Apply for citizenship: Who can apply
To be eligible to become a Canadian citizen, you must:
Check your eligibility
Answer some questions to help you find out if you’re ready to apply for citizenship.
These questions are only for adults (age 18 and over) who want to apply for citizenship.Check your eligibility
There are additional or different requirements if you are:
- applying for a minor (under age 18)
- a Canadian applying for your adopted child born outside Canada
- a current or former Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) member applying under the fast-track process
- a past Canadian citizen who want your Canadian citizenship back (including current and former CAF members)
Spouses of Canadian citizens
You don’t automatically become a citizen when you marry a Canadian.
If you’re the spouse of a Canadian citizen, you must meet the same requirements listed above (no exception).
Children and grandchildren of Canadian citizens
If you have a Canadian parent or grandparent, you may be a Canadian citizen.
- See if you may be a Canadian citizen
- To find out for sure, apply for a Canadian citizenship certificate
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’re eligible.
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 (physical presence)
You (and some minors, if applicable) must have been physically in Canada for at least 1,095 days (3 years) during the 5 years before the date you sign your application.
We encourage you to apply with more than 1,095 days of living in Canada in case there’s a problem with the calculation.
In your calculation, you may be able to include some of the time you spent
Filing income tax
You may need to file taxes in Canada for at least 3 years during the 5 years right before the date you apply.
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
Pass a citizenship test
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:
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.
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’ve lived in Canada
Find out about situations that may prevent you from becoming a Canadian citizen:
- If you’re not sure whether the situations apply to you, contact your lawyer or arresting police officer.
- Wait until the situation no longer applies before you apply for citizenship.
- We’ll review your application on a case-by-case basis.
Top questions about Canadian citizenship
- What are the requirements for becoming a Canadian citizen?
- I already have a citizenship application in process. How will the 2017 changes to the citizenship legislation affect my application?
- Do I become a Canadian when I marry a Canadian?
- How much does it cost to apply for Canadian citizenship?
- I am a citizen of another country. Will I lose that citizenship if I become a Canadian?
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