Grant of Canadian citizenship
Obtaining Canadian citizenship requires you to complete several steps and it is not a quick process. A foreign national must first become a permanent resident of Canada and meet eligibility requirements before applying for Canadian citizenship.
People over the age of 18 (and some minors) must have been physically present in Canada for at least 3 years (1,095 days) in the 5 years before applying for grant of citizenship. You may have to file income tax in Canada for 3 years in the 5 years before applying to become a Canadian citizen.
You must be able to communicate in at least one of Canada’s official languages (English or French). If you are between 18 and 54 years old on the date of your application, you must be able to demonstrate that you can speak and listen at a certain level of English or French. People between the ages of 18 and 54 years old on the date of application will also have to take a citizenship test.
The average processing times are updated online by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada weekly. As of December 29, 2022, processing of the applications for the granting of citizenship take an average of 24 months from the day of receipt of application to the date the decision is made. If you are applying to become a Canadian citizen, you should consider whether your travel plans and ability to visit your home country while awaiting citizenship may be affected.
The last step of becoming a Canadian citizen is taking the Oath of Citizenship at a citizenship ceremony. At the ceremony, you will officially become a Canadian citizen. In September 2022, the Oath of Citizenship wording was changed because of Queen Elizabeth II’s death. Many citizenship ceremonies were delayed as a result. Additional delays stem from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Proof of Canadian citizenship
If one of your parents is a Canadian citizen by birth, you may be eligible to apply for proof of Canadian citizenship. There are other circumstances that may afford you a right to apply for proof of citizenship.
Canadian citizenship can only be proven by certain documents. This includes citizenship certificates, which may be paper, electronic, or older paper versions, citizenship cards, birth certificates, and naturalizations certificates. Citizenship record letters, commemorative certificates, and some birth certificates cannot be used as proof of citizenship. Currently, when your proof of citizenship application is approved, you will be issued a citizenship certificate.
If you are applying for proof of citizenship, you should expect to wait an average of 16 months from the day of receipt of application to the date the decision is made (as of December 29, 2022). After your application is approved, it may take several weeks to get the citizenship certificate. Once you obtain your citizenship certificate, you can apply for a Canadian passport.
If you or a family member are planning to apply to become a Canadian citizen or obtain proof of citizenship, contact Siskinds Immigration Law Group.