Canadian Citizenship Eligibility Criteria

To become eligible to apply for Canadian Citizenship, applicants must meet requirements related to the following:

  1. Age
  2. Status of permanent residency
  3. Time period for which applicant has lived in Canada
  4. Filing of income taxes
  5. Language skills
  6. Intention to live in Canada
  7. How well he or she knows about Canada and its Prohibitions

In 2014, changes to the Citizenship Act allowed Canadian Armed Forces members to apply through the Fast Track process which depends on how long you have served for the country rather than the duration you have lived in Canada. Members of the Foreign military are not required to be a permanent resident.


Applicants must be at least 18 years of age to apply for Canadian citizenship.

Persons under 18 can also seek citizenship as long as:

  • The applicant applying is the minor’s birth or adoptive parent or legal guardian
  • The child is a permanent resident
  • One parent is a Canadian citizen or applying to become a citizen at the same time

Permanent Resident Status:

The applicant of citizenship must have Permanent Resident (PR) status in Canada with all of the related conditions fulfilled and the PR must not be in any type of question.

Some conditions will restrict you from applying for citizenship. You must not:

  • be under review for a fraud or immigration case, or
  • be under a removal order from Canadian officials to go from Canada, or
  • have specific unfulfilled conditions relating to your PR status.

While you do not need a PR card to apply, an expired card can be used to apply for citizenship.

Duration Living in Canada:

Before applying for citizenship, you must have lived in Canada as a permanent resident for a minimum of 1,460 days during the six years before the date of your application. It is also mandatory that you be physically present for 183 days during each of the four calendar years that are fully or partially within the six years prior to the date of your application.

Crown servants and their family members may be exempted from this requirement.

Only time spent in Canada as a permanent resident will be accepted as your time in Canada.

Income Tax Filing of Applicant:

The applicant must have completed all of the income tax filing requirements for four years, either fully or partially, from the six years prior to applying for citizenship.

Language Skills:

English and French are the two main languages in Canada. To apply for citizenship, you must prove that you understand one of these two languages. This can be proved by following ways:

  • Must participate in short conversations about common, everyday topics
  • Must have knowledge about common words and phrases used to give views and answer questions.
  • Must know basic grammar concepts such as sentence structures, tenses, etc.
  • Must be able to understand simple instructions and directions given by authorities.

If you are between 14 to 64 years, you must send related documents showing that the applicant is able to understand and speak the English or French language well. In addition, how well you communicate to a citizenship officer or staff throughout the duration of your interview will also be noted.

Intention to Live in Canada:

During the application process, you must declare your intention to live in Canada.

In order to become a Canadian citizen, you must indicate your intention to:

  • reside in Canada,
  • work as a Crown Servant outside the Canadian border
  • live overseas with family members who are Crown Servants

Upon receiving your Canadian citizenship, you will receive the basic right to live in Canada and travel in and out of the country.

Understanding of Canada:

It is imperative that you understand the rights, responsibilities and privileges that are associated with Canadian citizenship before you lodge your application. You are required to prove that you understand, in English or French, Canada’s history, values, symbols and institutions.

Those persons between the age of 14 and 64 will be required to complete a written citizenship test to prove that they have adequate knowledge of Canada and the privileges and responsibilities of citizenship. While this exam is usually written, it can sometimes be taken orally with a citizenship officer.

Prohibitions for Applicant:

If you have been charged for a crime, either in Canada or overseas, you will not eligible to apply for or become a citizen of Canada. Some examples include:

  1. If you are in prison, on parole and is under any obligation outside Canada.
  2. If were charged under an indictable crime in or outside Canada in the last four years from the date of your application.

If you are in prison, on parole and is under any obligation outside Canada.

If were charged under an indictable crime in or outside Canada in the last four years from the date of your application.

If you have carried out a prison sentence or are on parole, those do not count towards your time of living in Canada. If you have been convicted of a crime, your time on probation also does not count.

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