Friday, 7 June 2013

How to Become a Canadian Citizen

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 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.

To find out when you can apply for citizenship, use the online Residence Calculator, available on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website at www.cic.gc.ca, or contact the CIC Call Centre (see “Contact Information” at the end of this publication).

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 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.

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.

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).

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; oryour 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).

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

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 from the CIC website at www.cic.gc.ca.

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.

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.

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); orit is incomplete, missing information or missing the required documents listed in the document checklist.

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; ororder 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.

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.

You should notify CIC right away. You can change your address online at www.cic.gc.ca or you can contact the CIC Call Centre (see “Contact Information” at the end of this publication). When you change your address, you will have to provide both your old and new addresses.

The fee for adults is C$200, which includes a C$100 processing fee and a C$100 right of citizenship fee. For children under 18, there is a C$100 processing fee only.

If you do not meet all the requirements to become a Canadian citizen, we will send you a letter explaining the decision and what you can do next.

If an adult is not granted citizenship, we will refund the C$100 right of citizenship fee. However, the C$100 processing fee is non-refundable.

If a minor child is not granted citizenship, the C$100 processing fee is non-refundable.

For information about the status of your citizenship application, or to find out how long it takes to become a Canadian citizen, visit the CIC website at www.cic.gc.ca or contact the CIC Call Centre (see “Contact Information” at the end of this publication).

Only people between the ages of 18 and 54 must take the citizenship test (written or oral, or both). If you are 55 or older, you do not have to take the test, although you will be scheduled to appear at the local office for a review of your original documents (personal identification, immigration documents, etc.) you submitted with your application and your passport or travel documents relevant to the four years preceding your application. You may also be scheduled to appear for an interview with a citizenship judge. Children who are under 18 years of age at the time of application do not have to take the citizenship test.

Applicants who are 14 and older must attend the citizenship ceremony to take the oath of citizenship, including applicants 55 or older. Children under the age of 14 are not required to take the oath of citizenship, although they are welcome to attend the ceremony.

Under Canadian law, a Canadian is allowed to be a citizen of another country as well. Some countries, however, will not let you keep their citizenship if you become a Canadian citizen. The consulate or embassy of your other country of citizenship can let you know if this applies to you.

During the processing of your application, you must attend a series of events in order to meet all of the requirements to become a citizen. We will mail you notices telling you when and where to go for the citizenship test, interview (if applicable) and citizenship ceremony. All events take place in Canada. If you do not appear for any of these events, your file may be closed. You will then have to re-apply, pay the fees and go through the entire process again.

As a reminder, if you know in advance that you will be absent, please contact the CIC Call Centre (see “Contact Information” at the end of this publication).

If you are uncertain about whether you are a Canadian citizen, we encourage you to use our online self-assessment tool before applying for a proof of Canadian citizenship. To use the online tool, visit the CIC website at www.cic.gc.ca, and proceed to the “Apply for Citizenship” section.

In general, if you were born in Canada, you are a Canadian citizen. If you were born in Canada after February 14, 1977, and at the time of your birth, your parents were not Canadian citizens or permanent residents, and at least one parent had diplomatic status in Canada, you are not a citizen. If you were born in Canada before February 15, 1977, to a parent who was a foreign diplomat in Canada, contact CIC for more information on eligibility.

In general, you are a Canadian citizen if you became a citizen through the naturalization process in Canada (i.e., you were a permanent resident [a landed immigrant] before you became a citizen).

In general, you are a Canadian citizen if you were born outside Canada and one of your parents was a Canadian citizen at the time of your birth, and that parent was either born in Canada or naturalized in Canada (“naturalized” means that the parent was a permanent resident [a landed immigrant] before becoming a citizen). You are the first generation born outside Canada.

You may be a Canadian citizen if you were born outside Canada between January 1, 1947, and April 16, 2009, inclusive, to a Canadian parent who was also born outside Canada to a Canadian parent (you are the second or subsequent generation born outside Canada). If you think this may apply to you and you need more information, please contact us (see “Contact Information” at the end of this publication).

If you were a British subject residing in Canada when the Canadian Citizenship Act came into force on January 1, 1947, or you were born outside Canada to a British subject parent who might have become a citizen on that date, contact us to find out how to confirm whether or not you are a citizen (see “Contact Information” at the end of this publication).

You can obtain information on CIC’s programs and services at www.cic.gc.ca. If you are in Canada, you can contact the CIC Call Centre at 1-888-242-2100 (toll free). The automated voice response system can provide you with answers to general questions 24 hours a day. You can also speak to an agent between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. your local time.

If you are hard of hearing and you use a text telephone, you can access the TTY service at 1-888-576-8502 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., your local time.

If you are outside Canada, contact the Canadian embassy, high commission or consulate responsible for your region.

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, 2012
ISBN 978-1-100-20441-3
Cat. no. Ci51-58/2012E-PDF
C&I-1417-03-2012


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