Citizenship grants: Applicants 55 years of age or older

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

With amendments to the Citizenship Act in 2017, the age range to meet language and knowledge requirements was amended from 14-64 to 18-54. This provision is retroactive, therefore, applicants who have not yet been assessed, or are in the process of being assessed for knowledge and language requirements and were 55 years of age or older on the date they signed their application will no longer be required to meet these requirements.

Exception: For applications received before June 11, 2015, applicants 55 years of age or older are automatically waived from meeting language and knowledge requirements. If an applicant turns 55 years of age during processing and before a citizenship officer renders a decision, the citizenship officer must not refuse the application and must apply the automatic waiver under subsection 5(3).

While applicants 55 years of age or older are not required to meet the knowledge of Canada and language requirements, they must still be scheduled to appear for an interview as they must meet other requirements under subsection 5(1) of the Citizenship Act.

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The interview, by a citizenship officer, is to confirm the applicant’s identity and the information given on their application, as well as to determine whether the applicant meets the requirements for citizenship.

Local offices will use this opportunity to instruct applicants on the requirement to take the Oath of Citizenship at a ceremony should they receive an invitation to appear at a citizenship ceremony.

Applicants scheduled for an interview with an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) officer are sent a Notice to Appear – To write a citizenship test and for verification of identity/documents. For applications received before June 11, 2015 use [CIT 0023] and for applications received on or after June 11, 2015 use [CIT 0023CIF2], by regular mail to the last known address, 14 days before the interview date.

Verifying identity

The applicant is required to bring the following documents to the interview (see the Verifying identity section):

  • current passport and expired passports, or travel document;
  • copies of the bio page of the passport;
  • copies of pages with stamps;
  • permanent resident card;
  • IMM 1000 form (if applicable); and
  • two pieces of personal identification, at least one of which has a photograph and a signature.

If necessary, an interpreter or accompanying person can attend the interview with the applicant.

Citizenship officer’s duties during interview

The citizenship officer must

  • verify the application data;
  • compare the pieces of identity provided with the application against the originals;
  • compare photos to the applicant;
  • check signature;
  • check declared absences against current passport or expired passport within the four years preceding the application;
  • check criminality and prohibitions; and
  • assess the level of language understanding for oath-taking purposes.

For applicants 55 years of age or older who have difficulty understanding or speaking either English or French, the citizenship officer is to conduct the interview through an interpreter. The Accompanying Person Declaration and Interpreter's Oath form [CIT 0117] must be completed before or during the interview.

When a citizenship officer notices that a candidate has difficulty understanding or speaking one of the official languages, they must explain to the applicant, using the interpreter, that the final legal step to become a Canadian citizen is to repeat the Oath after the presiding official at a citizenship ceremony. See Oath of Citizenship.

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