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A Guide To Canadian Citizenship Requirements And Who Can Apply

Updated: October 18th, 2022

You’ve watched the home channels showcasing Canadian suburbia at its best, you've drooled at the posts documenting the country’s vibrant foodie culture and you’ve read the reports of all the promising job prospects available in the Great White North over the last few months. If that’s not a sign that Canada’s calling, we don’t know what is! With the Canadian government’s goal of welcoming 1.23 million immigrants to become permanent residents by 2023, the time has never been better to set off on your journey to becoming a Canuck. So let's explore all the Canadian Citizenship requirements and get you on your way to frolicking amongst the maple leaves, eh!

What Do I Have To Do To Be Eligible For Canadian Citizenship?


In order to qualify for Canadian citizenship, you will have to meet the requirements set by the Government of Canada. You have to:

  • Have Canadian permanent resident status
  • Have lived in the country for at least three years out of a five-year period
  • Take and pass a test for citizenship
  • Demonstrate proficiency in English and/or French

It’s important to note that there will be additional Canadian citizenship requirements under the following circumstances:

  • If you apply for someone under the age of 18
  • If you’re a Canadian citizen wanting to apply for citizenship for a child you’re adopting from another country
  • If you are or have been in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and apply via a set fast-track process
  • If you’re a former citizen of Canada and would like to become one again

What If I’m A Spouse Of A Canadian Citizen?

Being married to a Canadian citizen does not grant you automatic citizenship. You’ll have to meet all the same criteria as everyone else who wishes to apply.

What About Children And Grandchildren Of Canadian Citizens?

If you have a parent or grandparent who is Canadian, there’s a good chance that you’re also a Canadian citizen. If you were born in another country to one or two parents who were born in Canada or became a citizen before your birth.

Canadian Citizenship Requirements Explained

Let's take a look at the Canadian citizen requirements below.

Permanent Resident Status

Irrespective of how old you are, you’ll have to have obtained Canadian permanent residency if you are going to apply to become a citizen of the Great White North. Note, however, that there are a number of things that will be reviewed in your application for Canadian citizenship.

Your application could be rejected if you:

  • Are being investigated or are found guilty of immigration, fraud or other criminal offenses
  • Are out on parole, probation, or currently incarcerated
  • Have at any point been ordered to exit Canada via a removal order
  • Have not met the requirements for permanent residency
  • Have not adhered to the terms and conditions of your permanent residency

Time Spent Living In Canada (physical presence)

This refers to time physically spent living in Canada. It is advised that you should try to apply for Canadian citizenship only once you have spent over 1,095 days in the country. This applies to minors as well. Spending extra days up north will count in your favour.

Top Tip: You can track your time spent outside of Canada by keeping a travel log book. This will assist in keeping track of your time spent in the country.

Language Requirements

When it comes to official languages, Canadians have two - English and French. Adults aged 18 to 54 will have to prove that they are proficient in one or both of these languages. Your language proficiency will be examined by means of:

  • Checking the proof you submitted with your application package
  • Observing the manner in which you engage with citizenship officials during your application process
  • Examining your level of proficiency in a session with a relevant official

To be eligible for Canadian citizenship, you’ll have to meet the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) Level four or higher. By being able to do this shows that you are able to:

  • Communicate effectively, when it comes to day-to-day engagement
  • Follow basic instructions, questions as well as directions
  • Communicate using at least a basic level of grammar and construct simple sentences
  • Have a basic vocabulary

The Canadian Citizenship Test

As with the language tests, you’ll have to take a Canadian citizenship test if you are 18 and older. The test will be conducted in either French or English. It runs for a duration of 30 minutes and consists of 20 multiple choice questions. You’ll have to get 15 of them correct to pass. You will have to have knowledge of:

  • Canadian history
  • Canadian geography
  • The economic climate in Canada
  • The government of Canada
  • Canadian regulations and laws
  • Relevant Canadian signs, symbols, etc

Canadian Income Tax In Canada

There’s a chance you’ll have to submit your tax returns in Canada for a minimum of three out of five years before applying for Canadian citizenship. Make sure that you find out if you are due to file tax returns, and if you are, make sure you know which income tax package to use, how to submit your tax returns and by when to do it.

You should submit a tax return if you:

  • Are eligible to pay taxes for the 12 month period
  • Need a tax refund
  • Require tax breaks or benefits

Now That You’ve Ticked All The Boxes


Your move to apply to become a Canadian citizen is probably the best one you’ll ever make. While the application process may be daunting and filled with complicated paperwork, you’ll find that things go smoothly once you know what to expect and have conducted thorough research on all of the requirements. Because the application can take over a year to process, you need to make every effort to submit a complete application package. Remember, the effort will be worth it, so put in the work to reap the reward of obtaining Canadian citizenship.

Ready To Start your Journey?

Our team of Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) are here to guide you through each step of your Canadian Citizenship application process. With so many opportunities waiting in Canada, don't wait another day. Apply for Canadian citizenship today!


Do I Need To Be In Possession Of A Valid PR Card To Be Able To Apply For Canadian Citizenship?

No, you won’t require a valid PR card for your Canadian citizenship application. You are allowed to apply with an expired one.

What If I’ve Committed A Criminal Offense In Another Country?

If you have been found guilty of a crime outside of Canada, it’s possible that you won't qualify for citizenship for a determined amount of time.

What Happens If My Application Is Found To Be Incomplete?

If officials find your application to be complete, it will be returned to you, along with a letter detailing what is incomplete and how to fix this. The letter could identify any missing paperwork or fees and will inform you whether a new set of paperwork will be required.

What Happens If I Fail My Canada Citizenship Test?

If your attempt at the Canadian citizenship test is unsuccessful, you'll be able to take it again in about four to eight weeks. the test four to eight weeks later. If this happens a second time round, you could be instructed to attend an interview with a citizenship official.

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