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How to apply for Canadian citizenship

The first requirement for becoming a Canadian citizen is that you have to be a permanent resident of Canada.

You can also apply for Canadian citizenship if you are:

  • A current or former member of the Canadian Armed Forces and you’re in the fast track system;
  • You used to be a Canadian citizen, including a member of the Canadian Armed Forces and you want your citizenship back;
  • A Canadian who is applying for citizenship for their adopted child who was born outside of Canada.

Before applying for Canadian citizenship, you must have:

  • Since becoming a permanent resident, you must have been physically in Canada for the five years, or 1095 days before you apply for citizenship;
  • Since becoming a permanent resident, you must have been physically in Canada for any four calendar years, or 183 days, that are either fully or partially within the five years immediately before you apply for citizenship;
  • Met requirements under the Income Tax Act to file income taxes for any three taxation years that are either fully or partially within the five years immediately before applying for citizenship;
  • Have the intention to reside in Canada, to work outside Canada in or with, or accompany family who are employed in or with the Canadian Armed Forces, the federal public administration or public service of a province outside Canada;
  • been able to communicate in English or French (doesn’t apply if the person is over 55); and
  • been able to demonstrate, in English or French, knowledge about Canada and the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship (doesn’t apply if the person is over 55).

Note: these requirements may change. To get the most up-to-date requirements before applying for Canadian citizenship, please visit the appropriate government website or consult a lawyer.

What do I need to do to apply for Canadian Citizenship?

You will have to make a formal written application for citizenship and fill out forms issued by Immigration and Citizenship Canada. Note that they have updated the application forms as of June 11, 2015 and you must get the latest version of the forms if you have applied on or after that date, or your application may not be processed.

  1. Get an application package:

    There are different application forms when you are applying for Canadian citizenship.

    There are four main application packages:

    1. Application for Canadian Citizenship – Adult;
    2. Application for Canadian Citizenship – Minor  (under 18 years of age);
    3. Application for Canadian Citizenship - Minor (who does not have a parent applying for citizenship at the same time or does not already have a Canadian parent)
    4. Application for Canadian Citizenship – Canadian Armed Forces (fast track process).

      The application package will also require you to either provide original copies of documents or photocopies of documents.

      It is your obligation to include all the documents requested in the form the application requests them. Failing to do so may result in your application not being processed and your application may be sent back to you requiring you to supply the missing information.

  2. Pay the application fees.

    All application fees have to be paid in Canadian funds. Be warned that process fees will not be refunded, even if your application is sent back to you because it’s incomplete or if it was rejected.

    There are two ways to make a payment:

  • Online; and
  • Through a financial institution in Canada.

3. Submit your application package.

Your application package will tell you the exact address to which you must send your application by either regular mail or courier.

Know that if you apply for more than one person and you want the applications processed at the same time, then you must include all forms and documents in the same envelope.

Read more:

Immigration and Citizenship Canada

Application for Canadian Citizenship Adults