The final step of becoming a true Canadian is acquiring Canadian citizenship and using its power to wrestle a moose to the ground. Sure, earning permanent residence comes with a host of benefits; however, there are some liberties only citizens can enjoy like voting in the national elections. Not everyone living in Canada is eligible for citizenship and the process requires commitment. If want to know how to become a Canadian citizen in 2020, you have come to the right place. In this article, we will guide you through the entire process, starting with the first step - getting permanent residency in Canada.
How to Become a Canadian Citizen - Step by Step
If you have decided that Canada is the place for you, you may want to consider becoming a citizen to truly enjoy everything about being a Canadian. Maple syrup, ice-hockey, beavertails and just being really friendly are just some of the reasons we love being Canadian. And while all permanent residents of Canada have access to free public healthcare, free public school education, freedom of religion, and several other civil liberties, only citizens of Canada can:
- vote in the federal elections;
- run for federal office;
- own a Canadian passport; and
- apply for any job in Canada regardless of high-level security clearance.
If any of these benefits sound desirable to you, you must be wondering about how to become a Canadian citizen. Luckily, we are here to help you. Broadly, the process of applying for Canadian citizenship involves the following five steps:
- Permanent Residence
- Canadian Citizenship Application
- Canadian Citizenship Test
- Citizenship Ceremony
You can also acquire Canadian citizenship through descent. This route is one of the simplest ways to gain Canadian citizenship because you do not have to write the citizenship test, instead, the process involves you proving that you are already a citizen of Canada. You are eligible for this option if one of your parents was born in Canada or became a naturalized citizen regardless of where they are living right now. All you need to do is to apply for your Canadian citizenship certificate.
1. Permanent Residence
You can only apply for Canadian Citizenship once you have been a permanent resident of Canada for at least three years. This is by far the most challenging step of the application process because it has the most complicated criteria. Working with an Authorized Representative like a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) makes this step easier. They have the authorization from the government to handle all of the paperwork for your immigration application and they have the expertise to make sure it is filled in correctly and completely and delivered on time.
To get Canadian permanent residency, you will have to immigrate to the country using one of several Canadian immigration programs. There are over 100 different immigration options available to you and each of them comes with its own unique set of requirements, for instance having skilled work experience or running a business in the country for a certain number of years.
Naturalization is the longest step of your route to Canadian citizenship. To be considered a naturalized citizen, you must have spent three years (1095 days) out of the previous five in Canada. The total 1095 days does not have to be consecutive but you need to show that you satisfied income tax obligations for three years that are at least partially within the five years before the date you apply.
Being a temporary resident in Canada also counts towards this requirement. However, your time spent as a student, visitor, or refugee in Canada will also be counted but as half days and can only add up to a maximum of 365 days.
3. Canadian Citizenship Application
The application step is pretty much self-explanatory. You must apply for your Canadian citizenship by filling in the forms found on Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada’s website. Make sure you fill in all the forms correctly and submit them along with your supporting documents and proof of payment to the appropriate authorities.
Once you have been notified that you are eligible for Canadian citizenship, you will have to prove your language ability in either French or English. You can prove your proficiency by showing the results of language tests, documentation detailing that you have studied in either French or English or proof that you reached Canadian Language Benchmark level four.
4. Canadian Citizenship Test
The next step of your application is taking the Canadian Citizenship test. Once your application has been put forward, you will be given a time and date to take the test. In the test, you will be quizzed on various facts and symbols of Canada, including the country’s geography, history, culture, government, and geography.
Taking tests can be stressful for anyone and accidents happen, so if you happened to fail your citizenship test, do not worry. You can take the test a second time and if you fail again, you can schedule a citizenship interview instead.
5. Citizenship Ceremony
If you are successful with all of the steps, all you need to do is attend a citizenship ceremony. This event is simply a celebration of your newly acquired citizenship. During the ceremony, you will have to take the Oath of Citizenship, sing the national anthem, and receive your Canadian citizenship application.
Am I Eligible for Canadian Citizenship?
Now that you know how to become a Canadian citizen, you need to make sure that you qualify. There are several people who are disqualified from earning citizenship, they include:
- people who are on parole, probation, or serving a term of imprisonment in the country;
- people who are convicted of a crime outside of Canada;
- people who are on trial for contravening the Citizenship Act or any other offense in Canada;
- people who are to be deported;
- people involved in a war crime or crime against humanity;
- people who have been caught committing fraud in a previous citizenship application;
- people who have lost their citizenship status because of fraud within the last 10 years;
- people who have been convicted of an indictable offense within the past four years before your application;
- people who have been convicted of terrorism, high treason, or spying.
Can I Apply for Urgent Citizenship?
There are some circumstances that will allow you to expedite your citizenship application. You can only apply for urgent processing in the event of an emergency. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada will consider the following reasons as a qualifying emergency:
- the need for citizenship to apply for a job, prevent you from losing your job or apply to a Canadian school, college, or university;
- the need to travel for death or serious illness in the family and you can’t get a passport in your current nationality; and
- if your appeal for a previous citizenship application was found to be a success by a federal court.
How to Become a Canadian Citizen With Our Help
The most important fact that you need to take away from our how to become a Canadian citizen guide is that you must have permanent residence before you can apply for citizenship. That is where we can help you. We have three expert RCICs on our team who know the immigration process like the back of their hands. Through our online evaluation and our RCIC’s expertise, we will be able to find the immigration program that best matches your unique profile.
It is our mission to make your immigration to Canada a success. To begin, simply sign up for our services so that we can begin your online evaluation. Let’s get you to Canada. Start Today!