There are many reasons why many people would like to move to Canada and acquire citizenship status. It could be the low crime rate, a world-renowned free healthcare system, nice people who greet and smile at strangers, culture diversity, vast natural landscape, high standard of living and more opportunities. Whatever it is, if you were born outside of Canada and none of your parents is Canadian, you must pass a citizenship test to become a Canadian citizen. However, there are certain eligibility criteria that must be met before you're allowed to sit for the citizenship test.
In order to apply for the Canadian citizenship test, you must meet the following requirements.
- Be able to communicate in either English or French (Canada's official languages). For you to prove that you can speak and write in English or French, you need to provide documents that support your claim. For instance, IELTS/CLB level 4 or higher test results, third party English/French language results slip, secondary/post-secondary certificate, diploma or transcript that proves you were taught in English or French. However, if you cannot speak or write in English or French due to a disability, you must provide documents attested by a Canadian physician.
- Have permanent residency status in Canada. Additionally, you must have lived in Canada for not less than 1095 days (3 years) as a permanent resident during the 5 years prior to your citizenship application. Each day you were in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person within your 5 year period is usually counted as half a day. However, every day you spent in Canada as a permanent resident is counted as a complete day.
- Meet all your income tax obligations for at least 3 years within the past 5 years before you apply for citizenship.
- You must be between 18 to 54 years of age. Minors are exempted from taking the citizenship test since their parents or guardians can act on their behalf during the application.
Physical Presence Exemption
The only people who are exempt from the minimum 1095 days requirement as a permanent resident before applying for citizenship are crown servants and their family members. Children who are under 18 years with a parent or guardian applying on their behalf are also excused from the rule.
Despite meeting the above eligibility criteria, the following exceptions can cause your citizenship test application to be revoked:
- If were convicted of a serious crime (indictable offence) in Canada or outside Canada within the 4 years prior to your citizenship application.
- If you are serving a prison sentence in Canada or outside of Canada. Any parole or probation in Canada will also be a ground for your citizenship application to be denied. Keep in mind that even if you're a permanent resident, the days you spend in prison, probation or parole will not be counted as the time you've stayed in Canada.
- If you were charged, standing trial or appealing for an indictable offence outside Canada or in Canada.
- If there is a deportation order against you due to a national security threat or a consistent pattern of criminal activity.
- If you altered, provided false information or withheld relevant information to the IRCC that caused your citizenship application to be denied in the past 5 years. Additionally, if you were granted Canadian citizenship and it was later revoked due to fraud, you must wait for 10 years before applying for citizenship again.
- If you're affiliated with an armed force or armed group of a country that is involved in an armed conflict with Canada.
The Application Process
After meeting all the necessary criteria, you can proceed by filling up the application form. If you have children, you have to fill up their application using a different minor form. During the application process, you're supposed to attach all the required photographs and document photocopies. Expect to pay non-refundable processing fees of $530 and an extra $100 which is refundable in case the application is rejected. After filling the application form, you can mail it to the IRCC address and wait for a reply.
The Citizenship Test
Once the IRCC has been satisfied with your eligibility, they will send you a letter scheduling the time and date of your citizenship test. Don't forget to bring along all the original documents that you used to apply for citizenship. If there are reasons you will be unable to attend the citizenship test on the given date, write back to the IRCC explain your valid reasons and request for a re-schedule to avoid any inconvenience. The citizenship test will evaluate your in-depth knowledge of Canada's geography, history, government, culture, and political system. If you pass the citizenship test, you will receive a notice to appear at the oath of citizenship ceremony to officially become a Canadian citizen.