Citizenship Requirements

For a permanent resident of Canada to become a Canadian citizen, one must meet various requirements concerning residency. This includes but not limited to language ability, understanding of the rights, privileges and responsibilities of what Canadian citizenship is all about. As with many components of Canadian immigration law there are some exceptions. Some of the exceptions to the 5-year period include individuals who were:

  • Working overseas for a bona fide Canadian company.

  • Were living abroad as a spouse or common law partner of Canadian citizens, or

  • Were living abroad as a spouse or common law partner of permanent residents who were working for a Canadian company.

For a permanent resident of Canada to be eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship. A permanent resident must have fulfilled their residency requirements. A permanent resident is permitted to live outside of Canada, however they must meet the requirement that they reside in Canada out of any 5-year period for at least 2-years. What most permanent residents confuse is that they believe every 5-years they need be in Canada for 2-years to maintain residency. This is not the case as the 5-years are on a sliding, continuous scale. The 5-years do not get reset every 5-years.

Bill C-6 and forthcoming changes

  • It reduces the residency requirement from 4 out of 6 years to 3 out of 5 years.

  • It removes the 183-day rule (previously, one had to have several years in which one was present 183 days, this is now removed)

  • Every day of residence before PR counts as half a day of residence (for up to 730 half days = 365 full days).

  • The intent to reside is not a requirement for citizenship anymore. This applies even to people who already applied for or received citizenship in the past. So even if you applied while bill C-24 was in effect, the intent to reside is deemed to never have applied to you.

  • The age range for the language requirement and citizenship test is rolled back to 18 through 54 years of age.

  • The minister can’t revoke citizenship anymore of an individual who committed crimes such as terrorism if this occurred after that person became a citizen. Those whose citizenships has been revoked because of this clause can get it back.

  • People who committed alleged fraud in their application now have the right to a court hearing before their citizenship is taken away.

  • Minors under 18 can now apply for citizenship independently. Note: If they apply independently, they MUST fulfil the residency requirement of 3/5. The current rule (minors do not need to fulfil the residency requirement) does still apply but only in the case where their parents are either already citizens or apply at the same time.

Some of the proposed changes have taken affect already while some will be in effect later on in 2017 or early 2018.