Obtaining Canadian Citizenship

Canadians are proud of their citizenship. As a citizen you can:

  • Vote and be a candidate for a political office;
  • Apply for a Canadian passport;
  • Enter and leave Canada freely;
  • Enjoy full economic rights, including the right to own any type of property; and
  • Be eligible for some pension benefits.

Along with the rights of Canadian citizenship come responsibilities. Canada has laws related to most aspects of living and business — take time to learn the laws for actions you are undertaking.

Canadians often volunteer their time to help in their community. Regardless of your interests, contributing to your society is rewarding and appreciated by others who, like you, are proud to make Canada their home.

Applying for Canadian Citizenship

If you want to obtain Canadian citizenship you need to complete the following steps:

  • Find out if you are eligible to become a citizen.
  • Apply for citizenship.
  • Take the citizenship test.
  • Attend a citizenship ceremony.

Eligibility to Apply for Citizenship

The rules of eligibility for Canadian citizenship change from time to time. When applying, make sure to learn about the current rules on the federal government’s website. [See Related Resources]

The eligibility is determined on the following factors:

  • Age
  • Permanent Resident Status
  • Time Lived in Canada
  • Language Ability
  • Criminal History
  • Knowledge of Canada

Completing and Submitting Your Application

To become a Canadian citizen, you must do the following:

  • Obtain an application package
  • Read the instruction guide
  • Complete the application form and attach the necessary documents
  • Pay the fee and get the necessary receipt
  • Submit the application form and documents

Once they start processing your case, the government will send a notice confirming your application was received.

You can check the status of your application online or by phone. [See Related Resources]

Citizenship Test

To determine your knowledge of Canada, you must pass the citizenship test. To prepare, you need to use the official study guide, titled ‘Discover Canada – The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship’.

Discover Canada booklet is available through the federal government website, and can be read online, listened to as an audiobook, downloaded in an electronic format as a PDF file or an e-book, or ordered as a printed booklet.

When the time comes those who have applied will get a notification of the citizenship test location and time. It is important to arrive on time for the test or the interview.

Your language ability is determined during the Citizenship testing process. The citizenship test results and your interaction with the government officials will be used to assess if you have an adequate ability to communicate in either English or French.

The government officials decide whether your test will be written or oral based on a number of factors. For example, if you have trouble reading and writing in English or French, you will have an oral test.

Oral tests are done through an interview with a citizenship judge.

If someone does not pass the written test they will get a notice asking them to appear for an interview with a citizenship judge. At that interview the judge will ask the test questions in person to give the applicant another opportunity to demonstrate that all the requirements of citizenship can be met (the knowledge of Canada and language ability).

Becoming a Citizen

Once you pass the test and it is determined that you meet all the other requirements for citizenship, you will be invited to a citizenship ceremony.

Young children are not required to attend the ceremony, but they are welcome. Many times people invite friends and family to witness this important moment in their lives. It is also common that representatives of community groups and local dignitaries get invited and take part in ceremonies.

At the citizenship ceremony, you will be welcomed into the Canadian family along with other new Canadians, and asked to accept the rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship. A citizenship judge usually presides over the ceremony and administers the Oath of Citizenship.

Once you have taken the Oath of Citizenship at a citizenship ceremony you will be a Canadian citizen. You will receive your certificate of citizenship and a commemorative document that shows the date you became a Canadian. Keep these documents in a safe place.

After becoming a Canadian citizen, you can apply for a Canadian passport.

The rules of eligibility for Canadian citizenship change from time to time. When applying, make sure to learn about the current rules on the federal government’s website.

Related Resources

Applying for Citizenship

Preparing for Citizenship Test

Related Topics in this Guide