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Canada - Citizenship

In order to become a citizen of Canada there are a number of requirements that you must meet before you are advised to apply. Applicants must be a minimum of 18 years of age in order to apply as an individual. Those who are under 18 must have the application made for them by a parent or guardian. One parent must already be a citizen of the country or be applying to become a citizen at the same time.

Applicants must already have permanent resident status. Any doubt on your status will mean that your application cannot proceed. You must also have been resident in the country for a minimum of 3 of the last 4 years before you make your application. This does not apply to those who aged below 18. Not all of this time has to have been as a permanent resident, providing it all falls into the four year window.

There are two official languages in Canada and you must be proficient in at least one of these. You may need to take a language proficiency test in order to prove this. The fees for the test are the responsibility of the applicant. Criminal checks will also be carried out and you will not be able to apply for citizenship if you have been convicted of a criminal offence in the three years prior to your application.

You must have a good knowledge of Canada, such as history, politics and culture. You will be asked to take a citizenship test to prove you knowledge and the citizenship and immigration department of the Canadian government can provide you with a guide on the things that you need to know.

In order to apply for citizenship you must first download or request the application package. This contains an instruction guide that you will need to study carefully before you fill out the forms. Fees are not refundable so if you apply when you are not eligible you will not get your money back. The form should be returned with all the requested documentation. This may include items such as proof of your status as a permanent resident, identification documents such as a passport and driver’s licence – you will usually be asked for two pieces of ID, passport-sized photos and the receipt for the payment of your application fees. If you are applying on behalf of a child then you will also need to include proof of their status as a permanent resident and their birth certificate, as well as ID documents and photos.

Fees for the application are only payable in Canadian dollars. In order to make a payment you can pay online and print the receipt out, or pay at a Canadian financial institution. When you send the application it cannot be dated more than 3 months prior to the date of receipt and applications may not be post dated either. Applications must be sent to the Citizenship and Immigration Department based in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

The citizenship test is applicable to those who are aged between 18 and 54 and who are clearly eligible for citizenship. The test is usually taken in a written format, although you may also be asked to attend an interview with a citizenship officer. The test will assess your knowledge of the country and your ability to use fluently one of the two official languages. When attending for your test you need to take the original documents that you sent with your application and your passport and other travel documents which relate to your time in Canada.

Following a successful application and test you will be invited to attend a citizenship ceremony where you will take an oath and receive your certificate.

When you become a citizen of Canada you do not automatically have to give up your citizenship of your country of origin, but you will need to check the regulations with your home country as they may not permit you to keep your original citizenship if you become a citizen of another country.

There are a number of rights that you automatically have as a Canadian citizen but there are also responsibilities. You are expected to obey the law and take care of yourself and your family. You have the right to serve on a jury and if you are called you are legally obliged to do so. You will have the right to vote in local and national elections and stand for election if you wish to do so.

Useful Resources

Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Tel: 1 888 242 2100

Citizenship Exam

Read more about this country

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