To be eligible to become a Canadian citizen, you must:
- be a permanent resident
- have lived in Canada for 3 out of the last 5 years
- have filed your taxes, if you need to
- pass a test on your rights, responsibilities and knowledge of Canada
- demonstrate your language skills
There are also certain issues which can keep you from becoming a Canadian citizen.
There are additional or different requirements if you are:
- applying for a minor (under age 18)
- a Canadian applying for your adopted child born outside Canada
- a current or former Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) member applying under the fast-track process
- a past Canadian citizen who want your Canadian citizenship back (including current and former CAF members)
Spouses of Canadian citizens
You don’t automatically become a citizen when you marry a Canadian.
If you’re the spouse of a Canadian citizen, you must meet the same requirements listed above (no exception).
Children of Canadian citizens
If you have a Canadian parent, you may be a Canadian citizen. Please refer to our page on getting proof of Canadian citizenship.
Permanent resident status
Regardless of your age, if you’re applying for citizenship, you must have permanent resident (PR) status in Canada.
This means you must not:
- be under review for immigration or fraud reasons
- be asked by Canadian officials to leave Canada (removal order)
- have unfulfilled conditions related to your PR status, for example: medical screening
Before applying for citizenship, you should review the documents you received when you became a permanent resident to make sure you’re eligible.
You also do not need to renew your PR card to apply for Canadian citizenship – you can apply even if your card is expired or lost.
Time you’ve lived in Canada
Adults and some minors must have been physically present in Canada for at least 1095 days during the five years right before the date you sign your application.
You can also use time you have spent in Canada as a worker, student, worker, or TRP holder to meet the residence requirement.
Income Tax Requirement
You need to have filed taxes in Canada for at least 3 years during the 5 years right before the date you apply, if you needed to.
Canada has two official languages: English and French. If you’re 18 to 54 years of age on the day you sign your application, you must show that you can speak and listen at a specific level in one of these languages.
The ways we measure your language skills in English or French include:
- reviewing the proof you send with your application
- noting how well you communicate when you talk to a citizenship official anytime during the process
- assessing your language level during a hearing with a citizenship official, if necessary
To become a citizen, you need to meet the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) Level 4 or higher. This means you can:
- take part in short, everyday conversations about common topics
- understand simple instructions, questions and directions
- use basic grammar, including simple structures and tenses
- show you know enough common words and phrases to answer questions and express yourself
You may be able to use the language test results you used to become a permanent resident.
If you’re 18 to 54 years of age on the day you sign your application, you need to take the citizenship test. You’ll need to answer questions about the rights and responsibilities of Canadians and Canada’s:
The test is given in English or French and is 20 questions (pass mark: 15 correct answers). You must finish the test in 30 mintues.
If you committed a crime in or outside Canada, you may not be eligible to become a Canadian citizen for a period of time.
Time spent serving a term of imprisonment, on parole, or on probation doesn’t count as time you have lived in Canada.
Are you likely to receive a Residence Questionnaire (RQ)?
When IRCC is not sure that someone has met the residence requirement to become a Canadian, they will issue a Residence Questionnaire as a request for further documentation.
This documentation is to prove that you have been in Canada for the minimum number of days required to become a Canadian citizen – currently 1095 days.
In a residence questionnaire, you will need to answer questions and provide documentation regarding:
- Your time spent in Canada
- Your trips outside Canada
- Your family members’ place of residence
- Your employment both inside and outside Canada
- Your education both inside and outside Canada
- Your day to day life in Canada including trips to the doctor or dentist, daily expenditures like coffee, pizza, clothing, and other everyday items
A positive result to a residence questionnaire means that your application for the grant of Canadian citizenship will be approved.
If the information on the RQ is insufficient, or the officer still does not believe you met the requirement, then the case will go before a citizenship judge for a final decision. For this reason, it is absolutely in your best interest to present your case in the best possible light in the RQ