Citizenship grants: Canadian Armed Forces

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.

This section is about granting citizenship to a person who is or was serving in or with the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). Amendments to the Citizenship Act that came into force on June 19, 2014, along with further amendments that came into force on June 11, 2015, provide for an expedited access to citizenship for persons who are serving or have served in or with the CAF. These applications are to be processed on a priority basis.

General requirements

The applicant must

  • be a permanent resident, have no unfulfilled conditions relating to their status as a permanent resident, and, if released from the CAF, have been released honourably; or
  • be or have been attached or seconded to the CAF.

The applicant must also

  • make an application for Canadian citizenship;
  • be 18 years of age or older;
  • meet the service requirement;
  • 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; and
  • not be under removal order and not be subject of a declaration by the Governor in Council made pursuant to section 20 of the Act.

For applications signed after June 11, 2015, in addition to the requirements noted above, the applicant must meet the income tax filing requirement, if they are a permanent resident.

Required documents and fees

  • Each applicant has to submit an Application for Canadian Citizenship – Adults – Canadian Armed Forces [CIT 0532 (PDF, 1.96MB)] and all documents listed on the document checklist.
  • Each adult application must include the right of citizenship fee and the processing fee for an adult grant application. The right of citizenship fee is refunded if, for any reason, the applicant does not acquire citizenship (e.g., the applicant withdraws the application or does not meet requirements).

Service requirement

Subsections 5(1.2) and 5(1.3) exempt an adult applicant from the physical presence requirement of paragraph 5(1)(c) if the applicant has served in or with the CAF.

For applications signed between June 19, 2014, and June 11, 2015, the applicant must have completed two years (730 days) of service in or with the CAF in the four years (1460 days) immediately preceding the date of application.

For applications signed on or after June 11, 2015, the applicant must have completed three years (1095 days) of service in or with the CAF in the six years (2190 days) immediately preceding the date of application.

“Service” in the CAF includes

  • all time spent serving as a member of the CAF (either as a Regular Force or Reserve Force member), regardless of whether the member is being paid for full-time service or other than full-time paid service (e.g., part-time) or whether the member had any periods of leave without pay; and
  • all time spent serving as a foreign military member attached or seconded to the CAF.

Evidence of service

Applicants will provide documents to demonstrate they meet the service requirement.

Current members must provide

  • a letter from their Commanding Officer; and
  • a copy of their Member Personnel Record Resumé.

Released members must provide

  • a copy of their Member Personnel Record Resumé; and
  • a copy of their Certificate of Service (this is only issued to members who were released honourably).

Attached or seconded applicants (who may not be permanent residents) must provide

  • a letter from their Commanding Officer; and
  • a copy of their instructions or orders supporting the attachment or secondment.

If an applicant has periods of service that are not consecutive, the applicant should provide separate documents for each period.

Note: For previous attached or seconded service (i.e., not current), the applicant will not be able to provide a letter from their Commanding Officer. The applicant should be able to provide a copy of the instructions or orders supporting the attachment or secondment. If an applicant is unable to provide a copy of the instructions or orders but does provide evidence of service, other than those listed above, this evidence will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Calculating service for applications signed prior to June 11, 2015

Each cumulative year of service during the four-year period counts towards the service requirement for citizenship (two years or 730 days). The periods of service do not need to be consecutive, nor do they need to be of the same type of service. The periods of service may include previous service, current service, service provided through attachment or secondment, or any combination thereof.

The calculation of service cannot go beyond the four-year period before the date of application.

There is presently no service calculator built into the Global Case Management System (GCMS); therefore, for applications processed in Legacy GCMS, officers will have to manually calculate the years of service by adding up all of the periods of service in the relevant period until updates to GCMS can be made. The service calculator is present in the rebuild of GCMS; therefore, officers are not required to manually calculate residence for applications processed in the rebuild platform.

The following examples illustrate how to calculate service for applications signed prior to June 11, 2015.

Example 1

Currently enrolled in the CAF

An applicant enrolled in the CAF on April 1, 2011, and is currently still a member of the CAF. The applicant submitted an application for citizenship on August 1, 2014. The four-year period is from August 1, 2010, to July 31, 2014.

Service:

  • April 1, 2011, to March 31, 2012 = 366 days
  • April 1, 2012, to March 31, 2013 = 365 days
  • April 1, 2013, to March 31, 2014 = 365 days
  • April 1, 2014, to July 31, 2014 = 122 days

The applicant meets the service requirement for citizenship (1,218 days of service).

Example 2

Released from the CAF

An applicant enrolled in the CAF on February 1, 2007, and was honourably released on February 1, 2012. The applicant submitted an application for citizenship on September 1, 2014. The four-year period is from September 1, 2010, to August 31, 2014.

Service:

  • September 1, 2010, to August 31, 2011 = 365 days
  • September 1, 2011, to February 1, 2012 = 154 days

The applicant does not meet the service requirement (519 days of service).

Example 3

Currently seconded to the CAF

An applicant was seconded to the CAF on October 1, 2012, and is currently still on secondment with the CAF. The applicant submitted an application for citizenship on October 15, 2014. The four-year period is from October 15, 2010, to October 14, 2014.

Service:

  • October 1, 2012, to September 30, 2013 = 365 days
  • October 1, 2013, to September 30, 2014 = 365 days
  • October 1, 2014, to October 14, 2014 = 14 days

The applicant meets the service requirement (744 days of service).

Example 4

Multiple types of service

A foreign military member was attached to the CAF from January 1, 2012, to July 1, 2012. The applicant applied for permanent residence, and became a permanent resident on March 12, 2013. After returning to Canada as a permanent resident, the applicant enrolled in the CAF on June 1, 2013. The applicant submitted an application for citizenship on February 1, 2015. The four-year period is from February 1, 2011, to January 31, 2015.

Service:

  • January 1, 2012, to July 1, 2012 = 183 days
  • June 1, 2013, to May 31, 2014 = 365 days
  • June 1, 2014, to January 31, 2015 = 245 days

The applicant completed 183 days attached service as a foreign military member and 610 days of current service. The applicant meets the service requirement (183 days of service).

Example 5

Non-consecutive service

A permanent resident was a member of the Reserve Force from January 1, 2011, to December 31, 2011. The applicant enrolled in the Regular Force on March 15, 2014. The applicant submitted an application for citizenship on November 15, 2014. The four-year period is from November 15, 2010, to November 14, 2014.

Service:

  • January 1, 2011, to December 31, 2011 = 365 days
  • March 15, 2014, to November 14, 2014 = 245 days

The applicant does not meet the service requirement (610 days).

Calculating service for applications signed on or after June 11, 2015

Each cumulative year of service during the six-year period counts towards the service requirement for citizenship (3 years or 1095 days). The periods of service do not need to be consecutive, nor do they need to be of the same type of service. The periods of service may include previous service, current service, service provided through attachment or secondment, or any combination thereof.

The calculation of service cannot go beyond the six-year period before the date of application.

There is presently no service calculator built into GCMS; therefore, for applications processed in Legacy GCMS, officers will have to manually calculate the years of service by adding up all of the periods of service in the relevant period until updates to GCMS can be made. The service calculator is present in the rebuild of GCMS; therefore, officers are not required to manually calculate residence for applications processed in the rebuild platform.

The following examples illustrate how to calculate service for applications signed on or after June 11, 2015.

Example 1

Currently enrolled in the CAF

An applicant enrolled in the CAF on April 1, 2012, and is currently still a member of the CAF. The applicant submitted an application for citizenship on August 1, 2015. The six-year period is from August 1, 2009, to July 31, 2015.

Service:

  • April 1, 2012, to March 31, 2013 = 365 days
  • April 1, 2013, to March 31, 2014 = 365 days
  • April 1, 2014, to March 31, 2015 = 365 days
  • April 1, 2015, to July 31, 2015 = 122 days

The applicant has 1217 days of service. The applicant meets the service requirement.

Example 2

Released from the CAF

An applicant enrolled in the CAF on February 1, 2007, and was honourably released on February 1, 2013. The applicant submitted an application for citizenship on September 1, 2016. The six-year period is from September 1, 2010, to August 31, 2016.

Service:

  • September 1, 2010, to August 31, 2011 = 365 days
  • September 1, 2011, to August 31, 2012 = 366 days
  • September 1, 2012, to February 1, 2013 = 154 days

The applicant has 885 days of service. The applicant does not meet the service requirement.

Example 3

Currently seconded to the CAF

An applicant was seconded to the CAF on October 1, 2014, and is currently still on secondment with the CAF. The applicant submitted an application for citizenship on October 15, 2017. The six-year period is from October 15, 2011, to October 14, 2017.

Service:

  • October 1, 2014, to September 30, 2015 = 365 days
  • October 1, 2015, to September 30, 2016 = 366 days
  • October 1, 2016, to October 14, 2017 = 14 days

The applicant has 745 days of service. The applicant does not meet the service requirement.

Example 4

Multiple types of service

A foreign military member was attached to the CAF from January 1, 2012, to July 1, 2012. The applicant applied for permanent residence, and became a permanent resident on March 12, 2015. After returning to Canada as a permanent resident, the applicant enrolled in the CAF on June 1, 2015. The applicant submitted an application for citizenship on February 1, 2018. The six-year period is from February 1, 2012, to January 31, 2018.

Service:

  • February 1, 2012, to July 1, 2012 = 152 days
  • June 1, 2015, to May 31, 2016 = 366 days
  • June 1, 2016, to May 31, 2017 = 365 days
  • June 1, 2017, to January 31, 2018 = 245 days

The applicant completed 152 days attached service as a foreign military member and 976 days of current service for a total of 1128 days of service. The applicant meets the service requirement.

Example 5

Non-consecutive service

A permanent resident was a member of the Reserve Force from January 1, 2015, to December 31, 2016. The applicant enrolled in the Regular Force on March 15, 2020. The applicant submitted an application for citizenship on November 15, 2020. The six-year period is from November 15, 2014, to November 14, 2020.

Service:

  • January 1, 2015, to December 31, 2015 = 365 days
  • January 1, 2016, to December 31, 2016 = 366 days
  • March 15, 2020, to November 14, 2020 = 245 days

The applicant has 976 days of service. The applicant does not meet the service requirement.

Applicant released other than honourably

If the applicant was released other than honourably from the CAF, the applicant does not qualify for citizenship via the fast-track mechanism.

Article 15.01 of the Queen’s Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Forces sets out the categories of release. Releases under the following categories are honourable:

  • Item 3, Medical;
  • Item 4, Voluntary; and
  • Item 5, Service Completed.

Releases under the following categories are not honourable:

  • Item 1, Misconduct; and
  • Item 2, Unsatisfactory Service.

If the applicant has been released and declares on the application that the release is not honourable, the CPC-S will return the application and advise the applicant to apply under the regular grant application. If the case has been created, and the CPC-S discovers that the applicant was not released honourably, the CPC-S will refer the application to the local office for follow-up.

If the application is either referred to the local office for follow-up or the citizenship officer in the local office discovers that the applicant was released other than honourably from the CAF, the citizenship officer will send a procedural fairness letter to the applicant allowing them the opportunity to respond to the officer’s concerns. If the applicant is unable to resolve the officer’s concerns, the application can be refused under subsection 5(1.2).

Prohibitions

Like a regular adult grant, valid immigration, criminal, and security clearances are required and the prohibitions outlined in section 22 apply.

For cases processed in Legacy GCMS, individuals who are attached or seconded to the CAF and who are not permanent residents will not receive a “Passed” clearance from the Operations Support Centre. These cases will be flagged for follow-up to the local office. It will be the responsibility of the citizenship officer at the local office to review the applicant’s history in the Field Operations Support System (FOSS) or GCMS to ensure that the applicant is not under a removal order and pass the immigration clearance as appropriate. If the immigration clearance is passed, a note in GCMS is to be entered stating “Applicant is not a permanent resident”. No adverse information in FOSS/GCMS. Applicant attached or seconded to the CAF. Immigration clearance passed.”

If fingerprints are required, the local office is to send the Request for Fingerprints – Canadian Armed Forces [CIT 0537] and/or the Final Request for Fingerprints – Canadian Armed Forces [CIT 0538]. As these forms are not yet available in Legacy GCMS, the local office is to save a copy of the form in GCMS via Electronic Document.

Language and knowledge requirements

Persons who are serving or have served in or with the CAF are subject to the language and knowledge requirements under paragraphs 5(1)(d) and (e) of the Act.

Requirement to have no unfulfilled conditions as a permanent resident

This requirement is applicable to applications in the inventory and applications signed on or after June 11, 2015. This requirement is only applicable to persons applying as permanent residents as referred to in subsection 5(1.2). Applicants who are attached or seconded to the CAF and who are not permanent residents are not subject to this requirement.

The requirement under subsection 5(1.2) to have no unfulfilled conditions in relation to one's permanent resident status is the same as the requirement under paragraph 5(1)(c).

Requirement to file income taxes

This requirement is only applicable to applications signed on or after June 11, 2015. This requirement is only applicable to persons applying as permanent residents. Applicants who are attached or seconded to the CAF and who are not permanent residents are not subject to this requirement.

Persons who are serving or have served in the CAF applying as a permanent resident [as referred to in subsection 5(1.2)] are required to have met any applicable requirement under the Income Tax Act to file an income tax return in respect of three taxation years that are fully or partially within the six years immediately before the date of the application. The procedure to assess the income tax filing requirement is the same as the procedure to assess the requirement under paragraph 5(1)(c).

Procedures for the CPC-S

A dedicated post office box has been created for applications by persons who are serving or have served in or with the CAF. When an application is received, it will be processed at the CPC-S on a priority basis. The CPC-S will use a red file jacket when creating the physical file so as to easily identify the file as a CAF file.

Applications under the fast-track provisions are subject to the standard procedures for accepting applications. Applications that are not complete will be returned to the applicant.

The Completeness Checklist – Canadian Armed Forces form [CIT 0535] will be completed and placed on the file. For applications processed in Legacy GCMS, GCMS does not contain fields to capture the date of enrollment in the CAF, the date of release from the CAF, or the years of service. The CPC-S will calculate the years of service (see Calculating service above) and will note the calculation, the date(s) of enrollment and the date(s) of release (if applicable) in the Comments section of the CIT 0535 form and in GCMS via Case Notes.

The CPC-S will verify the evidence of service documents and note any discrepancies or concerns on the CIT 0535 form.

Procedures for the local office

When the file is received in the local office, it will continue to be processed on a priority basis.

The local office will ensure that the applicant is scheduled for the first available testing session once valid clearances have been obtained. The Citizenship Application Record of Decision – Canadian Armed Forces form [CIT 0542] is to be manually populated (only for applications processed in Legacy GCMS), printed, and placed on the file prior to the test session. Part I of the form is to be completed prior to the test or the interview. A level 2 officer will conduct the interview and complete Part II and Part III of the form.

If citizenship is granted, the applicant should be invited to the next available ceremony.

Decision

Citizenship officers are the decision makers on applications for a grant of citizenship by persons who are serving or have served in or with the CAF and meet the service requirement found in subsections 5(1.2) and 5(1.3) of the Act.

For applications where a decision can be rendered following testing, the CIT 0542 form is to be used. For applications where a hearing with a citizenship officer is required, the Decision of the Minister’s Delegate – Section 5 – Canadian Armed Forces form [CIT 0540] is to be used.

For applications processed in Legacy GCMS, these forms are not available in GCMS. The local office will be required to manually populate the relevant fields until the forms become available in GCMS.

Oath of Citizenship

An applicant for a grant of citizenship who is serving or has served in or with the CAF and meets the service requirement found in subsections 5(1.2) and 5(1.3) is required to take the Oath of Citizenship in Canada, unless a waiver of the Oath has been granted.

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