How to get Canadian citizenship

From Permanent Resident to Citizen: How to Get Canadian Citizenship

How to Get Canadian Citizenship


Canadian citizenship is the final step in the process of immigrating to Canada. Holders of Canadian Citizenship have the right to live and work in Canada, access healthcare and education, and enter and leave Canada as often as they choose. Canadian Citizens also have the right to live and work in the United States under the CUSMA agreement.


These are many ways to obtain Canadian citizenship. The most popular way is to obtain Canadian citizenship is through what is called the process of naturalization.


Eligibility criteria to get Canada Citizenship


Permanent Residency


An applicant must first obtain permanent resident status in Canada. This means they have been granted the right to live in Canada permanently.


Meet the Residency requirement


An applicant must have lived in Canada as a permanent resident for at least three out of the last five years.


Language proficiency


Applicants must have a basic knowledge of English or French




Applicants must not have a criminal record or be inadmissible to Canada on security grounds.


Canada Citizenship Test


An applicant must pass a test on their knowledge of Canada and its history and values.




Citizenship applicants for Canada must submit an application for citizenship with the necessary documents and fees.


Once an individual satisfied this criteria they will be invited to attend a ceremony where they will take the Oath of Citizenship and officially become a Canadian citizen.


Get Canadian Citizenship by a Grant of Citizenship


Another different way to obtain citizenship of Canada is through the process of grant of citizenship.


This pathway to getting Canada Citizenship is for individuals who are born outside of Canada to a Canadian parent or who have lost or renounced their Canada citizenship in the past.


In these cases an applicant is  be eligible to have their citizenship granted without having to go through the usual naturalization process.


Get Canadian Citizenship by Descent


Citizenship by descent applies to individuals who are born outside of Canada to a Canadian parent and those born outside of Canada on or after January 1, 1947, and before February 15, 1977 to a Canadian mother.


These individuals are automatically considered Canadian citizens by descent and can apply for a Canadian passport.


Become Canadian by Adoption


Canada Citizenship by adoption is for individuals who were adopted by a Canadian citizen.


Who is Eligible for Canada Citizenship?


A permanent resident must have been physically present in Canada for a total of at least three years (1,095 days) out of the five years immediately prior to submitting their application for citizenship. Children under the age of 18 are exempt from this requirement.


Does a Permanent Resident have to apply for full Canada Citizenship as soon as they are eligible?


No, there is no obligation to apply for Canadian citizenship at any specific time. A permanent resident can also opt not to apply for Citizenship.


Will time spent in Canada before becoming a Permanent Resident count towards a Citizenship application?


Applicants for citizenship must have been physically present in Canada as a permanent resident for a minimum of 1,095 days within the five years immediately before submitting their application. Time spent in Canada before Permanent Residency counts as ‘half-days’.


The five-year period is calculated from the date of the application and only days spent in Canada as a permanent resident are counted towards the physical presence requirement.


Days spent in Canada before becoming a permanent resident as a temporary resident are only counted as half-days with a maximum credit of 365 days.


Will time spent outside Canada be counted towards a Citizenship Application?


Time spent outside of Canada is not counted towards the 1,095 days of physical presence required to qualify for Canadian citizenship unless there are circumstances such as serving in the Canadian Armed Forces.


Does Canada Recognize Dual Citizenship?


Yes. New Canadian citizens will not lose their Canadian citizenship if they retain their former nationality or become citizens of another country.


Are Canadian Citizens required to pay income tax on their Worldwide income?


Only citizens physically residing in Canada are required to pay Canadian income tax on worldwide income.


If someone was a Canadian Citizen as a child but have not lived in Canada for many years are they eligible for Citizenship?


Yes. Anyone born in Canada can become a Canadian Citizen.


Can Children under 18 become Canadian Citizens?


A child must be a permanent resident of Canada in order to become a citizen. However, the physical presence requirement of 1,095 days does not apply to children under 18.


Benefits of Getting Citizenship in Canada


Becoming a Canadian citizen has lots of benefits including:


  • the ability to permanently live in a prosperous country
  • participate in its democracy
  • hold a strong passport


Canada aims to welcome over 430,000 new permanent residents this year and many of them will eventually become citizens.



Subject Matter Expert at Migration Made Simple | Website | + posts

Jacqueline Chow is an international immigration and visa expert with over 15 years of experience in the field. With a background in law and a passion for helping people, Jacqueline has built a reputation as a trusted and reliable source of information and advice on all aspects of immigration and visas. She has worked with clients from all over the world, including high-net-worth individuals, professionals, skilled workers and families. As a sought-after speaker and commentator Jacqueline has been featured in various media outlets and has given talks on immigration and visas at conferences and events around the world.

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