Becoming a Canadian Citizen

Becoming a Canadian Citizen

Canadians are proud to hold one of the most prized citizenships in the world. 

If you want to become a Canadian citizen, you must:

  • Determine if you are eligible to become a citizen
  • Apply for citizenship
  • Verify the status of your application and prepare for the citizenship test
  • Use the citizenship study guide entitled Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship to prepare for your test
  • Take the citizenship test, if you are between the ages of 14 and 64 (at the time you applied)
  • Attend a citizenship ceremony, if you are 14 or older

To be eligible to become a Canadian citizen, you must meet the requirements in all of the following areas:


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 1,460 days during the six years immediately before the date of your application. You must also be physically present for at least 183 days during each of four calendar years that are fully or partially within the six years immediately before the date of application. These requirements do not apply to children under 18.

Exceptions to these requirements apply for certain Crown servants and certain family members of Crown servants.When calculating time you have lived in Canada, you can only count time spent after you became a permanent resident of Canada. Use CIC online tool to find out if you have lived in Canada long enough to apply to become a citizen.

Income Tax Filing

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

Intent to Reside

You must declare your intent to reside during the citizenship application process.

To become a citizen, you must indicate your intention to:

  • Live in Canada
  • Work outside Canada as a Crown servant or live abroad with certain family members who are Crown servan

Once you become a Canadian citizen, you have the right to enter, remain in, or leave Canada, one of the basic rights of citizenship.

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. In general, this means you can:

  • Take part in short, everyday conversations about common topics
  • Understand simple instructions, questions and directions
  • Use basic grammar, including simple structures and tenses
  • Show that you know enough common words and phrases to answer questions and express yourself

If you are 14 to 64 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. The citizenship application guide contains the type of proof we will accept.

Second, we will note how well you communicate to staff or a citizenship officer during your interview.

A citizenship officer will make the final decision on your application, including how well you can communicate in English or French.

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
  • Symbols

If you are 14 to 64 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. All you need to know for the test is in the free study guide, Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship.  The questions in the citizenship test are based on this study guide.


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
  • 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.

Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada

AEIP Active Engagement & Integration Project

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