Obtaining Canadian Citizenship

If you have lived in Canada as a permanent resident for a certain length of time, are over the age of 18, and are not subject to immigration removal proceedings, you may qualify to apply for Canadian citizenship. If you have any questions on whether you are eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship or would like assistance with applying, please contact one of our lawyers linked below.

How long do I need to have lived in Canada?

After you have physically lived in Canada as a permanent resident for at least 1,460 days during the six years immediately preceding the date of your application, you may qualify to apply for Canadian citizenship. You must also be physically present for at least 183 days during each of the four calendar years that are fully or partially within the six years immediately before the date of your application.

What other requirements are there?

You also need to demonstrate the following:

  • You need to file your personal income tax obligations in the four taxation years that are fully or partially within the six years immediately before the date you apply;
  • You must establish your ability in one of Canada's two official languages: English and French;
  • You must pass the Citizenship Test, which establishes your knowledge of Canada. A free study guide is available here; and
  • You must declare your intent to reside during the citizenship application process, which include the following options:
    • Your intention to live in Canada;
    • Your intention to work outside Canada as a Crown servant; or
    • Your intention to live abroad with certain family members who are Crown servants.

What kind of things might prevent me from applying for Canadian citizenship?

If you have committed a crime in or outside Canada you may not be eligible to become a Canadian citizen for a period of time. For example, if you:

  • are in prison, on parole or on probation in Canada, or are serving a sentence outside Canada;
  • have been convicted of an indictable offence (an offence where you can go to jail) in Canada or an offence outside Canada in the four years before applying for citizenship; or
  • are charged with, on trial for, or involved in an appeal of an indictable offence in Canada, or an offence outside Canada.

Please note, being in jail does not count towards your requirement to physically reside in Canada for a certain period of time (see above).

I am a Canadian citizen who had children outside of Canada. Can my children inherit Canadian citizenship?

If you were either born in Canada or acquired Canadian citizenship through another process such as family class sponsorship or immigration as a worker, your children may be eligible to inherit Canadian citizenship even if they are born outside Canada. To help determine your children's eligibility and how to apply, please contact one of our lawyers.

Can I apply for Canadian citizenship for my child who is under 18?

Yes, you can apply on behalf of your dependent child under the age of 18 years. You can apply for your children at the same time as you apply for Canadian citizenship yourself, or after you become a Canadian citizen.

Why do I want Canadian citizenship?

Once you become a Canadian citizen, you have the right to enter, remain in, or leave Canada, one of the basic rights of citizenship. You can vote. Your children can inherit Canadian citizenship, even if they are born outside of Canada (first generation only). If you are convicted of a criminal offence, you will not have to risk leaving Canada. 

Contact one of our experienced immigration lawyers for further assistance with your citizenship matters: