If you are already a permanent resident and you are thinking of applying to become a Canadian citizen, there is important information about the process of securing your Canadian citizenship that you need to know.
Generally speaking, Canadian, permanent residents enjoy similar rights to Canadian citizens. However, there are exceptions.
One of the exceptions to the rights enjoyed generally by Canadian citizens and permanent residents includes the fact that Canadian permanent residents are not able to vote while Canadian citizens can.
Holding Public Office
Another exception is the fact that Canadian permanent residents may also not hold public office unlike Canadian citizens.
Renewal of Permanent Residency
Canadian permanent residents must apply to get their permanent residency card renewed. This is referred to as a residency requirement, a requirement that does not apply to Canadian citizens.
When applying, they must show that they have been in Canada for at least two years in the last five-year period. Ideally, this is one of the requirements that must be met by Canadian permanent residents to maintain their residency.
The natural step after becoming a Canadian permanent resident is to become a Canadian citizen. Citizenship would then entitle you to the full benefits and rights enjoyed by Canadian citizens. Nonetheless, it is still a process that you would need to understand to successfully apply for your Canadian citizenship.
Applying for Canadian Citizenship
First and most importantly, you must be a Canadian permanent resident before you can become a Canadian citizen. This means that you must not be under any kind of immigration status review as a Canadian permanent resident by the Canadian authorities at the time you intend to apply for citizenship.
1095 Day Requirement
In addition, there is residency requirement that you must meet. You must show that you have been in Canada for at least three years during the preceding five-year period. In other words, your application must show that you have been in Canada for 1095 days, which is an equivalent of three years.
It is therefore a mandatory requirement that you show that you have been in Canada for at least three years during the preceding five-year period.
This can sometimes be challenging especially in situations where permanent residents have reasons to be outside of Canada during the residency. For instance, there are situations where permanent residents have been outside Canada studying or have their families in other regions such as the United States. They may have been outside Canada for multiple periods of time or multiple days.
In such scenarios, it is of utmost importance to establish and show that the 1095 days minimum requirement has been met. To do so, it may sometimes require the immigration lawyer to apply for an Access To Information Report (ATIR) to prove that the minimum required days of being in Canada have been met. The report shows the dates which a particular resident entered, departed and re-entered Canada during their residency.
In some situations, the immigration lawyer may also have to find the dates on a resident’s passport and entry stamps to determine how long they have been outside of Canada and whether or not this requirement has been met.
Filing Income Taxes
In addition to the 1095-day requirement, you must show that you have been filing your income taxes. This is another general requirement for a Canadian citizenship application.
Language Skills Requirement
The language skills requirement is another requirement that must be met by persons who fall between the ages of 18 and 54 years. An applicant in this age bracket has to pass a language test. Whether the language is English or French, a person needs to pass at a minimum of level four.
If you are under 18 years old or over 54 years old, you do not need to take this language test. You will also not be required to do the rights, responsibilities and knowledge test that persons between the age of 18 and 54 years must do.
Rights, Responsibilities And Knowledge Test
This test is quite straightforward and not overly complicated. It just touches on general information about Canada such as history, geography, laws and symbols. The test is mandatory, and you must pass. Generally speaking, you will have three shots at it. After the third attempt, you will have to re-apply for your Canadian citizenship. However, this is usually not a hindrance for persons who want to apply for the Canadian citizenship.
The Citizenship Interview
The citizenship interview is another important step of the application. This interview is only done by residents who are between the ages of 18 and 54 years old.
Generally speaking, minors under the age of 18, do not typically have to do the interview except for certain kinds of situations. For instance, if you are between 14 and 17 years old and you are without a Canadian parent or a parent applying for citizenship at the same time, you will be required to do the interview.
In summary, residents between the age of 18 and 54 years old must do the citizenship interview, the language test and the knowledge test.
The citizenship interview typically happens at the stage when an applicant gets their test results back. Once an applicant has completed the interview and passed the tests, they then become ready to be invited to participate in their citizenship ceremony. After the ceremony, a person then officially becomes a Canadian citizen.
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