To Become a Canadian Citizen

Step 1: To apply for Canadian citizenship, you must qualify in six areas:

  1. Age – You must be at least 18 years of age. To apply for a child under 18:
    • You must be the child’s parent, adoptive parent, or legal guardian.
    • One parent must be a Canadian citizen or apply for citizenship at the same time as the child.
  2. Permanent resident status – Your permanent resident status must not be under review and you must not be under a removal order by Canadian officials.
  3. Time that you have lived in Canada – You have lived in Canada for at least three years (1095 days) in the past four years. This does not apply to children under age 18.
  4. Language ability – You need to have adequate knowledge of one of the Canada official languages: English or French. If you are between age18 to 54, you need to provide a document to prove your language ability.
  5. Criminal history – You may be prohibited from applying for citizenship if you have a criminal history, are on probation, or are charged with a crime and waiting for a trial.
  6. How well you know about Canada – You must understand the rights, responsibilities and freedoms of a Canadian citizen, as well as Canada’s:
    • history,
    • values,
    • institutions and
    • symbols

If you are between 18 and 54, you will need to write a knowledge test to show that you have adequate knowledge.


Step 2: Prepare and submit your application

If you qualify for these six areas, you need to fill out an application, gather documents, pay for the application fee and mail your application to the processing centre.


Step 3: Application processing and knowledge test

Processing time for routine applications currently takes up to 24 months. If you are between age18 and 54, you will receive a notice to take the knowledge test.


Step 4: Attend citizenship ceremony

If you have successfully written the knowledge test, or if you are age 55 or older and do not need to write a test, you will be invited to take an oath to become a Canadian citizen.


Upcoming Changes of Citizenship Act

The Citizenship Act was amended and passed in June 2014. There are changes related to decision making models, residency requirements, the age of applicants who need to prove language abilities and knowledge about Canada, filing income return, etc.

The Citizenship Act will be effective in the summer 2015. For more information, please visit

Government welcomes Royal Assent of Bill C-24

Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act: A comparative view