How to Become a Canadian CitizenMany new immigrants arriving in Canada hope one day to become Canadian citizens.
After the decision to emigrate, taking Canadian citizenship is often the most important immigration decision a person can make.
Why Take Citizenship?Canada is consistently ranked among the very best places in the world to live. It is a sound democracy, with strict adherence to rights and freedoms. Canada has a reliable currency, an excellent business climate and culture enriched by countless multicultural influences. Also, in the post 9/11 world, international mobility is becoming more difficult. A reliable Canadian passport makes travel easier and facilitates entry into foreign lands.
Another reason more people are taking out citizenship is new restrictions on permanent residents, obligating them to be resident in Canada 730 days out of every five year period. Once citizenship is attained, these restrictions no longer apply, and individuals can return to their country of birth for an indefinite period of time without ever worrying about not being let back into Canada.
Becoming a Canadian citizenTo become a Canadian citizen you must:
> Be 18 years of age or older
> Be a permanent resident of Canada
> Have lived in Canada for at least three of the four years before applying
> Be able to communicate in either English or French
> Know about Canada
> Know about the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
You cannot apply for Canadian citizenship if you:
> Are under a removal order
> Are currently charged with an indictable criminal offence
> Have been convicted of an indictable criminal offence in the past three years
> Are currently in prison, on parole, or on probation
> Are being investigated for or have been convicted of war crimes
> Have had your citizenship revoked in the last five years.
Citizenship testIf you are between 18 and 54 you must pass a test that examines your knowledge about Canada and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) kindly provides all applicants with a study guide to help them prepare.
Once your application is approved and you have passed your citizenship test, the final step to becoming a Canadian citizen is taking your citizenship oath. At that moment, you will cease to become a permanent resident and will from that day forward be a Canadian citizen.
Residency requirementsA common problem that applicants face when considering citizenship is calculating the requirement to reside in Canada for three years (1095 days) out of four years prior to applying. An applicant will get credit for every day that he or she resides in Canada after becoming a permanent resident.
An applicant will also receive credit for half of one day for each day he or she resided in Canada prior to becoming a permanent resident. When adding up these days, it is important to remember that only days within the immediate four years prior to your application date will count. Any time spent on probation, as a paroled inmate or in jail will not count towards the three-year requirement.
Special CircumstancesWithin the Citizenship Act there are a number of safeguards that allow the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, or a citizenship judge to approve an application for citizenship when an applicant does not meet all of the requirements in special circumstances.
How Long Will it Take?CIC currently estimates that applications for citizenship will take 25-35 months. If you require special consideration or have any complications in your application, seek professional advice.
Article courtesy of Ryan Rosenberg & Steven Meurrens, Canadian Immigration Lawyers based in Vancouver BC.
Copywright 2014 © No text or graphical material may be copied without the express written permission of Larlee Rosenberg.