Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) temporarily cancelled all citizenship ceremonies and tests more than two months ago as a part of special measures introduced in response to the global coronavirus pandemic. The government stated that these events would be rescheduled “in the near future” but did not provide a date for their re occurrence. However, newcomers to Canada who were about to officially become Canadian citizens and whose ceremonies have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic may soon be able to take the oath of citizenship virtually. The virtual citizenship events would be designed to “protect the integrity of the legal process and reflect the importance of the occasion”.
Benefits of Canadian citizenship
The Canadian passport is among the strongest in the world. There are several advantages of being a Canadian Citizen. Becoming a Canadian citizen comes with benefits and advantages those are not usually available to temporary and permanent residents.
Freedom to travel other countries without visa: For the most part, Canadians can travel anywhere in the world without worrying about visa restrictions. Canada recognizes dual citizenship, so if your country of birth also recognizes dual citizenship, then you may find yourself in the privileged position of holding two passports.
Right to vote and run for political office: Canadian citizenship comes with the right to vote in federal and provincial elections. Canadian citizens may play a vital role in influencing federal and provincial politics. Canadian citizens may hold a political office and represent Canadian constituents on issues like taxes, education and foreign policy.
Not to worry about losing status: Permanent residents must comply with certain residency requirements to maintain the status whereas, Canadians citizens can spend as much time as they like outside of Canada with no immigration and/or Canadian residency requirements and/or consequences. In addition, Canadian citizens will not ordinarily lose citizenship if convicted of a crime, while permanent residents will face deportation if the crime is considered serious enough to merit this consequence.
More job opportunities: Canadian citizens may qualify for certain federal and provincial jobs those require citizenship as well as jobs requiring security clearances. On the other hand, permanent residents may find themselves with employment choices that are limited by their status.
Don’t need to renew the immigration documentation: Permanent Resident cards are valid only for five years. Permanent Resident (PR) cards are required for international travel and may be requested by employers or other government agencies as a proof of permanent resident status. Therefore, permanent residents are in the unenviable position of needing to file a new application for a Permanent Resident Card and pay a new fee every five years. Canadian citizens have no similar obligation. A Citizenship Certificate is valid for indefinitely and Canadian citizens who wish to travel internationally need only renew their passports every ten years.
Citizenship fee set to be waived
An application fee of $530 and a “Right of Citizenship Fee” of $100 are required as part of the application process. However, the currently ruling Liberal Party of Canada has promised to ensure that permanent residents can apply for Canadian citizenship free of charge.
In order to be eligible for Canadian citizenship the following requirements must be met:
- Applicants must have Canadian permanent resident status and have lived in Canada for at least three years (1,095 days) out of the past five years before applying (unless there are exceptional circumstances). Children under 18 must also have permanent resident status, but do not have to satisfy the three-year requirement.
- Applicants must be able to speak either one or both of Canada’s two official languages (English or French) well enough to communicate in Canadian society. Individuals between the ages of 18 and 54 must submit proof of language proficiency.
- Applicants cannot have a criminal history considered prohibitive to granting Canadian citizenship (as decided by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, or IRCC).
- Applicants must be aware of the rights and responsibilities of citizens and have a basic knowledge of Canada’s geography, political system, and history.
- Applicants must submit a formal application to IRCC and pay a government processing fee and a right of citizenship fee.
Eligible candidates can apply for Canadian citizenship. Once approved, they will be required to take a citizenship test (for applicants between 18 and 54 only). Successful applicants must then attend a citizenship ceremony where they receive a certificate of Canadian citizenship and officially become new Canadian citizens.
Canadian citizenship will not be granted to applicants who:
- Do not meet the minimum required residency days in Canada;
- Cannot speak either English or French;
- Do not pass their citizenship test and/or interview; or
- Cannot provide the required proof of residency documentation.
There are also multiple legal and criminality issues that may make you ineligible for Canadian citizenship. If any of the following apply to you, you may not qualify for citizenship:
- You have had your citizenship taken away within the past five years;
- You have been convicted of a criminal offence in the past three years;
- You are in prison, on parole or on probation;
- You are under removal order from Canada;
- You are under investigation for or have been convicted of a war crime or a crime against humanity.
Contact us for assessment and more information
Need help staying in Canada!
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to challenging times in Canada and around the world. Many people are under distress and anxiety. We understand! Can-X is here to help you figure it out, so you can have peace of mind. You could be an international student, worker, or visitor looking to extend your stay in Canada. You may be seeking a pathway to permanent immigration. You may be looking to reunite with a loved one. Or you may want to be a Canadian Citizen. Whatever the reason, contact us to discuss your immigration needs, and we’ll provide our insights and help as much as we can during these difficult times.