If you are a potential immigrant looking to get your citizenship in Canada, one of the basic questions that will pop up in your mind is- how long does it take to get Canadian citizenship? The answer is that it is a good long process that you need to be acquainted with if that is your goal. And if that is not your goal, think again.
Who wouldn’t want to go to the land of friendly people, free healthcare, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau? Canadian citizenship may look pretty alluring to you. But you need to go through several steps. Let’s look at them one after the other.
The Process for Citizenship:
If you were wondering, no, there is no direct process that can make you a citizen of Canada. You need first to acquire the status of a Permanent Resident or PR, and then you can apply for citizenship. The applicants or immigrants are awarded the PR-ship by the Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada- IRCC. So first let us know how to get the PR status:
Express Entry System
This is Canada’s fast-track immigration system, rightly called Express Entry. This immigration program was launched by IRCC back in 2015. Under this program, you have to enter an online system where there will be points to mark you.
You have to submit your Expression of Interest or EOI, and you will be given points. These points will be given based on your age, work experience, language skills, education levels, etc. factors concerning you.
If you have been a skilled worker, you can transition into this new role by giving details as asked about your specific talents and job prospects. You will be compared with other applicants who will also take the scoring system. Every 15 days, IRCC will organize a draw and select the candidates with the top-tier scores on the Comprehensive Ranking System for further processing.
Provincial Nominee Program
There are several avenues people can pick from for this one. This program is available in every province of Canada. This program is coordinated with the Federal Government or the IRCC according to the requirements and rules of the said province. Each selected candidate under the program gets a Nomination Certificate, one of the marks of eligibility to get the PR status.
Quebec Skilled Worker Program
The QSWP is another popular pathway to get PR status, and it gets huge applicants every year for this purpose. The candidates selected under this program also get a certification called the Quebec Selection Certificate. This certificate helps them to apply further to the status of PR.
Other than these, people can take the route of help from a family member who is already a resident of Canada to get help on their PR status.
When you are invited to be a PR, you now have to confirm your plans with the Government to stay in Canada. According to the Govt., PR means living in Canada for a minimum of two years in five years. If you want to retain your status, you have to be inside borders for this time. If you are someone who doesn’t live in Canada, you should be a Crown Servant, working outside Canada as a public official.
Now, remember, all PRs do not make citizens. If you are someone living in Canada, you must hold a PR and remain physically present in the land for 4 years out of 6 years, the 6 years being the immediate 6 years before your application. When your time inside the land is relatively consistent, you can think of the next steps.
After Permanent Residency:
The Permanent Residents can work, eat, have fun, get healthcare coverage, travel, study, and do most of the Canadian things. But what can’t they do? The differences between those holding the PR status and the actual citizens include: not being able to vote, not being able to run for office, and not holding the type of job that requires or has a high-security clearance.
So, if you want these added benefits (and these happen to be the more important ones), you will need to be a Canadian citizen. Or, like it is in this article, apply for citizenship. And hopefully, that’s what you’re after.
So, say that you have become successful in attaining the Permanent Resident status. Now what? If you spent 4 out of 6 years in Canada as a PR, you are eligible to apply for citizenship.
Eligibilities for Applying for Canadian Citizenship:
- Must be more than 18 years of age. If you didn’t know already, those below 18 years are classified as minors. So, if you are not a legal adult, then you will need your parents or your legal guardian to fill up the application on behalf of you. You also need to be a Permanent Resident in Canada. Moreover, the parent or guardian who is applying on your behalf needs to be a Canadian citizen. If he/she/they are not, they should be someone asking at the same time as the minor.
- Needs to give proof or evidence that he or she can speak and write or communicate overall in at least one of Canada’s official languages, English and French.
- Needs to hold the status of PR or Permanent Resident in Canada.
- Have the intention of remaining and living in Canada after citizenship is granted.
- Stayed in Canada for 4 years out of 6 as a PR before applying for citizenship.
- In the said 4 years, needs to be present at least 183 days per year physically in Canada and not outside the country.
- Have filed the taxes regularly at the 4 years out of 6 years’ stay.
- Applied for citizenship from inside Canada, not outside or from the home country of the immigrant
So, How Long Does It Take to Get Canadian Citizenship?
After you have submitted all of your documents completely and truthfully, it should be 12 months till IRCC processes your application and requests and grants you citizenship. You can visit the IRCC website to get more details on Canadian citizenship.