Getting your Canadian citizenship means you can vote, can hold any job, have an easier time travelling outside Canada, and can hold a position in government.
Can I apply for citizenship?
To get your Canadian citizenship, you must:
- Prove you can speak and write in either English or French.
- Be a Permanent Resident.
- Declare that you plan to live in Canada after you become a citizen.
- Live in Canada as a permanent resident for at least three out of the last five years (1095 days) before the date you apply.
- Be in Canada for at least 183 days a year for the last five years.
- Have filed your taxes for at least three years of the last five years (if you are old enough to have that many years of filing taxes).
- Have paid any tax you owe.
If you don't know when you entered Canada or became a permanent resident make sure you ask your social worker. It's part of their job to help figure that out. If you've aged out you can always call your last social worker or the team leader from the last office you were at and ask them for that information. Or talk to immigration support in your community.
How do I apply for citizenship?
- Download and fill out the Canadian Citizen Application Package.
- Photocopy the photo and name pages from all your passports from the last six years.
- Find one record that shows you can listen, understand, and speak English or French. These cannot be photocopies. Documents that prove this include:
- Photocopy of your record of landing or confirmation of permanent residence.
- Photocopy of both sides of your permanent resident card.
- Photocopy of both sides of two pieces of ID.
- Take two citizenship photos.
- Print, sign, and date your Physical Presence Calculations.
- Photocopy the receipt showing you've paid your fees.
- If you are 18 years old or older, you pay $530 to apply and then $100 if you are accepted.
- If you are under 18 the cost is $100, but your social worker should pay for this.
- Mail your application to the processing centre.
If you're under 18 years old, your legal guardian must apply for you. Depending on your care status this could be your parent (biological or adoptive), your social worker, or a family member. If you don't know ask your social worker.
If you don't have a photocopy of your record of landing, permanent resident card, or confirmation of permanent residence you can write a letter explaining why.
I've applied, now what?
Start getting ready for your citizenship test. The citizenship test asks you about the history of Canada, how the government works, symbols of Canada, and regions. There are plenty of online preparation tests.
Once your citizenship application is accepted then you will get an invitation to take a test on a certain date and time.
I've been convicted of a crime, can I become a citizen?
Maybe. If you were charged with an indictable offence as an adult you will not be allowed to become a citizen. You might lose your permanent residency, too. There are lots of crimes that are hybrid offenses which means you can be charged with either an indictable or summary conviction. Check out a full list of summary, hybrid and indicatable offences here.
None of your sentence time will count towards your time in Canada. This means any time you spent in prison, jail, penitentiary, reformatory and/or were on probation or parole can't be counted towards your time in Canada. The only exception to this is if you were convicted under youth criminal justice act or young offenders act.