How to Get Canadian Citizenship
If you’ve been living in Canada as a non-citizen for a few years for work or school then you’ll find various things to love about the country. There are so many different regions to live in, different weather from coast to cost and a lot of opportunity available. In fact, you might like it so much that you’re thinking about staying permanently, and may be interested in gaining Canadian citizenship.
If that sounds like you, then this guide is exactly what you need as we’ll help guide you through the process of what you need to officially receive Canadian citizenship.
Difference of Permanent Citizenship and Permanent Residency
The biggest you’ll find between being a Canadian citizen versus a permanent resident are the various rights and responsibilities that citizens have over residents. If you’re a Canadian citizen, you have key rights like voting and to hold office in Canadian politics. You can get a Canadian passport, which comes with its own set of benefits (especially for travel) and more. While it isn’t required to move from permanent resident to Canadian citizen, it definitely has benefits and would be a wise move if you intend on living in Canada for the rest of your life.
There are multiple eligibility requirements for Canadian citizenship, and it starts with being a legal adult (18 years old) and having permanent resident status. With that, you must have lived in the country for 1095 days of the last 5 years (60%) and have filed your taxes legally as a permanent resident for at least 3 years . From there, you must be fluent in English or French (it always helps to know both, but only one is required) and be able to pass a citizenship test which tests your knowledge of the culture, laws and history of Canada.
Can I Have Dual Citizenship?
Canada is one of many countries in the world that allows for dual citizenship, as they don’t require you to renounce your citizenship for any other country. So, on Canada’s end it isn’t an issue, but with dual citizenship it’s important to consider both countries. Some countries don’t allow for dual citizenship, and will make you choose between the two or automatically revoke your citizenship if you gain the citizenship of another country. For more information, you check out our guide on gaining dual citizenship with Canada.
Ways to Obtain Citizenship
There are multiple paths to citizenship in Canada, and depending on your particular situation one may be better over the other.
If you’re an investor or entrepreneur with business in Canada, you may be hoping there’s a direct path to Canadian citizenship, but that isn’t the case. There are different visas or ways to get permanent resident status through business, but all the other requirements are the same as anyone else. You’ll need to meet all the same criteria, take the citizenship test and more.
If one of your parents was a Canadian citizen at the time of your birth, then you do have a different entitlement to citizenship then others. While there are still some hoops to jump through if you weren’t declared as a citizen at the time, you’ll find an easier path to citizenship than a regular permanent resident.
If you were born in another country, but your parent is a Canadian citizen, your parents can give you citizenship at the time of birth, rather than have citizenship of the country you were born in. For example, you could be born in England, be given Canadian citizenship at birth and never have to apply later (meaning you’d have to apply for British citizenship if you want that later).
The short answer is no, there is no special treatment for non-citizens marrying a Canadian citizen to obtain citizenship in Canada, and you must still follow all of the same criteria and steps as anyone else. However, what you can do if you don’t already live in Canada or have permanent residence is get your spouse to sponsor you, giving you an easier path to permanent residence, and starting you off on a faster track to meeting the requirement for citizenship.
How to Apply
With any government process, you’ll want to start with making sure you know everything in the application and all the requirements as there are no refunds if you apply and get rejected.
Fees and Costs?
By going on the government website, you’ll find the application package that you need to complete and fill with the appropriate documents to submit your application, and in the process you’ll also have to pay the appropriate fees.
As of this writing, the cost is $630 for an adult citizenship application and $100 for minors. This is why it is so important to ensure you meet every requirement completely, because you can’t get the money back if you submit the application and are rejected. It’s a time consuming process, so make sure you do your due diligence before completing anything.
Through a written test, or sometimes an interview with a citizenship officer, you can go through the process of proving your knowledge of Canada’s laws, cultures and history. It’s a requirement for anyone applying between the ages of 14 and 64. There are resources online that tell you what you need to know for your test so you can study before hand and make sure you pass.
The standard time to expect for your citizenship application to be processed is one year. Everyone’s situation is different and for some it may be significantly less, or significantly longer, but the average time falls around one year. There are ways to expedite the process or push it through urgently for special situations, but even that is never a guarantee. So, always give extra time for any plans revolving around applying for citizenship and be sure to continue living in Canada and meeting all the required eligibility (continue filing taxes, stay out of legal trouble) to ensure everything goes smoothly with your application.
Can I Apply for Passport?
Once your application has been processed and you’ve officially received your citizenship, you can apply for a Canadian passport the way any other citizen can. This means there is an additional fee ($120 for a 5 year passport and $160 for a 10 year passport) and an entirely separate application process.
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