Canadian Citizenship Eligibility
Hundreds of thousands of people become eligible for Canadian citizenship each year.
Becoming eligible for Canadian citizenship entails the likes of meeting residency requirements, being able to speak English and/or French, and not having a criminal history considered prohibitive to becoming a citizen.
The following criteria must be met to be eligible for Canadian citizenship:
- Applicants must have Canadian permanent resident status and have lived in Canada for at least three years (1,095 days) out of the past five years before applying (unless there are exceptional circumstances).
- Children under 18 must also have permanent resident status, but do not have to satisfy the three-year requirement.
- Applicants must be able to speak either one or both of Canada's two official languages (English or French) well enough to communicate in Canadian society.
- Individuals between the ages of 18 and 54 must submit proof of language proficiency.
- Applicants cannot have a criminal history considered prohibitive to granting Canadian citizenship (as decided by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, or IRCC).
- Applicants must be aware the rights and responsibilities of citizens and have a basic knowledge of Canada's geography, political system, and history.
- Applicants must submit a formal application to IRCC and pay a government processing fee and a right of citizenship fee.
Eligible candidates can apply for Canadian citizenship. Once approved, they will be required to take a citizenship test (for applicants between 18 and 54 only. Successful applicants must then attend a citizenship ceremony where they receive a certificate of Canadian citizenship and officially become new Canadian citizens.
In order to prove language proficiency, applicants must submit one of the following documents:
- Results from an approved third party test; or
- Transcripts or a diploma from a secondary or post-secondary education in English or French; or
- Evidence of achieving Canadian Level Benchmark (CLB) 4 or higher in certain government language programs.
Canadian citizenship will not be granted to applicants who:
- Do not meet the minimum required residency days in Canada;
- Cannot speak either English or French;
- Do not pass their citizenship test and/or interview; or
- Cannot provide the required proof of residency documentation.
There are also multiple legal and criminality issues that may make you ineligible for Canadian citizenship.
If any of the following apply to you, you may not qualify for citizenship:
- You have had your citizenship taken away within the past five years;
- You have been convicted of a criminal offence in the past three years;
- You are in prison, on parole or on probation;
- You are under removal order from Canada;
- You are under investigation for, or have been convicted of a war crime or a crime against humanity.