Citizenship grants: Applicants 18 years of age or older (adults)

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

On this page

For applications received at the CPC-S before June 19, 2017

Requirements summary

All adult applicants for a grant of citizenship must

  • make an application for Canadian citizenship;
  • be 18 years of age or older;
  • be a permanent resident of Canada and not have lost that status and have no unfulfilled conditions relating to that status;
  • meet residency requirements, which include physical presence and income tax filing;
  • have an adequate knowledge of one of Canada’s official languages;
  • have an adequate knowledge of Canada and of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship;
  • not be prohibited under section 21 or 22 of the Citizenship Act;
  • not be under removal order and not subject of a declaration by the Governor in Council made pursuant to section 20.

Note: Any of these requirements can be assessed at any point (e.g., hearings or interviews) during the processing of an application for the grant of citizenship).

Language requirements and criteria

Applicants between 18 and 54 years of age (adult grants) are required to demonstrate an adequate ability to communicate in either English or French, pursuant to paragraph 5(1)(d) of the Citizenship Act, unless prevented to do so by special circumstances. See the instructions on waivers.

Applicants who cannot provide language evidence due to a condition or issue

Applicants who are deaf and unable to provide upfront evidence of language ability must submit an audiogram issued by a Canadian audiologist, with a letter issued by the same audiologist attesting that the applicant is deaf and has severe to profound hearing loss, with little or no residual hearing, along with an explanation as to whether, and to what extent this impacts their ability to listen or speak.

Applicants who have a disorder, disability or condition that is cognitive, psychiatric or of psychological nature and which prevents them from submitting proof of language ability with their application will need to provide documentary evidence in support of the condition. The Case Processing Centre in Sydney (CPC-S) will ensure that there is at least one piece of supporting documentation included with the application; otherwise it will be returned to the applicant as incomplete.

Procedures at the CPC-S

If the application is complete and includes any supporting documents for medical condition, the CPC-S will flag the file for the local office.

Applications that do not include evidence of adequate language ability will be deemed incomplete and returned to the applicant.

Procedure in local offices

It should be noted that the contents of an applicant’s file are deemed Protected B and, as a result, must be handled and transmitted accordingly.

Depending on the complexities associated with each file, either a level 1 or level 2 decision maker will conduct language screening at the time of the program integrity interview. If there are language concerns, if the applicant requests a waiver of the language requirement due to a medical condition, or if the decision maker deems it appropriate to inform the applicant of their ability to request a waiver of the language requirement due to a medical condition, and the applicant decides to do so, a hearing with a citizenship officer is scheduled. Decision makers should also consider the section “Administering the knowledge test to clients with special needs”.

The local office is still responsible for providing the applicant the Request for Medical Opinion form [CIT 0015], if deemed necessary. This form can be handed to the applicant at the program integrity interview, or mailed to the applicant in advance depending on information contained on file. See the instructions on waivers.

At the time of initial interview, the citizenship official will verify the originals of the photocopies of the documents submitted by the applicant with the application, including the original of the objective language evidence.

Since clients have to provide evidence of language proficiency at the time their applications are submitted, citizenship officials should be able to conduct initial interviews with clients with ease as applicants will have provided evidence of meeting the language requirement at time of application and should be able to communicate at Canadian Language Benchmarks/Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (CLB/NCLC) Level 4 in speaking and listening. However, if there are any concerns about the applicant’s ability to communicate at CLB/NCLC Level 4 during the interview, these steps should be followed:

  1. The official completes the Citizenship Language Screening Tool (CLST) form [CIT 0505].
  2. If the applicant does not have all six elements identified on the CLST tool, or if the official is unable to assess all six elements due to communication difficulties, a hearing for a full language assessment with a level 2 citizenship officer should be scheduled. In the latter situation, the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) official must check the last box on the CLST to indicate to the citizenship officer that the screening tool was not completed because of difficulties communicating with the client.
  3. The CIC official signs and dates the CLST.
  4. Fully and partially completed screening tools must remain in the file regardless of whether or not the applicant is referred for a hearing for a full language assessment.

Note: Language interpreters or accompanying persons may not be used during the screening of a client’s ability to speak and listen in one of the official languages.

For applicants with special needs, citizenship officers may deem it necessary to inform the applicant of their ability to request a waiver of the language requirement.

Knowledge requirements and criteria

Applicants between 18 and 54 years of age are required to demonstrate that they have an adequate knowledge of Canada and the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship, pursuant to paragraph 5(1)(e) of the Citizenship Act, unless prevented to do so by special circumstances. See the instructions on waivers.

Adult testing

All applicants for an adult grant of citizenship (applicants between the ages 18 and 54 inclusive), are assessed on their knowledge of Canada, and knowledge of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship under paragraph 5(1)(e) of the Citizenship Act. All applicants who receive a passing mark on the citizenship knowledge test will be deemed to have met the requirement. Applicants 55 years of age or older are waived for the knowledge of Canada requirement and therefore, should not be scheduled for either a written test or oral hearing to assess the knowledge requirement. Applicants 55 years of age or older must still be invited to the local CIC so that identity, residence, and documents provided to support the citizenship application can be verified.

Knowledge based on the publication Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship

The knowledge of Canada and of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship requirement is assessed via a written, multiple-choice test or an oral knowledge hearing with a citizenship officer (if an applicant has special needs or has failed two attempts of the written test). See the section “Administering the knowledge test to clients with special needs”.

All knowledge test questions are based on information provided in Discover Canada. Written and oral versions of the test are made up of 20 questions and the pass mark is 75% (15 out of 20 questions correctly answered). All test questions are developed by the Citizenship Branch in National Headquarters (NHQ) and all questions used in the written test are approved by the Minister.

The CPC-S sends applicants a paper copy the Discover Canada study guide or a link to the online version of the study guide with their letter of acknowledgement. Applicants can also order any format of the guide they wish from the website.

Residence

The Citizenship Act requires that adult applicants under subsection 5(1)

  • be physically present in Canada for at least 1460 days during the six years immediately before the date of application;
  • be physically present in Canada for at least 183 days during each of four calendar years that are fully or partially within the six years immediately before the date of application; and
  • meet any applicable requirement under the Income Tax Act to file a return of income for the four taxation years that are fully or partially within the six years immediately before the date of application.

Clearances

The applicant must not be subject to the prohibitions contained in sections 21 and 22 of the Act.

Applicant must pass all clearances: immigration, criminality (RCMP) and security (CSIS).

The CPC-S initiates all clearances. Validity for clearances is as indicated below.

  • Immigration: one year
  • Criminality: one year
  • Security: four years

Requirements maintained until Oath

Subsection 22(6) of the Citizenship Act prohibits a person from taking the Oath of Citizenship if they never met or no longer meet the requirements of the Act. Applicants must then continue to meet all the requirements for the grant of citizenship until the taking of the Oath.

Citizenship officers may refuse an application for grant of citizenship after the application has already been approved if it has been determined that all of the requirements for the grant of citizenship have not been maintained at the time the Oath is to be taken. In these cases, the applicant will not be permitted to take the Oath.

For applications received at the CPC-S on or after June 19, 2017

On June 19, 2017, An Act to Amend the Citizenship Act and Make Consequential Amendments to Another Act repealed the age requirement for applications made under subsection 5(1) of the Act thereby allowing applications to be made for minors under this subsection. Minors who apply under this subsection will be required to meet all applicable requirements.

Requirements summary

All applicants for a grant of citizenship under subsection 5(1) of the Citizenship Act must

  • make an application for Canadian citizenship;
  • be a permanent resident of Canada and have no unfulfilled conditions relating to that status;
  • meet residency requirements which include physical presence and income tax filing;
  • if  under the age of 55 at the date of application, have an adequate knowledge of one of Canada’s official languages;
  • if  under the age of 55 at the date application, demonstrate in one of Canada’s official languages an adequate knowledge of Canada and of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship;
  • not be prohibited under section 21 or 22 of the Citizenship Act;
  • not be under removal order and not subject of a declaration by the Governor in Council made pursuant to section 20.

Note: Any of these requirements can be assessed at any point (e.g., hearings or interviews) during the processing of an application for the grant of citizenship.

Language requirements and criteria

Applicants 18 to 54 years of age (adult grants) are required to demonstrate an adequate ability to communicate in either English or French, pursuant to paragraph 5(1)(d) of the Citizenship Act, unless prevented to do so by special circumstances. See the instructions on waivers.

Adult applicants who cannot provide language evidence due to a condition or issue

Adult applicants who are deaf and unable to provide one of the upfront proofs of language ability, must submit an audiogram issued by a Canadian audiologist, with a letter issued by the same audiologist attesting that the applicant is deaf and has severe to profound hearing loss, with little or no residual hearing, along with an explanation as to whether, and to what extent this impacts their ability to listen or speak.

Adult applicants who have a disorder, disability or condition that is cognitive, psychiatric or of psychological nature and which prevents them from submitting proof of language ability with their application will need to provide documentary evidence in support of the condition. The CPC-S will ensure that there is at least one piece of supporting documentation included with the application, otherwise it will be returned to the applicant as incomplete.

Procedures at the CPC-S

If the application is complete and includes supporting document(s) for medical condition, the CPC-S will flag the file for the local office.

Applications that do not include evidence of adequate language ability will be deemed incomplete and returned to the applicant.

Procedure in local offices

It should be noted that the contents of an applicant’s file is deemed Protected B and, as a result, must be handled and transmitted accordingly.

Depending on the complexities associated to each file, either a level 1 or level 2 decision maker will conduct language screening at the time of the program integrity interview. If there are language concerns, or if the applicant requests a waiver of the language requirement due to a medical condition, or if the decision maker deems it appropriate to inform the applicant of their ability to request a waiver of the language requirement due to a medical condition, and that the applicant decides to do so, then a hearing with a citizenship officer is scheduled. Decision makers should also consider the section “Administering the knowledge test to clients with special needs”.

The local office is still responsible for providing the applicant the Request for Medical Opinion form [CIT 0547], if deemed necessary. This form can be handed to the applicant at the program integrity interview, or mailed to the applicant in advance depending on information contained on file. See the instructions on waivers.

At the time of initial interview, the citizenship official will verify the originals of the photocopies of the documents submitted by the applicant with the application, including the original of the objective language evidence.

Since adult applicants have to provide evidence of language proficiency at the time their applications are submitted, citizenship officials should be able to conduct initial interviews with clients with ease as applicants will have provided evidence of meeting the language requirement at the time of application, and should be able to communicate at CLB/NCLC Level 4 in speaking and listening. However, if there are any concerns about the applicant’s ability to communicate at CLB/NCLC Level 4 during the interview, these steps should be followed:

  1. The official completes the Citizenship Language Screening Tool (CLST) form [CIT 0505].
  2. If the applicant does not have all six elements identified on the CLST tool or if the official is unable to assess all six elements due to communication difficulties, a hearing for a full language assessment with a level 2 citizenship officer should be scheduled. In the latter situation, the CIC official must check the last box on the CLST to indicate to the level 2 citizenship officer that the screening tool was not completed because of difficulties communicating with the client.
  3. The CIC official signs and dates the CLST.
  4. Fully and partially completed screening tools must remain in the file regardless of whether the applicant is referred for a hearing for a full language assessment.

Note: Language interpreters or accompanying persons may not be used during the screening of a client’s ability to speak and listen in one of the official languages. See Using interpreters.

For applicants with special needs, citizenship officers may deem it necessary to inform the applicant of their ability to request a waiver of the language requirement.

Knowledge requirements and criteria

Adult applicants 18 to 54 years of age are required to demonstrate that they have an adequate knowledge of Canada and the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship pursuant to paragraph 5(1)(e) of the Citizenship Act, unless prevented from doing so by special circumstances. See the instructions on waivers.

All adult applicants for a grant of citizenship are assessed on their ability to demonstrate, in one of Canada’s official languages, adequate knowledge of Canada and of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship under paragraph 5(1)(e) of the Citizenship Act. All applicants who receive a passing mark on the citizenship knowledge test will be deemed to have met the requirement.

Applicants 55 years of age or older on the date of application are not required to demonstrate the knowledge of Canada requirement and should therefore not be scheduled for either a written test or an oral hearing to assess the knowledge requirement. Applicants 55 years of age or older must still be invited to the local CIC so that identity, residence, and documents provided to support the citizenship application can be verified.

Applicants can have access to a re-test if they fail the first written knowledge test and are referred to a knowledge hearing with a citizenship officer if they fail the re-test.

If an applicant fails the first written test, officers are to inform them of the opportunity to waive the retest and proceed directly to a knowledge hearing with a citizenship officer. If the waiver option is chosen, the officer should have the applicant complete the waiver of retest form, and input a note in Global Case Management System (GCMS).

Knowledge based on the publication Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship

The knowledge of Canada and of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship requirement is assessed via a written, multiple-choice test or an oral knowledge hearing with a citizenship officer (if an applicant has special needs or has failed two attempts of the written test). See the section “Administering the knowledge test to clients with special needs”.

All knowledge test questions are based on information provided in Discover Canada. Written and oral versions of the test are made up of 20 questions and the passing mark is 75% (15 out of 20 questions correctly answered). All test questions are developed by the Citizenship Branch in NHQ and all questions used in the written test are approved by the Minister.

The CPC-S sends applicants the paper copy of the Discover Canada study guide or a link to the online version of the study guide with their letter of acknowledgement. Applicants can also order any format of the guide they wish from the website.

Residence

The Citizenship Act requires that adult applicants under subsection 5(1)

  • be physically present in Canada for at least 1460 days during the 6 years immediately before the date of application;
  • be physically present in Canada for at least 183 days during each of 4 calendar years that are fully or partially within the 6 years immediately before the date of application;
  • meet any applicable requirement under the Income Tax Act to file a return of income for the 4 taxation years that are fully or partially within the 6 years immediately before the date of application.

Learn more about residence requirements.

Clearances

The applicant must not be subject to the prohibitions contained in sections 21 and 22 of the Act.

Adult applicant must pass all clearances: immigration, criminality (RCMP) and security (CSIS).

The CPC-S initiates all clearances. Validity for clearances is as indicated below.

  • Immigration: one year
  • Criminality: one year
  • Security: four years

Requirements maintained until Oath

Subsection 22(6) of the Citizenship Act prohibits a person from taking the Oath of Citizenship if they never met or no longer meet the requirements of the Act. Applicants must then continue to meet all the requirements for the grant of citizenship until the taking of the Oath.

Citizenship officers may refuse an application for grant of citizenship after the application has already been approved if it has been determined that all of the requirements for the grant of citizenship have not been maintained at the time the Oath is to be taken. In these cases, the applicant will not be permitted to take the Oath.

For applications received at the CPC-S on or after October 11, 2017

On June 19, 2017, An Act to Amend the Citizenship Act and Make Consequential Amendments to Another Act repealed the age requirement for applications made under subsection 5(1) of the Act thereby allowing applications to be made for minors under this subsection. Minors who apply under this subsection will be required to meet all applicable requirements. See Citizenship grants: Minors applying under subsection 5(1).

Requirements summary

All applicants for a grant of citizenship under subsection 5(1) must

  • make an application for Canadian citizenship or, in the case of a minor, has a person empowered to act on their behalf make the application;
  • be a permanent resident of Canada and have no unfulfilled conditions relating to that status;
  • meet residency requirements which include physical presence and income tax filing;
  • if between the ages of 18 and 54 years of age at the date of application, have adequate knowledge of one of Canada’s official languages;
  • if between the ages of 18 and 54 years of age at the date application, demonstrate in one of Canada’s official languages adequate knowledge of Canada, and the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship;
  • not be prohibited under section 21 or 22 of the Citizenship Act;
  • not be under removal order and not subject of a declaration by the Governor in Council made pursuant to section 20.

Note: Any of these requirements can be assessed at any point (e.g. hearings or interviews) during the processing of an application for the grant of citizenship.

Language requirements and criteria

Applicants 18 to 54 years of age are required to demonstrate an adequate ability to communicate in either English or French, pursuant to paragraph 5(1)(d) of the Citizenship Act, unless prevented to do so by special circumstances. See the instructions on waivers.

Applicants who cannot provide language evidence due to a condition or issue

Applicants who are deaf and unable to provide one of the upfront proofs of language ability, must submit an audiogram issued by a Canadian audiologist, with a letter issued by the same audiologist attesting that the applicant is deaf and has severe to profound hearing loss, with little or no residual hearing, along with an explanation as to whether, and to what extent this impacts their ability to listen or speak.

Applicants who have a disorder, disability or condition that is cognitive, psychiatric or of psychological nature and which prevents them from submitting proof of language ability with their application will need to provide documentary evidence in support of the condition. The CPC-S will ensure that there is at least one piece of supporting documentation included with the application, otherwise it will be returned to the applicant as incomplete.

Procedures at the CPC-S

If the application is complete and includes supporting document(s) for medical condition, the CPC-S will flag the file for the local office.

Applications that do not include evidence of adequate language ability will be deemed incomplete and returned to the applicant.

Procedure in local offices

It should be noted that the contents of an applicant’s file is deemed Protected B and, as a result, must be handled and transmitted accordingly. For further information please consult the Security Policy and Procedures Manual.

Depending on the complexities associated to each file, either a level 1 or level 2 decision maker will conduct language screening at the time of the program integrity interview. If there are language concerns, or if the applicant requests a waiver of the language requirement due to a medical condition, or if the decision maker deems it appropriate to inform the applicant of their ability to request a waiver of the language requirement due to a medical condition, and that the applicant decides to do so, then a hearing with a citizenship officer is scheduled. Decision makers should also consider the section Administering the knowledge test to clients with special needs.

The local office is still responsible for providing the applicant the Request for Medical Opinion form [CIT 0547], if deemed necessary. This form can be handed to the applicant at the program integrity interview, or mailed to the applicant in advance depending on information contained on file. See the instructions on waivers.

At the time of initial interview, the citizenship official will verify the originals of the photocopies of the documents submitted by the applicant with the application, including the original of the objective language evidence.

Since clients have to provide evidence of language proficiency at the time their applications are submitted, citizenship officials should be able to conduct initial interviews with clients with ease as applicants will have provided evidence of meeting the language requirement at the time of application, and should be able to communicate at CLB/NCLC Level 4 in speaking and listening. However, if there are any concerns about the applicant’s ability to communicate at CLB/NCLC Level 4 during the interview, these steps should be followed:

  1. The official completes the Citizenship Language Screening Tool (CLST) form [CIT 0505].
  2. If the applicant does not have all six elements identified on the CLST tool or if the official is unable to assess all six elements due to communication difficulties, a hearing for a full language assessment with a level 2 citizenship officer should be scheduled. In the latter situation, the CIC official must check the last box on the CLST to indicate to the level 2 citizenship officer that the screening tool was not completed because of difficulties communicating with the client.
  3. The CIC official signs and dates the CLST.
  4. Fully and partially completed screening tools must remain in the file regardless of whether the applicant is referred for a hearing for a full language assessment.

Note: Language interpreters or accompanying persons may not be used during the screening of a client’s ability to speak and listen in one of the official languages. See Using interpreters.

For applicants with special needs, citizenship officers may deem it necessary to inform the applicant of their ability to request a waiver of the language requirement.

Knowledge requirements and criteria

Testing

Applicants 18 to 54 years of age are required to demonstrate that they have an adequate knowledge of Canada and the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship pursuant to paragraph 5(1)(e) of the Citizenship Act, unless prevented from doing so by special circumstances. See the instructions on waivers.

All applicants for grant of citizenship under subsection 5(1) between the ages 18 and 54 on the date of application are assessed on their ability to demonstrate, in one of Canada’s official languages, adequate knowledge of Canada and of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship under paragraph 5(1)(e) of the Citizenship Act. All applicants who receive a passing mark on the citizenship knowledge test will be deemed to have met the requirement.

Applicants who are under the age of 18, or who are 55 years of age or older on the date of application are not required to demonstrate the knowledge of Canada requirement and should therefore not be scheduled for either a written test or an oral hearing to assess the knowledge requirement. Applicants who are under the age of 18, or who are 55 years of age or older must still be invited to the local office so that identity, residence, and documents provided to support the citizenship application can be verified.

Applicants can have access to a re-test if they fail the first written knowledge test and are referred to a knowledge hearing with a citizenship officer if they fail the re-test.

If an applicant fails the first written test, officers are to inform them of the opportunity to waive the retest and proceed directly to a knowledge hearing with a citizenship officer. If the waiver option is chosen, the officer should have the applicant complete the waiver of retest form, and input a note in Global Case Management System (GCMS).

Knowledge based on the official citizenship study guide publication

The knowledge of Canada and of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship requirement is assessed via a written, multiple-choice test or an oral knowledge hearing with a citizenship officer (if an applicant has special needs or has failed two attempts of the written test). See the section Administering the knowledge test to clients with special needs.

All knowledge test questions are based on information provided in the official citizenship study guide. Written and oral versions of the test are made up of 20 questions and the passing mark is 75% (15 out of 20 questions correctly answered). All test questions are developed by the Citizenship Branch in NHQ and all questions used in the written test are approved by the Minister.

The CPC-S sends applicants the paper copy of the official study guide, or a link to the online version of the study guide with their letter of acknowledgement. Applicants can also order any format of the guide they wish from the website.

Physical Presence

The Citizenship Act requires that applicants under subsection 5(1)

  • be physically present in Canada for at least 1095 days during the 5 years immediately before the date of application;
  • meet any applicable requirement under the Income Tax Act to file a return of income for the 3 taxation years that are fully or partially within the 5 years immediately before the date of application.

Learn more about residence requirements.

Clearances

The applicant must not be subject to the prohibitions contained in sections 21 and 22 of the Act.

Applicant must pass all clearances: immigration, criminality (RCMP) and security (CSIS).

The CPC-S initiates all clearances. Validity for clearances is as indicated below.

  • Immigration: one year
  • Criminality: one year
  • Security: four years

Requirements maintained until Oath

Subsection 22(6) of the Citizenship Act prohibits a person from taking the Oath of Citizenship if they never met or no longer meet the requirements of the Act. Applicants must then continue to meet all the requirements for the grant of citizenship until the taking of the Oath.

Citizenship officers may refuse an application for grant of citizenship after the application has already been approved if it has been determined that all of the requirements for the grant of citizenship have not been maintained at the time the Oath is to be taken. In these cases, the applicant will not be permitted to take the Oath.

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