Who is a Canadian Citizen? According to the official definition, A Canadian citizen is a person who possesses Canadian citizenship by birth or through the naturalization process under the Canadian Citizenship Act.
How to become a Canadian citizen?
You can acquire Canadian citizenship in the following four ways:
1: Citizenship by Birth
2: Citizenship by bloodline
3: Citizenship by Adoption
4: Citizenship by naturalization
We will briefly explain the first three terms because they are simple and self-explanatory, and will give details to the fourth one because that is what the majority of the immigrants will need help with.
What is Citizenship by Birth?
If you are born in Canada, you are automatically a Canadian citizen, unless you are a child of a representative of a foreign government, an employee of a foreign representative, United Nations employee, or a representative of an international agency.
What is Citizenship by bloodline?
You are a Canadian by bloodline if you are born outside of Canada to a Canadian citizen (either your father or mother is a Canadian). This only applies to first-generation children. For example, if you are born to a Canadian citizen in the Philippines, you are automatically a Canadian citizen, however, if your son was also born in the Philippines, he will not become a Canadian citizen.
However, if a parent is working for the Canadian armed forces or federal or provincial public service abroad, this first-generation rule does not apply.
What is Citizenship by Adoption?
If a Canadian citizen adopts a foreign-born minor child (under 18 years), the child will be treated like his biological child and will be granted citizenship without obtaining permanent residency first.
What is Citizenship by naturalization?
Naturalization means when a permanent resident becomes eligible to apply for a grant of citizenship. eligibility requirements are provided next. Since every year, hundreds of thousands of permanent residents become naturalized Canadian citizens, therefore, we will explain this type of citizenship in detail.
How to become eligible for Canadian Citizenship by Naturalization?
To become eligible for Canadian citizenship, you must have been a permanent resident of Canada and have lived in Canada for 3 years out of the last 5 years. Moreover, you must have filed taxes, passed the citizenship test (required for between the ages of 18 and 54) and met the minimum language requirements.
Let us look into each requirement one by one:
Permanent Residence in Canada: You should have a permanent residence status and Canada and have not lost it, or are under a removal order.
Please note the difference between P.R status and P.R card, your card does not necessarily need to be valid at the time of the application.
Time in Canada: You must have physically spent 3 years in Canada (1095 days) during the last 5 years before the date of your application. Your time as a temporary resident can also be counted as half a time for a maximum of 1 year.
For example, if you have been in Canada for 2 years as a student and then you became a PR and live in Canada for 2 years, you would still be eligible, because your 2 years as a T.R will be counted at a 50% rate which will be converted to 1 year of stay for citizenship.
Income Tax: You must have filed income taxes for the duration of your stay in Canada, especially the one you are counting towards citizenship.
Language: If you are between the ages of 18 and 54 at the time of the citizenship application, you must pass the minimum language requirements (CLB 4) for speaking and listening in either English or French. Most applicants will not need to take a new language test, because IRCC accepts a large number of documents for language proof. For Example, if you have a diploma/transcript/certificate of secondary or post-secondary education in English or French, that would be accepted as proof of language.
Citizenship Test: If you are between the ages of 18 and 54 at the time of the citizenship application, you need to pass the citizenship test. Once your application is accepted and processed, you will be asked to appear for a citizenship test in 30 days. Though the official reading book is small, it is advisable to start studying the book after your citizenship application is accepted.
The book is called “Discover Canada” and is available at the following link: http://bit.ly/3jhW7ss
If you are 55 or over, you are not required to take the test, however, you must appear for an interview with the citizenship officer.
Minors under the age of 18 who has a Canadian parent or who are applying together at the same time, are not required to take a test to appear for the interview. Minors between 14 to 17 without Canadian parents or parents who are applying with the minor together are required to appear for an interview, however, minors under 14 are exempt from both tests and interviews.
The test is either in English or French, 30 minutes long, and has 20 multiple-choice true and false questions, where you must answer 15 questions correctly to pass.
If you are not required to meet the language requirements because of your age, you can request an oral test where the officer will verbally ask you questions so you do not need to read or write on the paper.
What is the difference between a permanent resident and a citizen?
Canadian citizens enjoy more rights and privileges than Canadian permanent residents. Following is a list of a few major differences:
- Permanent Residents Cannot vote or run for political office in Canada, while Canadian citizens can fully participate in politics.
- Permanent Residents Get a PR card, which is only good for re-entry to Canada, while citizens Get a passport to enjoy visa-free travel internationally to 107 countries of the world.
- Permanent Residents must comply with Residency obligations, while Canadian citizens have No residency obligations.
- Permanent Residents Cannot hold certain civil service jobs that require high-security clearance, while citizens Can work in any civil service position if qualified.
- Permanent Residents Can be permanent residents of several countries that ban dual citizenship, while For Citizens, Certain countries can only allow one citizenship (Japan, India, etc.)
- Permanent Residents Can lose permanent residence on several instances such as non-compliance with residency obligations, etc while citizens Cannot lose citizenship unless they renounce it voluntarily.
Once you become eligible for Canadian citizenship, then follow the following steps to obtain Canadian citizenship status:
Step 1) Apply for citizenship,
Step 2) Appear for a Citizenship test, you also need to:
- bring your notice to appear letter,
- PR card (if available)
- Two pieces of IDall your passports and travel documents that you have mentioned on the application form, (current and expired).language proof,
- other documents that are listed and requested in your “notice to appear” letter.
Step 3) immediately after the test, you will have an interview with the citizenship officer. The officer will:
- give you the test results,
- check your language proof,
- verify the details of your citizenship application and check your original documents (if requested)
- make sure you meet all the requirements of citizenship.
- Once you pass, the officer will give you or send you a ceremony date,
Step 4) If you do not pass the written test but are eligible for citizenship, you will be given a second test date (between 1-2 months), if you still do not pass the test, you will be asked to attend a “hearing” with the citizenship official.
- the hearing will be for 30 to 90 minutes,
- will ask you a few test questions,
- If you still fail your 3rd test attempt, your citizenship application will be rejected, and you will be asked to apply again once ready to pass the test.
Step 5) Oath of citizenship and the ceremony
- After you pass your citizenship test, your citizenship ceremony will be scheduled within about 3 months. The exact date and time of your ceremony will be disclosed to you via a notice 1 to 2 weeks before the ceremony.
- Adults and children fourteen and over must go to the citizenship ceremony and take the oath.
- Children under the age of fourteen are not required to attend the ceremony, however, they can attend if they want to. Their citizenship certificates need to be collected by their parents.
- take the oath of citizenship, sign the oath or affirmation of citizenship form, get the citizenship certificate, and finally sing the national anthem of Canada (O Canada).
Difference between Oath of Citizenship and Affirmation of Citizenship:
You have the option of whether you want to use the word “swear” or “affirm” in the oath of citizenship (to use the word I swear (or I affirm)).
Swear is a religious word and may be used if you are referring to your religious belief, and affirm is a non-religious word and can be used by those people who do not want to refer to a particular religious belief.
On a side note, the oath is not taken to show loyalty to a country, constitution, or flag, such as in the US, but it is taken to show loyalty to a Sovereign person that is the living King or Queen of England.
How to organize your time spent inside and outside Canada?
You will need the following information during your Canadian citizenship application, so prepare this information in advance and then input them in the online application:
- Date of signing the citizenship application
- Know the date of the 5 years immediately before signing your application.
- Calculate the total number of days between number 2 and number 1 (minus one day – the day you will sign the application)
- The date you became a permanent resident.
- Calculate the total number of days since you have become a permanent resident.
- Count the total number of days you have been absent from Canada in the 5 years before the application, only counting full days outside of Canada. The day you left and the day you returned to Canada are counted as time physically present in Canada.
- Subtract the total number of days you were absent from the total number of days you were a P.R.
- Calculate all the time you were a temporary resident or a recognized refugee in Canada.
- Calculate all the time you were absent when you were a temporary resident or a recognized refugee.
- Subtract all your temporary residence absence from the total of your temporary residence in Canada.
- Divide all available temporary residence time by “2” because only half of this time is counted towards your citizenship.
- Add the final PR time in Canada and the final T R time in Canada. This is your total physical presence in Canada towards citizenship.
Please note this is the calculation behind the automated calculator, you do not need to do this manually, you just need to collect the dates; while the addition, subtraction and division will be done by the physical presence calculator online. You can access the calculator on the following link: https://eservices.cic.gc.ca/rescalc/startBasicCalc.do
If you want to organize the dates and information, you can also download the paper-based physical presence calculator, by searching the internet: How to calculate physical presence calculator form CIT 0407. I don’t want to give a link to a specific document, in case CIC decides to change the format or replace the document.
Understand the Physical Presence Requirements
The physical presence calculator is used when permanent residents want to apply for citizenship and to prove that they have lived in Canada for 1095 days in the past 5 years immediately before the application.
One of the requirements of becoming a Canadian citizen is meeting the physical presence requirements. It is important to know the following points about your physical presence in Canada:
- A Canadian Residence within the last 5 years immediately before the date of application is considered.
- If you were a legal temporary resident or a refugee in Canada before your permanent residence status, that time counts as half a day up to a maximum of 1 year (365 days). For example, you were a recognized refugee in Canada for 2 years and then you became a permanent resident. For citizenship purposes your 2 years will be counted as half, so the eligible time for your citizenship would be 1 year only.
Your permanent residence time will be counted on a full-day basis, for example, if you spent 2 years as a PR in Canada, your time will be considered 2 years toward citizenship. Your permanent residence time will not be halved.
- If you have spent time in imprisonment, or probation/parole, that time is not counted towards your physical presence, this is a general rule, there are some exceptions to this rule, however, such as youth sentence, conditional discharge of parole, etc. where such residence can be included in the time spent in Canada.