With Canada’s fantastic quality of life, inclusive society, beautiful nature, thriving economy and world-leading infrastructure, it’s no surprise that a vast amount of international immigrants move to Canada with the expressed intent of becoming Canadian citizens.
Are you looking to become a Canadian citizen? The Canadian Citizenship Application process can be pretty daunting, but with the proper guidance, it can be made much more accessible.
To help get you the best start on your citizenship application, this page covers the 5-step process of getting your Canadian citizenship, including who is eligible to use, the application process, how to prepare for the citizenship test, and tips for a successful application.
The Canadian Citizenship Application Process
The Canadian Citizenship Application process is an administrative procedure that allows eligible applicants to gain Canadian citizenship. The process involves several steps, including ensuring your eligibility, submitting an application, taking a citizenship test, going through an interview, and taking an oath of citizenship.
Step 1: Ensure Your Eligibility
To be eligible for Canadian citizenship, applicants must meet specific criteria. In general, applicants must:
- Be 18 or older
- Have lived and filed taxes in Canada for at least 1,095 days out of the past five years.
- Have permanent residency status and the right to remain in Canada.
- Demonstrate knowledge of English or French.
- Pass a Canadian citizenship test.
These criteria also apply if you are married to a Canadian citizen. Marrying a Canadian citizen doesn’t automatically qualify you for Canadian citizenship. Here is a list of acts that will deem you inadmissible to Canada.
If you’re unsure whether you’re eligible for Canadian citizenship and want to be sure that you are eligible before you start the long journey to becoming a Canadian citizen, it’s always best to utilize the help of an expert. Our team of Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) can fully evaluate you to see if you can become a Canadian citizen.
Step 2: Complete Your Application Process
There are two primary ways to apply for Canadian citizenship. You are only allowed to apply via one of the application pathways.
You can apply on paper by sending your application and all required documentation to the Canadian citizenship offices in Sydney, Nova Scotia. If you are applying with another person, like a partner or family member, you must put all of your applications in the same envelope so they can be processed simultaneously.
However, the far more popular and recommended route to Canadian citizenship is to apply online via the Canadian government website. This option is often far faster and easier for many applicants as they don’t have to rely on postal services to ensure the application is delivered.
To apply, you must create an online citizenship profile on the Canadian government website.
You can also apply for Canadian citizenship online as a family or group. To do this, you must be invited to the group via email or your online citizenship account by the group. However, if you have any dependent children under 18, you can only apply for citizenship on paper.
You are allowed to utilize the help of an immigration representative like an RCIC. However, you must create your citizenship account, and your representative isn’t allowed access to your password, nor can they date, sign or submit your application on your behalf.
Applicants must complete the official application form and provide all the necessary documents and information. This includes:
- A completed application form,
- Proof of identity,
- Proof of permanent residence status, and
- Other documents the Canadian government may require.
Once all the papers have been submitted, applicants will be given a date for their citizenship test.
Step 3: Pass the Canadian Citizenship Test
All applicants for Canadian citizenship between the ages of 18 and 54 must pass the Canadian citizenship test. The Canadian citizenship test is an integral part of the application process. It is designed to assess applicants’ knowledge of Canada and their ability to communicate in either English or French.
The test is approximately 30 minutes long and consists of 20 multiple-choice or true or false questions. The test questions will specifically test an applicant’s knowledge of the following:
- Canadian History
- Canadian geography
- The economic climate in Canada
- The government of Canada
- Canadian regulations and laws
- Relevant Canadian signs and symbols
To prepare for the test, applicants should take the time to study the official study guide and practice the questions provided. It is also essential to familiarise yourself with the Canadian Citizenship Act, which the test will cover.
If you don’t pass the test on your first try, you can take the test a second or third time. This will take place for approximately four to eight weeks. If you fail your test three times, the Canadian government will refuse your application, and you will have to re-apply.
Here are a few helpful tips to help you get the best out of your citizenship test.
Step 4: Sit the Canadian Citizenship Interview
Once applicants have passed the citizenship test, they will be invited to attend a citizenship interview. During the interview, applicants will be asked questions about their application, their knowledge of Canada, and their plans for the future.
In addition, the interviewer will assess the applicant’s communication skills and understanding of Canadian values. Therefore, preparing for the interview is essential, as it is a crucial part of the process.
You will be informed about the location, date and time of your interview approximately two weeks before your interview date. You can contact the Canadian government via email if you aren’t available for that date.
This table explains whether or not you need to sit an interview:
|Must They Interview
|Adult 18 to 54 years of age
|Adult over 55
|Minor under 18 with a Canadian parent or a parent applying with them
|No (with a few exceptions)
|Minor aged 14 - 17 without a Canadian parent or a parent with them
|Minor under 14 without a Canadian parent or a parent applying at the same time
|No (with a few exceptions)
Step 5: Take The Canadian Citizenship Oath
After the interview, applicants will be invited to take the Canadian citizenship oath. This is the final step in the application process and is vital to becoming a Canadian citizen.
Before taking the oath, applicants will be given a copy of the Citizenship Act, which they must read and understand. Once they have taken the pledge, they will officially be a Canadian citizen.
After You Apply
After you apply, the Canadian government will check to see if your application is complete. If it is, they will send you an acknowledgement of receipt (AOR).
If your application is successful, you will receive your Canadian citizenship certificate. As of January 4, 2023, all applicants can elect to receive their certification electronically or on paper. You can choose which option you’d prefer on your online account.
Tips for a Successful Canadian Citizenship Application
As the Canadian citizenship application process can be long, here are some tips to ensure your application goes as smoothly as possible:
- Be organized. Make sure to keep all of your documents organized and up-to-date.
- Prepare for the citizenship test. Make sure to study the official study guide and practice the questions provided.
- Be prepared for the interview. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the Canadian Citizenship Act and be ready to answer questions about your application and your knowledge of Canada.
- Follow the instructions. Make sure to read the instructions carefully and follow them to the letter.
- Get help. Don’t hesitate to get help from a qualified professional like an RCIC if you need it.
How Long Does It Take To Process A Canadian Citizenship Application?
The processing time for a Canadian citizenship application can vary depending on the number of applications being processed and the complexity of the application. Generally, it can take anywhere from 6 months to a year for an application to be processed. Learn more about Canadian immigration processing times here.
How Much Does It Cost To Apply For Canadian Citizenship?
The cost of applying for Canadian citizenship is 630 CAD. This fee covers processing the application and taking the citizenship test.
Are There Any Exemptions From The Language Requirements?
Yes, there are some exemptions from the language requirements. For example, applicants over 55 who have resided in Canada for at least 15 years are exempt from the language requirements. Here’s a full breakdown of Canada’s language requirements.
Make Canada Your Home
Now that we’ve looked at the process from start to finish, from who is eligible to apply for the oath of citizenship, it’s time to start your journey to Canadian citizenship. Getting expert help can help you ensure your process goes as smoothly as possible.
Our RCIC’s can help evaluate your eligibility, fill out your application forms, help you organise your relevant documentation, represent you and follow up on your application after it’s been submitted and provide you with the guidance and support you need through every step of the process.