To qualify for citizenship through naturalization, Canadians with 3 years of qualifying permanent resident status during the preceding 5 years may apply for Canadian citizenship.
Minors under 18 years of age may apply for citizenship if they are a permanent resident and have a parent who is either a Canadian citizen, or who is applying for citizenship at the same time. The completed application and processing fee is all that is required — they do not need to take the citizenship test.
Applications are submitted to the citizenship office in Sydney, Nova Scotia where they are pre-screened to ensure the application is complete and the 4-year residence rule has been met. Within about 12 months from submission, applicants will be required to attend an interview to demonstrate their knowledge of Canada in one of Canada’ Official languages.
Applicants for citizenship between the ages of 14-64 must provide evidence of their knowledge of one of Canada’s official languages on the date their application is submitted. The minimum language abilities to be met are described in the regulations as the capacity to:
The applicant for Citizenship must have English or French speaking and listening abilities that meet the language requirements described above. Written proficiency is not necessary. Evidence of language proficiency must include one of the following:
Individuals who underwent language testing in the process of applying for permanent residence can use those results as evidence of proficiency, even if they have since expired. Language tests currently approved by IRCC for citizenship application purposes are:
If your application for Canadian citizenship is refused, this decision may be appealed to the Federal Court of Canada. The first step in the appeal process involves filing a Notice of Application to the Federal Court within 30 days of receipt of the decision from Citizenship. This timeline is very important.
If you were honest on your application for permanent residence, and so the only errors are with your citizenship application, then on loss of citizenship you become a permanent resident. For example, if your days of declared residence in Canada were wrong, you would again become a permanent resident of Canada.
It is possible that on return to being a permanent resident that you will face additional challenges. If, while you were a permanent resident of Canada, you were committed a crime overseas and did not disclose this on your citizenship application, then on return to being a permanent resident (after loss of citizenship) you may face allegations that you are inadmissible to Canada for criminality. For more information on criminal admissibility, click here.
On the other hand, if you also misrepresented yourself on your permanent residence application then loss of citizenship will lead directly to loss of permanent resident.
The process of citizenship revocation begins with IRCC sending a Notice of Intent to Revoke Citizenship. The Notice will outline the grounds for revocation: the summary of IRCC’s case against you.
If you receive this Notice, you have the right to request that the matter be referred to the Federal Court for review within 30 days. The Federal Court process will begin with IRCC filing a Statement of Claim, which will set out in detail the reasons why IRCC believes that your citizenship should be revoked. You respond to this by filing a Statement of Defense. This is a highly complex process that has legal and financial implications. It is recommended that you seek experienced legal counsel to assist you if you find yourself before the Court in citizenship revocation proceedings.
Should the Federal Court find that IRCC’s allegations are inaccurate and/or insupportable, then the matter ends there and you maintain citizenship. However, if the matter is not referred to the Federal Court or if the Court finds that IRCC’s allegations are well-founded, then the Minister may proceed to submit a report to the Governor in Council recommending that citizenship be revoked.
This report by the Minister to the Governor in Council is to be disclosed to you- you then have the opportunity to make written submissions. These submissions would be attached to the final report provided to the Governor in Council, who must then determine whether the revocation should be carried out. If the Governor in Council finds that citizenship should be revoked, their decision is carried out by an Order in Council. If this happens to you, you still have the right to have the Federal Court judicially review the Governor in Council’s decision.