Applying for Canadian Citizenship

To be eligible to become a Canadian citizen, you must meet the conditions in all these areas:

Age

You must be at least 18 years old to apply.

To apply for citizenship for a child under 18:

  • you must be the child's parent, adoptive parent or legal guardian,
  • the child must be a permanent resident, and
  • one parent must be a Canadian citizen or apply to become a citizen at the same time (this also applies to adoptive parents).

Permanent resident status

You must have permanent resident (PR) status in Canada, have no unfulfilled conditions related to that status, and your PR status must not be in question. This means you must not:

  • be under review for immigration or fraud reasons, or
  • be under a removal order (an order from Canadian officials to leave Canada), or
  • have certain unfulfilled conditions related to your PR status.

You do not need to have a PR card to apply for citizenship. If you have a PR card, but it is expired, you can still apply for citizenship.

Time you have lived in Canada

You must have been physically present in Canada as a permanent resident for at least 1,095 days during the five years immediately before the date of your application. This requirement do not apply to children under 18.

Income tax filing

You must have met your personal income tax filing obligations in three taxation years that are fully or partially within the five years immediately before the date you apply.

Language abilities

Canada has two official languages—English and French. To become a citizen, you must show that you have adequate knowledge of one of these languages. You have to present one of the following evidence:

  • Proof of successful completion of secondary or post-secondary education in English medium of instructions.
  • Proof of language proficiency test IELTS or CELPIP with CLB level 4 in Speaking and Listening skills (expired results are acceptable).
  • Proof of successful completion of Government-funded English as a Second language program such as LINC with CLB level of 4 in Speaking and Listening Skills.

If you are 14 to 55 years of age, you must send documents with your citizenship application that prove you can speak and listen in English or French at this level.

How well you know Canada

To become a citizen, you must understand the rights, responsibilities and privileges of citizenship, such as voting in elections and obeying the law. You must also show, in English or French, that you understand Canada’s:

  • history,
  • values,
  • institutions and
  • symbols.

If you are 14 to 55 years of age, when you apply for citizenship, you will need to take a citizenship test to show you have adequate knowledge of Canada and the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship. It is usually a written test, but it is sometimes taken orally with a citizenship officer.

Prohibitions

If you have committed a crime in or outside Canada you may not be eligible to become a Canadian citizen for a period of time. For example if you:

  • are in prison, on parole or on probation in Canada, or are serving a sentence outside Canada,
  • have been convicted of an indictable offence in Canada or an offence outside Canada in the four years before applying for citizenship, or
  • are charged with, on trial for, or involved in an appeal of an indictable offence in Canada, or an offence outside Canada.

Time in prison or on parole does not count as time you have lived in Canada. Time on probation also does not count if you were convicted of a crime.