How to become a Canadian citizen

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How to become a Canadian citizen

Who can become a Canadian citizen

To become a Canadian citizen

You must be a permanent resident of Canada and 18 years of age or older

Children under 18 years of age and persons adopted by Canadians can also become citizens, but they do not have to meet the same requirements as adults (see “Applying for children” and “Citizenship for persons adopted outside Canada”).
You must have lived here for at least three years

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You must have lived in Canada for at least three years (1,095 days) in the four years immediately before you apply for citizenship. For example, if you applied for citizenship on June 1, 2011, we would count back to June 1, 2007. Each day you lived in Canada AFTER you became a permanent resident counts as one day of residence. Each day you lived in Canada BEFORE you became a permanent resident counts as half a day of residence.

Canada has two official languages — English and French. If you are applying as an adult and are between 18 and 54 years of age, you must successfully demonstrate an adequate knowledge of English or French to become a Canadian citizen. Adequate knowledge is defined as the ability to speak and understand basic statements and questions in the given language.
You must demonstrate knowledge of Canada

You must understand the rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship, such as voting in elections, obeying the law, and helping others in the community. You must also demonstrate knowledge of Canada’s government, history, symbols and geography. If you are applying as an adult and are not yet 55 years of age, you will need to pass the citizenship test, which could be a written test or an interview with a citizenship judge. When we begin to process your application, we will send you an acknowledgment letter and a copy of the citizenship study guide Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship. This guide will help you prepare for your citizenship written test and/or interview. The guide is also available on our official website and can be consulted any time.
Applying for children

Parents or persons who have custody may apply for citizenship on behalf of minor children (under 18 years of age). One parent, including an adoptive parent, must already be a Canadian citizen or must be applying to become a citizen at the same time. If a child has a Canadian legal guardian but no Canadian parent (natural or adoptive), the child is not eligible for citizenship. To become citizens, minor children need to be permanent residents but do not need to have lived in Canada for three years. Minor children do not have to write the citizenship test or meet the language requirement.
Citizenship for persons adopted outside Canada

Foreign-born persons adopted by a Canadian citizen on or after January 1, 1947 may be eligible for citizenship without having to either become permanent residents or live in Canada. For information on the citizenship process for adopted persons, please contact us (see “Contact Information” at the end of this publication).

Who cannot become a Canadian citizen

In general, you cannot become a Canadian citizen if:

you are in prison, on parole or on probation (serving a sentence);
in the past four years, you were in prison, on parole or on probation for more than a year;
you were convicted of an indictable offence (a crime) under any Act of Parliament, or an offence under the Citizenship Act, in the three years preceding your application;
you are currently charged with an indictable offence (a crime) under any Act of Parliament, or an offence under the Citizenship Act;
you are under a removal order (instructed by Canadian officials to leave Canada);
you are under investigation for, are charged with, or have been convicted of a war crime or a crime against humanity; or
your Canadian citizenship has been taken away (revoked) in the past five years.

The items listed above are prohibitions—factors that could prevent you from becoming a Canadian citizen. The application form contains questions on these prohibitions, and you must answer them truthfully when you apply for citizenship. If you think you may not qualify because you have been charged with a crime or you have a criminal record, or if you need more information on this subject, contact us (see “Contact Information” at the end of this publication).
How to apply to become a Canadian citizen

To apply to become a Canadian citizen, follow the six steps below.

1. Make sure you have the right application form

To apply to become a Canadian citizen, you must complete the appropriate application form and follow the instructions in the relevant guide.

If you are an adult (18 years of age or older), you must complete the “Application for Canadian Citizenship – Adults” form. If you are applying for your children (under 18 years of age), you must complete the “Application for Canadian Citizenship – Minors” form. A separate form must be completed for each child.

You must download and print the application form and guide

2. Read the application guide

Read the instructions in the application guide carefully; they will help you complete the citizenship application form.
Application processing fees are not refundable, so make sure you are eligible to become a citizen before you apply. See Question 3 at the end of this publication.

3. Complete the application form

The application form contains instructions. Read the instructions carefully. Complete the form, pay the fees, provide the required photographs and attach photocopies of the documents listed in the document checklist. The instruction guide will tell you how to complete the form and what documents you need to include. You will have to show the original documents at the time of your test and/or interview and at the ceremony.

If your documents are not in English or French, you must provide the originals, translations and an affidavit from the person who did each translation. Translations by family members are not acceptable.

Remember to:

sign and date the form;
include the receipt of payment (online receipt or IMM 5401 form);
include your application form;
include your photographs;
include photocopies of all your documents; and
provide the original translations of your documents, if applicable.

If you are applying for more than one person, you can submit all the forms and documents in the same envelope and they will be processed together. For example, family members who want their applications to be processed at the same time must send all applications in the same envelope. If they are sent in different envelopes, they will be processed separately. You may also provide one payment receipt for the entire family.

4. Mail the application form and documents

After you have completed the application form, mail it to:

Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Case Processing Centre
P.O. Box 7000
Sydney NS
B1P 6V6

Your application will be returned to you if:

it is signed more than three months before we receive it;
it is post-dated (dated into the future); or
it is incomplete, missing information or missing the required documents listed in the document checklist.

5. Get ready for the test or interview

Once we begin processing your application, we will send you a copy of Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship, the citizenship study guide. The study guide is also available on CIC’s website at www.cic.gc.ca, where you can:

download it as a PDF, eBook or mobile app;
listen to the audio; or
order a printed copy.

Start studying as soon as possible to prepare for your citizenship test or possible subsequent interview. If you meet the basic requirements for citizenship and you are between the ages of 18 and 54, we will send you a “Notice to Appear to Write a Citizenship Test” or a “Notice to Appear – Hearing with a Citizenship Judge” telling you the location, date and time of your test or interview.

When you come for the written test or interview, you must bring the originals (personal identification, immigration documents, etc.) of the photocopies you submitted with your application and all your passports or travel documents relevant to the four years preceding your application. The citizenship test and/or subsequent interview with the citizenship judge will assess your knowledge of Canada and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
6. Take the oath of citizenship at a citizenship ceremony

The citizenship ceremony is legally and symbolically important. At the ceremony, new citizens are formally welcomed into the Canadian family and they formally accept the rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship.

If you meet all the requirements to become a Canadian citizen, we will send you a “Notice to Appear to Take the Oath of Citizenship” telling you when and where your citizenship ceremony will take place. All citizenship candidates 14 years and older are required to show their faces when they take the oath of citizenship to demonstrate that they are speaking aloud the words of the oath. At the ceremony, you may choose to either swear on a holy book or to affirm the oath of citizenship. Swearing is for people who would like to refer to their religious beliefs, while affirming is for those who do not want to use a holy book during the ceremony. If you want to swear the oath of citizenship on a holy book of your choice, please bring it with you to the ceremony.

You must bring all original immigration documents in your possession to the citizenship ceremony. If you have a permanent resident card, you must bring it. If you became a permanent resident before June 28, 2002, you must bring your immigration Record of Landing (IMM 1000). If you have both of these documents, bring both of them to the ceremony.

Once you have taken the oath at a citizenship ceremony, you will be a Canadian citizen. You will also receive your citizenship certificate. It is neither a travel document nor an identity document. Any Canadian citizen wanting to travel outside Canada must obtain a Canadian passport.



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