The Process of Applying for Citizenship in Canada

The process of applying for citizenship in Canada consists mainly of six aspects in which one must be able to qualify. First, it is the age factor; the time that one has lived in Canada; the knowledge of the official languages of Canada, that is, English and French; how well one knows Canada as a country and its culture, people and traditions; the permanent resident status and record of past history concerned with any criminal prosecution.

One must be over 18 years of age to be eligible to become a citizen of Canada. If the parents are applying for their children who are under 18 years of age then one has to be the child’s parent, adoptive or legal. One parent must be a citizen of Canada or should have applied at the same time and the child must be a permanent resident.

One must have stayed physically in Canada for duration of minimum three years (1,095 days) in the preceding four years before the application has been submitted. However, this is not applicable for children who are below the age of 18 years. Pertinent to note that any time in prison or on parole does not count as time lived in Canada. Time on probation will also not be counted if there has been a conviction.

One must have adequate knowledge of at least one of the official languages of Canada, that is, either English or French and preferably both. Adequate knowledge is having an equivalent of level four in speaking and listening in the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) which indicates that one can understand other people and they can also understand you. Relevant documents have to be produced in support of the claim that this language proficiency has been attained. A citizenship judge will take the call on how well the applicant can communicate in either English or French, or both.

Canada has an extensive history and rich in cultural traditions. To be a citizen, one must know this adequately to comprehend various responsibilities so that there is adequate awareness about the rights and privileges of a citizen. This is not only about one’s own rights and privileges but also those who are already citizens of Canada so that there is enough respect for those. This also includes an understanding of various institutions, values and symbols.

The applicant must be a permanent resident (PR) in Canada. The PR status must not questionable, which means that the status should not be under a review on account of immigration or fraud or there is some removal process under consideration.

One cannot become a citizen of Canada if there has been a conviction for an offence that is criminally indicts the applicant or any offence under the Citizenship Act in the preceding three years or at present. Anybody in prison, probation or parole is also ineligible including those under removal order for immigration and fraud. Any investigation under war crimes or criminal indictment in crime against humanity will also debar a person from applying and ultimately getting the citizenship status.

Finally, one has to obtain an application package, pay the fees and submit the application. Application package is the instruction guide and compilation of all the forms that are required to be completed. The processing time for an application is generally 24 months to 36 months depending on whether the application is a routine one or a non-routine. Generally speaking, a routine application is one that fulfills all the mandatory requirements and a non-routine one is that which requires further verification and proof. After the application has been submitted it is time to prepare for the citizenship test.