring a status or privilege, in relation to immigration or citizenship. 


Stateless Persons

Canada also allows for a grant of citizenship to persons who are stateless (not recognized as a citizen of any country). The person must be less than 23 years old,  and was born outside Canada after 17 April 2009 to a parent who was a Canadian citizen at the time of their birth. They also must have been physically present in Canada for at least 1095 days (2 years) within the 4-year preceding the application, and must not have been convicted of selected offences under the Criminal Code, Security of Information Act, or have any involvement in the commission of a terrorism offence, offence of intimidating parliament or legislature, or sabotage. Stateless people are not required to take the oath to become citizens.


Generally, once the application has been submitted, the applicant will be required to complete and pass the citizenship test. During processing, officers may convoke an interview when it is necessary in the process to verify that the requirements have been met or to confirm whether the information submitted is accurate. Once completed, a decision is usually rendered. If the application is refused, a decision will be received in writing. If approved, the applicant will be notified of the time and location of the citizenship ceremony where the person is required to take the citizenship oath, which confers citizenship status.

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