How can you be granted Canadian citizenship after becoming a permanent resident?

Julia Hornstein
Published: March 23, 2023

You must be a permanent resident before you can apply for Canadian citizenship. If you are a permanent resident, this means that you are not under review for immigration or fraud reasons, you are not subject to a removal order and you do not have unfulfilled conditions related to your permanent resident status.

Schedule a Free Canadian Citizenship Consultation with the Cohen Immigration Law Firm

In order to apply for Canadian citizenship, you must meet several criteria:

  • Meet Canada’s physical presence requirements;
  • File your taxes (if necessary);
  • Pass a Canadian citizenship test (if you are between the ages of 18 and 54);
  • Prove your language skills (if you are between the ages of 18 and 54).

Physical presence requirements

Canada’s physical presence requirements require that you have lived in Canada for at least three years out of the past five years before applying for Canadian citizenship. In other words, you must have lived in Canada for a total of 1,095 days.

If you have lived in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person before becoming a permanent resident, you may use some of that time towards the physical presence requirement. Canada allows you to use each day you spent in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person in the last five years to count as a half day, with a maximum of 365 days.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recommends you apply with more than 1,095 days in case there is a problem with your calculation.

File your taxes

You may need to file taxes in Canada for at least three years during the five years before the date you apply for Canadian citizenship.

You may be required to file an income tax return, even if you lived in Canada for only part of the year, if you:

  • Have to pay tax for the year;
  • Want to claim a refund;
  • Want to get benefit and credit payments.

Pass a Canadian citizenship test

If you are between 18 and 54 years old, you will need to take a Canadian citizenship test.

The test is 30 minutes long and consists of 20 questions about the rights and responsibilities of Canadians and questions about Canada’s history, geography, laws, government and more. You may write this test in English or French.

Prove your language ability

If you are between 18 and 54 years old, you will need to prove that you can speak English or French at a Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) level of 4 or higher.

IRCC will measure your language skills in English or French by:

  • Reviewing the proof you submitted in your application;
  • Noting how well you communicate with a citizenship official during the application process;
  • If necessary, assess your language level during a hearing with a citizenship official.
  • IRCC will accept certificates, diplomas and tests as proof of language skills.

Ineligibility for Canadian citizenship

You may be ineligible for Canadian citizenship if you do not meet the eligibility criteria. There are also legal and criminality issues that can make you ineligible for Canadian citizenship. These include:

  • You have had your citizenship taken away within the past five years;
  • You have been convicted of a criminal offence in the past three years;
  • You are in prison, on parole or on probation;
  • You are under removal order from Canada;
  • You are under investigation for, or have been convicted of a war crime or a crime against humanity.

IRCC states that their processing time for a Canadian citizenship application is around 24 months, which includes the processing of the complete application, the citizenship test, interview and ceremony.

Schedule a Free Canadian Citizenship Consultation with the Cohen Immigration Law Firm

© CIC News All Rights Reserved. Visit CanadaVisa.com to discover your Canadian immigration options.

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