Citizenship is available through naturalization which is the formal process a foreign national becomes a Canadian citizen. Typically, you must become a permanent resident first.  Permanent residents who lived in Canada 3 out of the last 5 years preceding their application can apply for Citizenship.   

You may be able to use some of your time spent in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person towards your physical presence calculation. You may be eligible to receive a half day count for each full day you were physically present in Canada to a maximum of 365 days if you had legal temporary status such as the following:                                           

  • visitor
  • student
  • worker 
  • temporary resident permit holder
  • A protected person (someone who was found to be in need of protection or a convention refugee, or received a positive decision on a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment).

*Any time spent serving a term of imprisonment, on parole, or on probation will not count towards time you lived in Canada.

Citizenship Requirements

  • 18 years of age or older;
  • Are a permanent resident;
  • Have been physically present in Canada for at least 3 out of the 5 years preceding the application date;
  • Have been physically present in Canada for a minimum of 183 days during each of the 3 calendar years within the last 5 years preceding the date of application;
  • Meet income tax obligations in the 3 tax years out of the 5 years before the date you apply;
  • Have adequate knowledge of English or French if you are 18 to 54 years old;
  • Take a test to meet the knowledge requirement for citizenship that is given to applicants 18 to 54 years old. This requirement tests your knowledge about Canadian values, history, symbols, institutions, rights, responsibilities, and privileges of citizenship.  

*There are some exceptions to the above requirements depending on your status.  

Citizenship for Minors (under 18 years of age)

Minor children must be a permanent resident and have at least one parent (or legally adoptive parent) who is a Canadian citizen or who will become a citizen at the same time as the child (applying together). Having custody, guardianship or being the step-parent of a child does not mean the child is legally adopted.

Your child could already be a citizen

A child born outside Canada to a Canadian parent on or after April 17, 2009, is a citizen by birth if the child is in the first generation born outside Canada, and the Canadian parent: was born in Canada, or became a Canadian citizen by immigrating to Canada (becoming a permanent resident) and being granted citizenship (naturalization).

Restrictions to applying for Citizenship

You may be ineligible to become a Canadian citizen for a period of time if any of the following situations apply to you:

  • are serving a sentence outside Canada
  • are serving a term of imprisonment, on parole or on probation in Canada 
  • are charged with, on trial for, or involved in an appeal of an: 
    • indictable offence in Canada 
    • offence outside Canada
  • have been convicted in the four years before applying for citizenship of an: 
    • indictable offence in Canada
    • offence outside Canada

*There may be other situations which make you ineligible, contact us to find out what is the right option for you.