PART - 1
WARNING: LONG POST
Hope you are all doing good and staying safe in these uncertain times.
Its about time – A few people have been requesting me for a detailed post for citizenship (like my post on Express Entry
/ OINP HCPS
). Also, it is almost my time to apply for citizenship (I’ll be applying later this year). Like always, I will do my best to be as correct and accurate as possible, if you find something to be incorrect, PLEASE let me know.
Since (unfortunately) I can't make this as a single post, I'll split it into 6 parts.
This post covers the information required for adults to apply for regular citizenship. There are other processes like fast-track process for Armed Forces personnel and the like but they are out of the scope of this post.
If you are applying as a family and have a minor child, please follow the procedure to apply for citizenship for minor children
IN ADDITION to the steps in this post.
Use this guide as a reference - I will provide links where necessary - It is important to actually open and read the links on the IRCC website. I cannot stress this enough.
Use this guide as a supplement to the IRCC's Instruction Guide
. Like I did for my Express Entry post, I will split my post into phases.
- Pre-Application Phase -> Getting ready to apply / Pre-requisites for submitting a citizenship application
- Application Phase -> Filling out your application / Gathering Documents / Submitting your application package / Tips
- Post-Application Phase -> AOR / Additional Document Requests / Test / Oath and next steps
Irrespective of how we first moved to Canada (student / work / PR / refugee) most of us who moved here have had a goal – applying for Canadian Citizenship. The time is nearing and it is important to understand the process in detail and try not to make any mistakes. The process is a little time consuming – do it once and do it right.
Let’s get to the basics.
Minimum requirements to be able to apply for citizenship:
1. Be a Permanent Resident of Canada
2. Time spent in Canada
- Your PR status must be in good standing (You should not have a fraud investigation / removal order or the like against you). In other words, your PR status should not be in question.
- Note: If your PR card has expired, you can still apply. Your PR status is NOT affected if your PR card expires.
- Naturally, you should have maintained your PR status by being physically present in Canada for at least 2 years in a 5-year period.
3. Filing income taxes in Canada
- Most people should have spent at least 3 years (1095 days) in a 5-year period (physically present in Canada) immediately preceding the date you are signing the citizenship application.
- Every day spent inside Canada in the last 5 years (physically present in Canada) as a Permanent Resident counts as one day towards physical presence.
- Every day spent inside Canada in the last 5 years (physically present in Canada) as a Temporary Resident (Student / Work Visa, for instance) can be calculated as half a day towards physical presence up to a maximum of 365 days only.
- For instance:
- Arthur came in on a work visa on Jan 02 2014.
- He got his PR on Jan 03 2016. He never left the country.
- The number of days as a temporary resident is 730 days.
- He spends 2 years (730 days) in Canada as a permanent resident.
- Arthur can sign and submit his citizenship application on Jan 04 2018.
- He counts each day spent in Canada as a temporary resident as half a day (which amounts to 365 days) and he counts each day spent as a permanent resident as one day (which amounts to 730 days).
- The physical presence calculator is a very handy tool to keep track of your travels and calculate physical presence. It is also mandatory that you keep a track of your travels here so that when it is your time to apply, you can print it and submit it with your application.
- Note 1: If you crossed an international border and returned to Canada the same day, it counts as being physically present in Canada.
- For instance, traveling to US in the morning for shopping and returning to Canada the same evening – this day does count towards physical presence.
- It is important to note that you MUST STILL DISCLOSE these trips in your physical presence calculator.
- Note 2: Similarly, while traveling internationally, the day you leave Canada and the day you return to Canada also counts towards your physical presence.
- For instance, if you left Canada on September 14th and returned on October 5th, September 14th and October 5th will count towards your physical presence.
- Stating the obvious but any day spent outside Canada does NOT count towards physical presence. However, as usual, there are some exceptions (doesn’t apply to the majority of us though).
- Generally, time spent serving a sentence or probation DOES NOT count towards physical presence with some exceptions.
- Do NOT apply with exactly 1095 days. That is the minimum requirement but it is recommended to apply with more days. I’ll explain why later in the post.
Here it comes – something that no one escapes!
4. Language Skills
- You must have filed at least 3 tax returns in the last 5 years from the date you sign your citizenship application. Exceptions apply for very few people.
- The large majority of us WILL NOT be exempt from this.
- Applicants who are of ages 18 – 54 MUST submit proof to substantiate that they can listen and speak at least one of Canada’s 2 official languages English or French.
- More about this later in the post.