Do you dream of becoming a Canadian citizen, sharing all the rights and responsibilities of those who were born citizens of this great nation? If so, our team can help.
Our attorneys have helped thousands of individuals become citizens, and we’re prepared to help you, too. Here’s a brief overview of what you need to know about obtaining Canadian citizenship.
Obtaining Canadian Citizenship by Birth
Almost everyone who was born in Canada is a citizen by birth, even if their parents were not naturalized citizens or citizens by birth.
There are exceptions. For example if your parents were born in Canada then you remain a citizen of their nation, not a citizen of Canada.
Being adopted by a Canadian citizen does not make you a Canadian citizen if you were born in another nation. You will have to go through the naturalization process upon reaching 18 years of age, or your parents will have to apply for you while you are still a minor.
Obtaining Canadian Citizenship Through Permanent Resident Status
Permanent residents who have lived in Canada for three out of the last 5 years are eligible to apply for citizenship if they:
- Have filed and paid their taxes properly every year they were in Canada.
- Have passed a citizenship test.
- Can prove their language skills.
Those who are applying under the Canadian Armed Forces fast-track process have some additional requirements they’ll have to meet.
Your PR status must be in good legal standing: your status can’t be under review for immigration or fraud reasons, you must not be under a removal order, and you must not have any unfilled conditions related to your PR status.
Prior to applying for citizenship you should meet and begin working closely with an immigration attorney to make sure everything is in order.
Obtaining Canadian Citizenship for Refugees
Refugees become permanent residents when their refugee claim is approved. Once they are permanent residents they may apply for citizenship like any other permanent resident, and must meet the same requirements.
Things You Need to Become a Canadian Citizen Through Naturalization (Citizenship Application Requirements)
You’ll need to complete and send the following documents:
- An Application for a Citizenship Certificate
- A citizenship photograph.
- Two pieces of personal identification, such as a passport, a driver’s license, or a health insurance card. One must have your photo on it.
- Proof of a fee payment.
- If you are changing your sex or gender, you must make a Statutory Declaration.
- If you’ve changed your name you must provide a proof of legal name change.
- Your Canadian birth certificate or your country-specific birth certificate displaying the name of your Canadian parent, if applicable.
There are other scenarios where you’d need additional documents.
Usually it’s easiest to apply online. You’ll be able to upload copies of each document as you need it, or receive real-time instructions about what you need to provide. Your attorney can also make sure you’re providing the right documents for your specific situation.
What Happens to the Children of Naturalized Parents?
Children of naturalized parents remain permanent residents until they undergo the naturalization process themselves.
What Happens to the Original Citizenship of Naturalized Persons?
It depends on the country you hail from. Canadian law allows you to retain your citizenship in your original country, but not all countries will allow that. Your local embassy or consulate will have information about what will happen to your original citizenship should you become a Canadian citizen.
What Should I Expect from the Canadian Citizenship Test?
The test takes just 30 minutes on average. You can take the test online. It consists of 20 questions. You must get at least 75% of those questions right to pass the test.
The test covers the following information:
- The rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizens.
- The basics of Canadian history.
- Canadian political systems.
- Canadian geography.
- Questions about your region.
The test also assesses your language ability.
The best way to prepare for the test is to study the Discover Canada guide, which is available for free online. You can read it as a PDF, watch it as a video, or listen to it as a podcast.
What Does My Citizenship Application Status Mean?
There are three statuses.
- “In progress” – CIC is still reviewing your application. If you’ve applied online you’ll be able to see progress on each section of your application.
- “Closed” – Means that your application has been refused, or you yourself cancelled or abandoned your application.
- “Congratulations” means that you’re a Canadian citizen now!
You should never be surprised by a “closed” status. CIS does contact applicants before they close an application.
Who can Represent Me on My Citizenship Application?
You may be represented by an attorney, by a paralegal, by a notary, or by a law student.
We recommend attorneys, of course. While the other three representatives are legally allowed to help you, only an attorney is going to have the expertise to give you your best chance of successfully applying for citizenship.
What can I Do If My Canadian Citizenship Application is Refused?
You may do one of two things.
If you respond within thirty days you can seek a judicial review of the decision by taking it to the Federal Court of Canada.
You can also just reapply. For example, if your application was denied because you failed the citizenship test then you can study up and take it again. If there was a different reason, you’ll want to rectify the problem before you apply again. There is no waiting period between applications.
How Long Does It Take to Process a Citizenship Application in Langley, BC?
You can expect it to take about one year to fully process your Canadian citizenship application.
How Much Does a Citizenship Lawyer Cost?
Most Canadian immigration lawyers charge flat fees for citizenship services, as we know roughly how long each service should take as long as nothing goes wrong. You can expect to pay $2000 to $4000 in legal fees and $630 in government application fees.
Most of our clients find this a small price to pay for the privilege of becoming a Canadian citizen, and for the peace of mind that comes from knowing their application is being done right!
Get Help From a Local Immigration Lawyer Today
Working with an immigration attorney is the best and easiest way to make sure that your citizenship application gets approved. Without an attorney there’s a good chance that something will go wrong with your application that will be harder and more expensive to fix later.
Our attorneys have decades of experience with immigration law, and have helped thousands of individuals become Canadian citizens.
Call us at (604) 394-2777 to make an appointment today. We are happy to set up a video chat appointment if you are not currently located near our office in Surrey, BC, very close to the Langley area. Our team is ready to work with you!