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How to Apply for Canadian Citizenship

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Updated: 07/22/11

If you've lived in Canada as a permanent resident for three of the last four years, maybe it's time to apply for Canadian citizenship. Every year about 170,000 permanent residents become Canadian citizens. Here's how to apply for Canadian citizenship and be one of them.

If you're not yet a permanent resident of Canada, please see Immigration to Canada.

Difficulty: Hard
Time Required: 15 to 19 months for a routine application. Processing times may vary.

Here's How:

  1. Meet the eligibility requirements to apply for Canadian citizenship defined by Canada Immigration and Citizenship. In general, the eligibility requirements include: be at least 18 years old (there are additional requirements for parents and guardians applying for Canadian citizenship for a child); have permanent resident status in good standing and have lived in Canada for at least three of the four previous years; have an "adequate knowledge" of English or French; and not have any prohibitions due to a criminal history.
  2. Learn about Canada. You must be able to pass a test on the rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship and know about Canada's political system, history and geography. You will be provided with a study guide called Discover Canada (see Step 10).
  3. Download the appropriate citizen application form.
  4. Fill in the citizenship application form, following the instructions on the form carefully. Read the guide that goes with the application form thoroughly before you complete the form, as the application fees are not refundable.
  5. Pay the application fees and get the appropriate receipt. The amount of the fees will be listed on the application form. Attach the fee receipt to your citizenship application form.
  6. Have two citizenship photos taken to meet the photo specifications outlined in the citizenship application. Print the name of the person in the photo on the back of the photographs. Place the two photos in a small envelope.
  7. Sign and date the citizenship application form.
  8. Attach the required documents to the application form. Documents include a copy of your immigration landing record, copies of two pieces of identification, and the two citizenship photos.
  9. Mail the application to the address given in the citizenship application guide.
  10. Once your application for Canadian citizenship is received you will be sent a copy of the free study guide Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship in the mail. Begin studying the book as soon as you receive it.
  11. You will receive a Notice to Appear for a Citizenship Test. Appear on the date and time at the address in the Notice, and take the written citizenship test or interview as requested.
  12. If you meet all the requirements, you will receive a Notice to Appear to Take the Oath of Citizenship. Appear on the date and time at the address in the Notice, and take the Oath of Citizenship.
  13. Note: For more detailed information on applying for Canadian citizenship, see Becoming a Canadian Citizen on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada site. Be sure to read the Frequently Asked Questions provided by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

    If you still have questions, contact Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Tips:

  1. Be sure you are eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship the day before you sign your application. There is no refund of the processing fee.
  2. While you only need to include photocopies of your documents with the application form, you will need to bring the originals with you when you go to your test or interview.
  3. Complete a separate application form for each child. A child can only become a Canadian citizen if his or her parent is one.
  4. To apply for Canadian citizenship from outside Canada, consult your local Canadian embassy or consulate.
  5. Processing times for Canadian citizenship applications may vary. Check with Citizenship and Immigration Canada for average processing times.

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