Find out if you’re eligible — Citizenship

Eligibility

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

There are situations that can prevent you from becoming a Canadian citizen.

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

If you’ve 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 meet all conditions for a PR and must not be:

  • under review for immigration or fraud reasons
  • asked to leave Canada (removal order)

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

Time you have 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 help record your trips outside Canada. It will help you calculate your physical presence in Canada.

Calculate your physical presence
Using time as a temporary resident or protected person

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.

Each day spent physically in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person before becoming a permanent resident within the last 5 years will count as one half day, with a maximum of 365 days, towards your physical presence.

Temporary resident status includes lawful authorization to enter or remain in Canada as a:

  • visitor
  • student
  • worker or
  • temporary resident permit holder

A protected person is someone who:

  • was found to be in need of protection or a convention refugee by the Immigration and Refugee Board or
  • received a positive decision on a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

Note: If you made a refugee claim, or were included on a family member’s refugee claim, you will not be credited time in Canada from the date of the refugee claim until you have received a positive decision confirming that you are a protected person as described above.

Using time outside Canada as a Crown servant or family member of a Crown servant

You may be eligible to apply even if you don’t meet the minimum time lived in Canada if you’re a:

  • Crown servant (certain categories of public officials)
  • family member of a Crown servant

Income tax filing

Regardless of your age, if required under the Income Tax Act, you must meet your personal income tax filing obligations in three tax years that are fully or partially within the five years right before the date you apply.

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, we need you 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’ll 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 have committed a crime in or outside Canada, you may not be eligible to become a Canadian citizen for a period of time. This includes if you:

  • are serving a sentence outside Canada
  • are serving a term of imprisonment, on parole or on probation in Canada
  • are charged with, on trial for, or involved in an appeal of an:
  • have been convicted in the four years before applying for citizenship of an:

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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