If you want to become a citizen of Canada, there is no direct route to citizenship. You must first apply and obtain permanent residency or PR visa from the state. With the PR visa, you can live, work and study in any part of Canada. You can apply for Canadian Citizenship after a few years of being a permanent resident.
The Canadian government brought about changes in the immigration laws in 2017 that changed the eligibility criteria for citizenship.
- Applicants must have stayed as a permanent resident for 1095 days as a permanent resident in the five years before the date of filing the citizenship application. This need not be a continuous stay.
- Every day spent by applicants as a temporary resident is counted as half a day before they become permanent residents.
- This is taken on account when calculating the number of days spent in the country to qualify for citizenship.
Basic requirements for citizenship
Apart from gaining a PR status and staying in Canada as a permanent resident for a stipulated period, the other requirements are:
Applicants must have paid the income tax under the Income tax act for a minimum of three years out of the five years as a permanent resident
They must have good language skills and prove that they can speak English or French fluently. You need to pass a test that will measure your speaking, writing, reading and listening skills in that language.
Processing time for Canadian citizenship
- The processing time for your Canadian citizenship starts the moment you fill your Canadian citizenship form.
- This can be downloaded from the website. Ensure you fill all the fields in the form and submit the required documents.
- You can send your form after paying the application fees.
- The processing time starts once you submit your application whether online, by mail or in person.
Once your application is submitted, the authorities ensure that you have submitted your responses to all the questions in the form, sent all the required documents and paid the fees. They will then send you the acknowledgement of receipt (AOR). This will contain your unique client identifier (UCI). The AOR is an indication that your letter is ready to be processed.
However, if your application has any missing information, or if certain documents are missing or does not contain the fee receipt then your application will be sent back, and you will have to resubmit it.
Calculating the processing time
The immigration department makes an estimate of the processing time based on the number of citizenship applications it has in and to be processed and its estimate of how quickly it can process 80% of the applications.
The processing time can also be calculated based on historical data. This is based on the estimate of the time taken to process 80% of the applications in the past.
Variation in processing time
The processing time can vary based on various factors. These include:
- Type of application you submitted
- Whether the application is complete
- Time for processing the application by the authorities
- Time taken to verify your information
- Time taken on your part to respond to any queries from the immigration department
Canadian citizenship test
After processing your application, the authorities will call you for the Canadian citizenship test within four weeks.
- You will receive a notification for the test 1 to 2 weeks before the fixed date.
- You will also have an interview with a citizenship official on the same day as the test.
- You will have to take a written test that will assess how much you know about geography, culture and the history of Canada.
In case you fail to clear the test and interview during the first time, you will be called for second time 4 to 8 weeks after the first round.
Decision on your citizenship
Once you clear the interview and the test, a decision on your citizenship is made by an official. If your application is approved, you will be given a date to attend the Canadian citizenship ceremony. This usually takes place 3 months after the decision is made on your application.
In this ceremony, you will officially become a Canadian citizen. You must take the oath of citizenship, sing the Canadian national anthem and receive the Canadian citizenship certificate.
To understand the Canadian citizenship process, talk to an immigration expert who will help you with the crucial first step of obtaining a Canada PR.
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Posted on December 27, 2019