The last step in becoming a true Canadian is to acquire Canadian citizenship and use your power to slaughter a moose. Obviously, obtaining permanent residence has a number of advantages; however, there are certain freedoms that only citizens can enjoy, such as voting in national elections.
Not all people living in Canada are eligible for citizenship and the process requires a commitment. If you want to know how to become a Canadian citizen in 2020, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll walk you through the process, starting with the first step: obtaining permanent residence in Canada.
How to Become a Canadian Citizen – Step by Step
If you have decided that Canada is the place for you, you might want to consider becoming a citizen to truly enjoy all things being Canadian. Maple syrup, ice hockey, beaver tail and friendliness are just a few of the reasons we love to be Canadian. And while all permanent residents of Canada have access to free public health care, free education in public schools, freedom of religion, and various other civil liberties, only citizens of Canada can:
- vote in the federal elections;
- run for federal office;
- own a Canadian passport; and
- apply for any job in Canada regardless of high-level security clearance.
If any of these benefits seem desirable to you, you must consider how to become a Canadian citizen. Luckily, we’re here to help. In general, the application process for Canadian citizenship consists of the following five steps:
- Permanent Residence
- Canadian Citizenship Application
- Canadian Citizenship Test
- Citizenship Ceremony
You can also acquire Canadian citizenship by descent. This route is one of the easiest ways to get Canadian citizenship because you don’t have to take the citizenship test, but the process requires you to prove that you are already a Canadian citizen. You are eligible for this option if one of your parents was born in Canada or became a naturalized citizen, regardless of where you currently live. All you have to do is apply for your certificate of Canadian citizenship.
1. Permanent Residence
You can only apply for Canadian citizenship after you have been a permanent resident of Canada for at least three years. This is by far the most difficult step in the application process, as it involves the most complex criteria. Working with an authorized representative such as a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) makes this step easier. They are licensed by the government to handle all of your immigration application documents and have the experience to ensure it is filled out correctly and completely and delivered on time.
To obtain permanent residence in Canada, you will need to immigrate to the country using one of the many Canadian immigration programs. There are over 100 different immigration options available to you and each comes with its own set of requirements, such as having qualified work experience or running a business in the country for a number of years. .
Naturalization is the longest step on your path to Canadian citizenship. To be considered a naturalized citizen, you must have spent three years (1095 days) out of the previous five in Canada. The 1095 day total does not have to be consecutive, but you must prove that you have satisfied tax obligations for three years that are at least partially within the five years preceding the date of the request.
Being a temporary resident of Canada also counts towards this requirement. However, your time as a student, visitor or refugee in Canada will also be counted, but as half a day and can only total a maximum of 365 days.
3. Canadian Citizenship Application
The application step is self-explanatory. You must apply for your Canadian citizenship by completing the forms found on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website. Make sure you complete all the forms correctly and send them along with your supporting documents and proof of payment to the appropriate authorities.
Once you have been notified that you are eligible for Canadian citizenship, you will need to demonstrate your language skills in either French or English. You can demonstrate your proficiency by showing your language test results, documents indicating that you studied in French or English, or proof that you have achieved level four on the Canadian Language Benchmark.
4. Canadian Citizenship Test
The next step in your application is to take the Canadian citizenship test. Once your application is submitted, a date and time to take the exam will be communicated to you. In the test, you will be asked about various facts and symbols of Canada, including the geography, history, culture, government, and geography of the country.
Taking tests can be stressful for anyone and accidents can happen, so if you didn’t pass the citizenship test, don’t worry. You can take the exam a second time, and if you fail again, you can schedule a citizenship interview instead.
5. Citizenship Ceremony
If you pass all the steps, all you need to do is attend a citizenship ceremony. This event is simply a celebration of your newly acquired citizenship. During the ceremony, you will take the citizenship oath, sing the national anthem and receive your application for Canadian citizenship.
Am I Eligible for Canadian Citizenship?
Now that you know how to become a Canadian citizen, you need to make sure that you qualify. There are several people who are disqualified from earning citizenship, they include:
- people who are on parole, probation, or serving a term of imprisonment in the country;
- people who are convicted of a crime outside of Canada;
- people who are on trial for contravening the Citizenship Act or any other offense in Canada;
- people who are to be deported;
- people involved in a war crime or crime against humanity;
- people who have been caught committing fraud in a previous citizenship application;
- people who have lost their citizenship status because of fraud within the last 10 years;
- people who have been convicted of an indictable offense within the past four years before your application;
- people who have been convicted of terrorism, high treason, or spying.
Can I Apply for Urgent Citizenship?
There are some circumstances that will allow you to expedite your citizenship application. You can only apply for urgent processing in the event of an emergency. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada will consider the following reasons as a qualifying emergency:
- the need for citizenship to apply for a job, prevent you from losing your job or apply to a Canadian school, college, or university;
- the need to travel for death or serious illness in the family and you can’t get a passport in your current nationality; and
- if your appeal for a previous citizenship application was found to be a success by a federal court.