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Home >> Citizenship


Canadians are proud to hold one of the most prized citizenships in the world. Every year about 150,000 people become new citizens of Canada. Citizenship allows lawful permanent residents and applicants who have certain ties to Canada to apply to become citizens and be eligible to obtain a Canadian passport.

  • To become a Canadian citizen through permanent residency, applicants must meet the following requirements:
  • Must be at least 18 years of age (Minors may also apply for and be granted citizenship);
  • Must possess Canadian permanent resident status in Canada, and that status must not be in doubt. This means you must not be the subject of an immigration investigation, an immigration inquiry or a removal order.
  • Must meet the residency requirements for time lived in Canada. To become Canadian citizens, adults must have lived in Canada for at least three years (1,095 days) in the past four years before applying. Children do not need to meet this requirement.
  • Must possess a working knowledge of one of Canada's official languages (English/French);
  • Must not pose a security threat or possess a criminal history;
  • Must undergo a knowledge test to confirm the applicant's knowledge of some basic facts about Canada and Canadian citizenship. You must know the rights and responsibilities of citizens, such as the right and responsibility to vote. You must also know some things about Canada's history and geography, and about its political system.
Certain exemptions apply to the above requirements for applicants below 18 and above 54 years of age. In determining whether exceptional circumstances exist, Canadian Citizenship Judges examine the specific facts and circumstances of each individual case. Each case must be assessed on its own merits, and Canadian Citizenship Judges have considerable discretion in determining whether exceptional circumstances truly exist. Thus, it is extremely difficult to conclusively pronounce which circumstances will be deemed to be exceptional.

New citizenship rules that came into effect on April 17, 2009
The previous law required people born in the second or subsequent generations outside Canada to submit an application to retain (keep) their citizenship, and to either live in Canada for one year or prove a substantial connection to Canada before their 28th birthday. If they did not do either of these things, they would have lost their citizenship, sometimes without even knowing. The old law was criticized for being complicated, confusing, and leading to uncertainty for many people about their citizenship status. The new law simplifies rules by eliminating this requirement.
The new law simplifies citizenship rules by:
  • Restoring or giving Canadian citizenship to many who never had it or lost it due to previous laws;
  • limiting Canadian citizenship to the first generation born to Canadian parents outside Canada; and
  • Allowing people adopted outside Canada by Canadian parents between January 1, 1947 and February 14, 1977 to apply for a grant of citizenship.
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