The many benefits of becoming a Canadian citizen

Alexandra Miekus
Published: August 7, 2020

Compared to major Western countries, Canada has one of the highest percentages of immigrants who obtain citizenship.

Citizenship refers to a person’s legal status. Canadian citizenship can be obtained either by birth or by a process called “naturalization”.

Immigrants who come and settle in Canada and meet certain criteria may be eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship by naturalization. Being granted Canadian citizenship is the final step in the immigration process for many immigrants. It is a key indicator of successful integration and gives immigrants the opportunity to vote, enter politics and improves employment opportunities.

Find out if you are eligible for any Canadian immigration programs

Canadian citizenship has many benefits

By becoming Canadian citizens, people gain the right to participate in Canadian politics. This right can take the form of participation in federal, provincial and municipal elections as a voter. It can also mean running for election or participating in the management of the different levels of government that exist in Canada.

Becoming a Canadian citizen also provides access to a number of jobs that require a high level of security, such as jobs at the federal level.

In addition, Canadian law allows for dual or multiple citizenships. This means that once a person becomes a Canadian citizen, they do not have to choose between their new citizenship and that of their country of origin.

As well, children born in Canada to parents who are Canadian citizens become Canadian citizens without having to go through an application process.

Finally, Canadian citizens hold a passport, which makes it easier for them to travel to many countries without a visa and makes it simpler to obtain visas if necessary. A passport also reduces the risk of encountering problems when entering Canada.

Who is eligible for Canadian citizenship?

There are various eligibility criteria that an individual must meet in order to apply for Canadian citizenship:

  •  They must have Canadian permanent resident status;
  •  They must have lived in Canada for at least three years (or for at least 1,095 days) out of the past five years before applying;
  •  They must be able to speak either one or both of Canada’s two official languages (English or French) well enough to communicate in Canadian society;
  •  They cannot have a criminal history considered prohibitive to granting Canadian citizenship; and
  •  They must pass a test to prove they are aware of the rights and responsibilities of citizens and have a basic knowledge of Canada’s geography, political system, and history.

The Government requests that documents be provided as evidence to support the above eligibility criteria. After that, one of the most important steps is to take a citizenship test and pass a citizenship interview, both of which usually takes place after an application is submitted.

The majority of eligible immigrants become citizens

Canada recognizes the importance of immigrants and relies significantly on immigration to develop its economy and strengthen its social fabric.

It provides strong settlement services to immigrants selected for permanent residence that promote their participation in all aspects of Canadian society, which contributes to their success and to their transition to Canadian citizenship.

At the same time, when naturalized immigrants are compared to non-naturalized immigrants who are permanent residents, studies confirm that the acquisition of citizenship has a positive effect on immigrants’ earnings and labour market outcomes.

While the share of immigrants who become Canadian citizens varies considerably by the period of immigration taken into account and other factors such as education and income, for instance, most immigrants who qualify for Canadian citizenship eventually acquire it.

Get help applying for Canadian citizenship

© 2020 CIC News All Rights Reserved

Share this article
Share your voice
Did you find this article helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Did you find this article helpful?
Please provide a response
Thank you for your helpful feedback
Please contact us if you would like to share additional feedback, have a question, or would like Canadian immigration assistance.
  • Do you need Canadian immigration assistance? Contact the Contact Cohen Immigration Law firm by completing our form
  • Send us your feedback or your non-legal assistance questions by emailing us at
Related articles
Canada Dental Care Plan will soon open to more Canadian residents
Newcomer families with children may now qualify for free dental care.
Where to find your cultural community in Canada
A group of multiracial friends chilling together
What benefits do Canadian tax-filers enjoy?
Canadian dollar bills in addition to T4 and T4A tax slips.
Study: Immigrants admitted to Canada as children have better education and work outcomes
A group of people raising their hands in triumph in an office building.
Top Stories
What are my chances of receiving a work permit through the IEC this year?
Ontario, British Columbia and Saskatchewan invite candidates for nomination in latest draws
Canadian Immigration Lawyers Association recommends IRPA legislation reform
Join our free newsletter. Get Canada's top immigration stories delivered to your inbox.
More in Canada
Canadian Immigration Lawyers Association recommends IRPA legislation reform
A young family at home having fun on sofa.
Canadian and United States border authorities crack down on flagpoling
A picture of the border crossing to Canada.
Donald Trump may now be inadmissible to enter Canada
A picture of a gavel and scales, in a court room.
Canada Dental Care Plan will soon open to more Canadian residents
Newcomer families with children may now qualify for free dental care.
Link copied to clipboard