New citizens to Canada take the oath of citizenship at a citizenship ceremony

Bill C-6, an act amending the Canadian Citizenship Act, has officially passed into law, placing current and future immigrants to Canada on a faster pathway to one of the world’s most desired citizenships.

C-6 received parliamentary Royal Assent in Ottawa, the nation’s capital, on the evening of June 19, 2017.

Despite the passage of the bill into law, it should be noted that not all measures would come into force immediately. Notably, the change in the residency days requirement — from four out of six years, to three out of five — has not yet come into effect, though the government plans on implementing this new measure in the fall.

Below is an outline of the changes expected with the new Citizenship Act, and the periods these changes are expected to come into effect. The most recent changes to the act afford many immigrants to Canada and their loved ones more favorable citizenship eligibility requirements, in alignment with the vision of a more inclusive naturalization process that benefits newcomers and the Canadian economy alike.

Immediate changes as of June 19, 2017

  • Dual citizens living in Canada who are convicted of treason, spying or terrorism offences will face the Canadian justice system, like other Canadian citizens who break the law. Previously, the government retained the right to revoke such individuals’ citizenship.
  • Applicants who might need to work or live outside of Canada for work or personal reasons are no longer required to present a formal intention to continue to living in Canada once granted citizenship.
  • Minors (aged under 18 years) can now apply for citizenship without a Canadian parent, as the age requirement for citizenship has been removed.
  • Individuals serving a conditional sentence will not be granted citizenship or be able to count this time towards meeting the physical presence requirements for citizenship.
  • Statelessness is now considered a stand-alone ground for a discretionary grant of citizenship.
  • It is now a requirement to take into consideration reasonable measures to accommodate the needs of a disabled person applying for citizenship.
  • All applicants are required to remain eligible throughout the process, from the moment they apply, up to and including the moment they take the Oath of Citizenship.

Expected changes to take effect in Fall/Autumn 2017

  • Applicants must be physically present in Canada for three out of five years (1,095 days), rather than the previous four out of six years, before applying for citizenship.
  • In alignment to the new physical presence requirement, applicants must file Canadian income taxes, if required to do so under the Income Tax Act, for three out of five years, rather than previous four out of six years.
  • Applicants no longer have to be physically present in Canada for 183 days in four out of six years before applying when considering residency years preceding a citizenship application.
  • Time spent in Canada as a temporary resident, such as on a work or study permit or as a protected person, prior to becoming a permanent resident can now count a portion of this time towards the physical presence requirement for citizenship, up to a maximum credit of 365 days where each day counts as 0.5 days.
  • Applicants between 18 and 54 years — rather than the previous 14 and 64 years — must meet the language and knowledge requirements for citizenship.

Expected changes to take effect early 2018

  • The Federal Court — unless otherwise requested — is the decision-maker in all revocation cases, including grounds of false representation, fraud, or knowingly concealing material circumstances, which were previously decided on by the Minister.
  • There is now clear authorization for Citizenship Officers to seize fraudulent or suspected fraudulent documents.

Many of the amended changes present in Bill C-6 are intended to enhance the citizenship process and revoke provisions that promoted perceived unequal treatment of some citizens in certain cases.

With C-6 now law, and some of its measures now in effect, readers can find out if they are eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship using the CanadaVisa Citizenship Calculator.

To find out more about applying for Canadian citizenship, please send an email to citizenship@canadavisa.com. Please include information about your time as a Canadian permanent resident, as well as any information about previous time spent in Canada with temporary status.

To find out if you are eligible to immigrate to Canada through one of the currently available programs, please fill out a free online assessment today.