Apply for citizenship: Who can apply

Eligibility

To be eligible to become a Canadian citizen, you must:

Some eligibility requirements are different for minors (under age 18).

If you served in or with the Canadian Armed Forces, you may be able to apply through a faster process.

Permanent resident status

Regardless of your age, if you’re applying for citizenship, you must have permanent resident (PR) status in Canada.

This means you must not:

  • be under review for immigration or fraud reasons
  • be asked by Canadian officials to leave Canada (removal order)
  • have unfulfilled conditions related to your PR status, for example: medical screening

Before applying for citizenship, you should review the documents you received when you became a permanent resident to make sure you’ve met all of your terms and conditions.

You don’t need a valid PR card to apply for citizenship. You can apply with an expired PR card.

Time you’ve lived in Canada

Adults and some minors must have been physically present in Canada for at least 1095 days during the five years right before the date you sign your application.

We encourage you to apply with more than 1095 days of physical presence to have extra days in case there is a problem with the calculation.

Use a travel journal to record your trips outside Canada. It will help you calculate your physical presence in Canada.

You may be able to use some of your time spent in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person towards your physical presence calculation. Crown servants and family members of Crown servants may be able to use time spent outside Canada.

Calculate how much time you lived in Canada

Filing income tax

You need to have filed taxes in Canada for at least 3 years during the 5 years right before the date you apply, if you needed to.

Language skills

Canada has two official languages: English and French. If you’re 18 to 54 years of age on the day you sign your application, you must show that you can speak and listen at a specific level in one of these languages.

The ways we measure your language skills in English or French include:

  • reviewing the proof you send with your application
  • noting how well you communicate when you talk to a citizenship official anytime during the process
  • assessing your language level during a hearing with a citizenship official, if necessary

To become a citizen, you need to meet the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) Level 4 or higher. This means you can:

  • take part in short, everyday conversations about common topics
  • understand simple instructions, questions and directions
  • use basic grammar, including simple structures and tenses
  • show you know enough common words and phrases to answer questions and express yourself

We accept various certificates, diplomas and tests as proof of your language skills.

Find out if we accept your certificate, diploma or test results as proof

How well you know Canada

If you’re 18 to 54 years of age on the day you sign your application, you need to take the citizenship test. You’ll need to answer questions about the rights and responsibilities of Canadians and Canada’s:

  • history
  • geography
  • economy
  • government
  • laws
  • symbols

The test is:

  • in English or French
  • 30 minutes long
  • 20 questions (pass mark: 15 correct answers)
  • multiple-choice and true or false questions
  • based on the official citizenship study guide: Discover Canada
  • usually written, but may be oral

Learn more about the citizenship test.

Prohibitions

If you committed a crime in or outside Canada, you may not be eligible to become a Canadian citizen for a period of time.

Time spent serving a term of imprisonment, on parole, or on probation doesn’t count as time you have lived in Canada.

Read more about situations that may prevent you from becoming a Canadian citizen.

Check your eligibility

Answer some questions to help you find out if you’re ready to apply for citizenship. These questions are for adults (age 18 and over) who want to apply for citizenship. Minors (under age 18) have some different requirements.

Check your eligibility

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