Are you eligible for citizenship?
Permanent Resident Status
Regardless of your age, if you are applying for citizenship, you must have:
Permanent Resident (PR) status in Canada
- no unfulfilled conditions related to your PR status
Your PR status must not be in question. This means you must not:
- be under review for immigration or fraud reasons
- have certain unfulfilled conditions related to your PR status
- be under a removal order (an order from Canadian officials to leave Canada)
You don’t need a valid PR card to apply for citizenship. If you have an expired PR card, you can still apply for citizenship.
Time in Canada
Regardless of your age, you must have been physically present in Canada for at least:
- 1095 days during the five years right before the date you sign your application
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. Each day spent physically in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person before becoming a permanent resident within the last 5 years will count as one half day, with a maximum of 365 days, towards your physical presence.
Temporary resident status includes lawful authorization to enter or remain in Canada as a:
- worker or,
- temporary resident permit holder
A protected person is someone who:
- was found to be in need of protection or a convention refugee by the Immigration and Refugee Board, or
- received a positive decision on a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
These requirements don’t apply to children under 18 where a parent or guardian has applied on their behalf for citizenship using the subsection 5(2) application form.
You may be eligible to apply even if you don’t meet the minimum time lived in Canada if you’re a:
- Crown servant (certain categories of public officials)
- family member of a Crown servant
Canadian Citizenship Test
To become a citizen, you’ll need to take a test to meet the knowledge requirement for citizenship. You’ll need to answer questions about Canada’s:
- rights, responsibilities and privileges of citizenship, such as voting in elections and obeying the law
The tests are:
- in English or French
- made up of questions based on the Discover Canada study guide
- usually in a written format, unless you need to take it orally with a citizenship officer
- given to applicants 18 to 54 years old.
Note: Applicants under 18 years of age applying under the 5(1) and 5(2) grant category do not have to meet the knowledge requirement.
Income Tax Filing
Regardless of your age, if required under the Income Tax Act, you must meet your personal income tax filing obligations in three tax years that are fully or partially within the five years right before the date you apply.
Canada has two official languages: English and French. To become a citizen, you must show that you can speak and listen in one of these languages. This means you can:
- take part in short, everyday conversations about common topics
- understand simple instructions, questions and directions
- use basic grammar, including simple structures and tenses
- show you know enough common words and phrases to answer questions and express yourself
If you are 18 to 54 years old, you must submit proof that demonstrates you can speak and listen in English or French.
Note: Applicants under 18 years of age applying under the subsection 5(1) or 5(2) grant category do not have to meet the language requirement.
Citizenship staff will decide how well you can communicate in English or French during your interview. A citizenship officer will make the final decision on your application.
If you have committed a crime in or outside Canada, you may not be eligible to become a Canadian citizen for a period of time. This includes if 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
- offense outside Canada
- have been convicted in the four years before applying for citizenship of an:
- indictable offence in Canada
- offense outside Canada
Time spent serving a term of imprisonment, on parole, or on probation doesn’t count as time you have lived in Canada.
Are you Already a citizen?
There are a few ways you can become a Canadian citizen without applying to be one. In these cases, you may still want to get proof of citizenship. There are also times when you might think you became a citizen, but you did not. In those cases, you may be eligible to apply for citizenship.
You likely are a Canadian citizen if you…
- were born in Canada
- became a citizen because of changes to the Citizenship Act
- applied for and received your Canadian citizenship (became a naturalized citizen)
- received Canadian citizenship as a minor when a parent or legal guardian naturalized you by applying for your citizenship
- were born outside Canada and at least one of your parents was:
- born in Canada
- naturalized in Canada before your birth
You likely aren’t a Canadian citizen if you…
were born in Canada to foreign diplomats
had your citizenship taken away (revoked)
- renounced your Canadian citizenship and never applied to get it back
You aren’t automatically a Canadian citizen if you…
- marry a Canadian citizen
- are adopted by a Canadian citizen
- have your refugee claim accepted
- live in Canada as a permanent resident for many years
- were born outside Canada to Canadian parent(s) on or after April 17, 2009, but neither parent was born or naturalized in Canada
Find out if you’re eligible for citizenship: Canadian Armed Forces
If you’re a current or past member of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) you can apply for citizenship using a fast-track process.
This fast-track option lets us speed up the citizenship application process for:
- permanent residents serving in the CAF
- foreign military members on exchange with the CAF
You can use this application process if you are or were a:
- member of the CAF
- foreign military member who is or was attached or seconded to the CAF
To be eligible, you must:
- meet all of the standard conditions to apply for citizenship (except for the residency requirement)
- have completed three years (1,095 days) of service in or with the CAF in the six years (2,190 days) right before the date of your application
- have met your personal income tax filing obligations in three taxation years that are fully or partially within the six years right before the date you apply
If you are no longer a member of the CAF, you must have been released honourably. If you were released other than honorably, you are not eligible to apply using the fast-track process.
If you were a foreign military member attached or seconded to the CAF, you do not need to:
- be a permanent resident
- meet the tax filing obligation