Canada remains one of the most popular expat destinations with over 650,000 Brits currently calling it home. Canada’s low crime rate is envied around the world, particularly amongst its southern neighbors. Canada values education and has long ensured all young citizens have access to the best schooling available no matter what their background. Canada’s Anglo-French culture was ingrained in the national identity from its conception.
But becoming a Canadian citizen is not as easy as becoming a citizen of other countries, but by following the laws that govern legal citizenship, you can also call yourself a Canadian citizen. You need to live in Canada for at least six years, stay on your best behaviour, and know a thing or two about the country you’ll soon call home.
To be under Canadian administration, follow these criteria:
Make sure you’re not already a Canadian citizen.
Before you go through the hassle of applying for citizenship, take a short quiz to see if you may already be Canadian.
The government outlines several caveats for being a citizen even if you weren’t born there, many of which depend on your parents’ citizenship. Maybe you secretly inherited their status at some point along the way.
Be at least 18 years old.
Minors need their parent or legal guardian to fill out the application for them; they need to be permanent residents in Canada (more on that later); and the parent must either be a citizen or applying to become one at the same time. Canada has a fast-track system for immigration called Express Entry. It’s how skilled workers transition into a role in the country. All applicants into Express Entry are given specific scores based on their specific talents and job prospects and then ranked with other applicants. Those at the top of the rankings are invited to become permanent residents.
Have a permanent residence in Canada.
To become a permanent resident, people can choose between several avenues. They can apply through the province of their choice, go down a special entrepreneur route, get help from a family member who lives in Canada, or go through Quebec, which has special immigration requirements.
Permanent residents are entitled to healthcare coverage and can work, study, and travel anywhere in Canada. You just can’t vote, run for office, or hold some jobs with high security clearance.
Presenting the intent to reside.
You must confirm your plans to stay Canadian. The government defines permanent residence as living in Canada for at least two years in a five-year period.
Spend six years at that residence.
Permanent residents don’t always become citizens. The bar for citizenship is higher. If you’re living in Canada, you must have been a permanent resident and physically present in Canada for at least 1,460 days (three 365-day periods) in the six years immediately before the date of your application.
You must also be present for 183 days (half a year) during each of the four calendar years that are fully or partially within the six years before the application date.
Provide your income tax filing.
Like the residence requirement, you must be able to provide four years’ worth of tax returns in the six-year period leading up to the date of your application. They want to see if your job is legit.
Speak French or English well enough to communicate effectively.
This is a requirement to becoming a Canadian citizen, as most of the residents in Canada speak at least one these languages fluently. When the time for the citizenship test rolls around, you will be given an oral exam. If you don’t pass, you won’t become a citizen. You’ll send along written documents with your application, but a citizenship officer will make the final call whether your English or French is up to snuff.
Know a thing or two about Canada.
The government also issues a formal quiz to applicants on the history, values, institutions, and symbols of Canada.
You take the test if you’re between 16 and 64 years old. Typically, it’s a written test, but the citizenship officer may also ask questions orally.
You have to know Canadian history which includes their values, institutions, and symbols. To get more specific, visit their website — there’s a pretty complete list of what you’ll need to cover, from the economy, to their regions, to how they govern themselves.
- If you are or have been a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, you may be eligible for a fast-track application process.
- You cannot become a Canadian citizen if you have recently been or are in prison, on parole or probation, are serving a conditional sentence or have been charged or convicted of an indictable crime. If you are under a deportation order, you also cannot apply.