Getting Your Canadian Citizenship

About 160,000 people become Canadian citizens every year. If you are thinking about joining them, here are some facts that Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) would like you to know:

  • You must have permanent resident status.
  • If you are not at least 18 years of age, a parent, adoptive parent or legal guardian must apply on your behalf. At least one of your parents must either be a Canadian citizen or submit their application along with yours.
  • If you’re an adult, you are required to have lived in Canada for at least 1,095 days – three of the past four years – prior to your application.
  • You must demonstrate a good knowledge of on of Canada’s official languages (if you don’t know that English and French are the official languages you won’t pass the citizenship test).
  • You must understand the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and have a good knowledge of Canada’s history, values, institutions and symbols.

How do you become a Canadian citizen?

Download an application package from CIC (http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/citizenship/become.asp), pay the fee and mail the application and supporting documents.

If you are 18 and 54 years of age, you must pass the Citizenship Test, which is based on the CIC’s study guide “Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship.”

If you are under 18 or over 54 years of age you are not required to meet the language and knowledge requirements. If you are between 18 and 54 years of age and can provide evidence of “special needs” you may be exempted from taking the test.

In some cases, it is possible to be interviewed by a citizenship judge rather than writing the citizenship test. Your answers to the questions in the citizenship knowledge test and your communications with CIC staff will be used to assess your English/French language proficiency. You are expected to comprehend basic spoken comments, and be able to provide answers to questions.

If you don’t appear to meet residence, language or knowledge requirements, you may be invited to a hearing with a Citizenship Judge.

The Citizenship and Immigration Canada Help Page is a good place to start looking for answers to questions about the immigration or citizenship processes that are not provided here. The topics A-Z index will help you find answers to such common inquiries as how to renew your Permanent Resident Card and how to sponsor family members for immigration to Canada.

This story is from the "CIC: Know the Rules, Take the Lead" InfoBlock. To read more stories on this topic, click here.