Canadian Citizenship Application – Understanding the process

Canadian citizenship hands waiving flags

Disclaimer: we do not replace the official government website. Instead, we provide a summary of the Canadian Citizenship application process. Always refer to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to start and complete your citizenship application.

1 – Check the citizenship application requirements

Age

You must be at least 18 years old to apply for Canadian citizenship.

Status

You must have permanent resident status in Canada. You must not be the subject of an immigration investigation, an immigration inquiry or an order from Canadian officials to leave Canada.

Time

• The required physical presence in Canada, as a permanent resident, is 3 years (1095 days) out of a five-year period

• Before you became a permanent resident, your time spent in Canada, within 5 years of applying for citizenship, count as half days (up to 365 days) towards physical presence requirements

• Time spent serving a sentence for an offense in Canada and out-of-country traveling time may impact your total residency time.

• The best way to find out your actual residency time is to use the IRCC Residency Calculator.

Language abilities

If you are 18 to 54 years old, you will need to demonstrate that you are able to communicate in either French or English in order to become a Canadian citizen.

Citizenship test

If you are 18 to 54 years old, you will need to pass a Canadian citizenship test.

Income tax filing

You must have paid your taxes for 3 years during the 5 years preceding your application.

Criminal History

If you have committed a crime, in or outside Canada, you may be ineligible for citizenship for a period of time.

Please see IRCC – determine your eligibility for more details.

2 – Apply for your Canadian citizenship

You just need to:

Fill out and print the citizenship application form.

You can read the application guide online or print it

Complete the form and pay the application fee (keep your receipt)

Mail the form with all necessary documents (filled out, signed and dated application forms, proof of permanent residence, copies of two pieces of identification, two signed citizenship photos and the receipt of payment) to the citizenship case processing center.

Please see IRCC for more details.

3 – Verify the status of your Canadian citizenship application and start preparing for the test

Citizenship and immigration Canada will send you a notice confirming their having received your Canadian citizenship application.

You can then verify the status of your application

Start studying for the test as early as possible.
The official citizenship test evaluates your knowledge of Canada.

Read our articles about this test:
New Canadian citizenship test – what is it all about?
New Canadian citizenship test – How to prepare for it

Sign-up for our Canadian Citizenship Test – complete online training program

4 – The Canadian citizenship test

• Citizenship and Immigration Canada will send you a notice with the time and date for your test.

• Your test may be written or oral. IRCC can make the decision to allow you to have an oral test based on a number of factors, such as, having difficulty reading and writing in English or French.

• When you go to sit for your written or oral test, you must bring the originals of the documents that you submitted with your application. As well, bring any passport or travel documents relevant to the four years prior to your application.

• If you do not pass the written test, but you meet the other criteria for citizenship, we will schedule you for a second test. This second test will usually take place 4-8 weeks after your first test, but the delay might be longer. If you are not available to take the test on that date, you must let IRCC know.

If you do not pass the second test, IRCC will send you a notice telling you to appear for a hearing with a citizenship officer.

Read our article: Canadian citizenship test – How to tackle this multiple choice test

Please see IRCC – prepare for your citizenship test for more details.

5 – The Canadian Citizenship Ceremony

This is your final step!

• When you have met all of the requirements to become a Canadian citizen, you will be sent a notice to attend a ceremony to take the oath of citizenship.

• You must bring all of your original immigration documents to the ceremony.

• In a room full of other soon-to-become Canadians, you will take the oath of citizenship, therefore accepting the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. Following the oath you will officially be part of our Canadian family and will receive a certificate of Canadian citizenship.

Please see IRCC – prepare for the citizenship ceremony for more details.

Need help preparing for your Canadian citizenship test? Learn more about our Canadian Citizenship Test – complete online training program!

Prepare for your Canadian Citizenship Test
Learn more about our Complete Online Training Program
43 Comments » for Canadian Citizenship Application – Understanding the process
  1. fari says:

    i applied for citizenship on Age 2011. and they said we started u r application on Apl 2012 . and after 17 months the citizenship sent a letter for me questionnaire documents . then i sent for them . now i passed 23 months but the citizenship didn’t give me date for exam.

    • admin says:

      Hello Fari. Citizenship and Immigration Canada has a big backlog (too many applications and not enough personnel) and it is very usual to wait for a long time for any response.

      • fari says:

        tnx for answer . if i call center ( immigration) and ask about my application is it bad for them ? because i called 4 / 5 times be for.thx and have agood day.

        • admin says:

          Hello Fari. I don’t think calling CIC many times will compromise your application. Calling them many times will not speed up your application though. Good luck!

  2. Natascha Birovljev says:

    Hi there,
    CIC just started processing my application Sept 24 2013. How much time will usually go by until one is having to do the citizenship test? I will be overseas for one month in Dec/Jan, is it possible I could be invited to do the test in this period of time?
    Thank you,
    Natascha

    • admin says:

      Hi Natascha. They take a while to process applications, so you’d be lucky if they send you a citizenship test letter that soon, but you never know, so it would be wise to have someone open your CIC letters while you are away. Just in case.

  3. GABRIEL BORNAC says:

    Hi! We applied like family in 2011 and the delay was 35 months since
    receive the notice.
    In July 2011 we receive to refill all documents
    Now in the end of year we receive a letter from the CIC we will be notice in the next months ,but not precisely how many
    Do you have any idea how many months means that?
    Best regards

  4. Davoud says:

    Hello

    My name is Davoud and I would like to inquire about the new Canadian Citizenship Act. I believe the Act has changed the duration to acquire Canadian Citizenship from 3 years to 4 years. I have been living in Canada for 15 years, and I have gotten my Permanent Residence at Oct 27, 2011.

    From the date which I got my PR, I have been a residence for two years and four months. Now I would like to know with the new Act would I be able to apply for the Citizenship, or I have to wait for another eight months until the three year is complete?

    I would really appreciate it if you help me with this inquiry.

    Thank You

    Davoud

  5. tina says:

    Hello,
    I got a letter with the study guide from CIC, it stated they started processing my application on January 15th, 2014. My son will be turning 18 in April. I need to know how long it will take before writing the test. I received 1 study guide, should I be preparing my son for the test too. I will appreciate your answer. The application was submitted in Sept, 2013.
    Thanks

    • admin says:

      Hello Tina,
      For any specific questions regarding your citizenship application process (and your son’s), it is best if you call Citizenship and Immigration Canada Call Centre at 1-888-242 2100 (Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., your local time, except for statutory holidays). Good luck!

  6. SN says:

    We were invited to take the test close to 2 years after we received the booklet. Only one booklet arrived so we had to share it. I recommend reading it from time to time to get used to the phrases, names, years and concepts. The booklet is slim but don’t underestimate it and don’t leave it till the evening before the test either.

  7. Stephen Harper says:

    I have noticed a lot of questions being asked here ARE CLEARLY IN THE C.I.C CITIZENSHIP APPLICATION GUIDE. People, READ THE GUIDE OF THE APPLICATION YOU HAVE APPLIED FOR!!! All your answers are in there. Also READ ANY CORRESPONDENCE from CIC, ALL INSTRUCTIONS ARE IN THERE AND PHONE NUMBERS YOU CAN CALL FOR MORE INFO. TOO MANY PEOPLE, ASKING QUESTIONS THAT HAVE ANSWERS ALREADY, BUT CAN ONLY BE OBTAINABLE THROUGH READING. GEEZE…I HOPE IM MY APPLICATION IS AHEAD OF YOU ALL!!!

  8. Cynthia says:

    I sent in my application twice and it came back missing some information, but I have check and check before I mailed it off. Is there any office to have the information to make sure I have that is required. The way you do when you apply for a passport.

    Appreciate your help

    tks

    Cynthia

  9. Kathleen says:

    Our 3 children’s application for citizenship is in progress. My oldest child will become 18 in 3 months time (which will still fall within the progress time) The question is: will he/she have to do his/her test? He/she doesn’t look forward to do that test as we’ve been living in Canada for the past 10 years. Thank you

  10. Rebeca says:

    Hi,

    I did the test on May 30th this year and passed it. They said they will be sending the notice to attend the ceremony in about 6 weeks. Do you know how long it does actually take to receive the notice? and how long time apart is the ceremony to when they send the notice?

    I’m traveling in October and I need to consider that I’ll need to get the Canadian passport after the ceremony, also my Resident card is expiring in November.

    Thanks

    • admin says:

      It’s hard to know exactly when you are going to get the ceremony notice. Maybe you should postpone your travel until after the ceremony?

  11. IMO says:

    Hi,

    I applied for Citizenship process from Oakville Ontario in October 2012 (22 months ago) and my case processing started in January 2013.
    Yesterday I called CIC call center and got reply that my case is sent to the nearest processing center from my area (Hamilton) in December 2013 (8 months ago) and I have to wait for test date. What is the maximum time frame to wait for the test Schedule?

  12. Maher says:

    the required documents for my children citizenship application are :
    1 – Passport copy
    2 – PR copy
    3 – 2 piece of ID

    I have attached the Passport copy, PR copy and for requirement # 3 I don’t have another photo ID for my children except the Ontario health card copy. is it acceptable or should I send other photo ID? and if so, what kind of documents? as they don’t have another one

  13. keithblack says:

    lol that’s cool to be a Canadian citizen of Canada.

  14. anne says:

    hi,.I’m going to apply for my citizenship and it requires a proof that English is my language. I haven’t been in school here, i’m just wondering is there any office where i can get a test so i can get a certificate for my English proficiency. thanks

  15. sameer says:

    we have arrived canada in 31 Jan 2012,can we submit to citizen ship. and my wife’s birthday was in1954,has she to do the test?

    • admin says:

      You have to be physically in Canada as a landed immigrant for at least 3 full years (in the last 4 years) before you can apply for citizenship.

  16. allen says:

    ” When you go to sit for your written or oral test, you must bring the originals of the documents that you submitted with your application. As well, bring any passport or travel documents relevant to the four years prior to your application.”
    usually what kind of originals of the documents i should bring with me when i go for my written test? have been a year since i submitted my application i forgot which documents i submitted at that time,anyone can help me?

  17. Barb says:

    Hi dose anyone the time frame for application if you are over 55.

  18. admin says:

    If you are 55 years of age or older when you apply, you do not have to take the test.

  19. Niles says:

    Hi Admin,

    You need to update your website as CIC have changed the conditions and eligibility for applying for citizenship.

    ie:
    – The length of time required as a permanent resident is now 4 years (1460 days) out of a six year period
    – time spent within Canada without permanent residency DOES not count towards eligibility for citizenship anymore

    Thanks,
    Niles

  20. Yenhua says:

    Hi, im waiting fr my citizenship, if i will be accepted as citizen will my two sons will be automatically canadian citizen? I didn’t put thier names when i apply for my permanent residence but i put them in my citizenship application. Please help.

    • admin says:

      You should ask Citizenship and Immigration Canada Call Centre at 1-888-242 2100 (Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., your local time, except for statutory holidays). Good luck!

  21. Anonymous says:

    My sister is turning 18 in may could I still send out the application for citizenship? Or do I have to wait untill she is 18

    • admin says:

      For any specific questions regarding a citizenship application process, please call Citizenship and Immigration Canada Call Centre at 1-888-242 2100 (Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., your local time, except for statutory holidays). Good luck!

  22. Michael Horsfield says:

    Hi, I have completed my test and passed. I received another letter after that asking me for more information, they asked for all my tax returns, letters of employment and they asked me to get a document from the US to show my ins and outs. I called the Us border and they said they cannot provide such a document, all this is because I missed 1 date from my passport from October 2011 when I went into the US for not even 24 hours to do Christmas shopping. Is this normal?, after my test I had an interview with a woman who was very unpleasant and made it feel like an interrogation. I am worried now that I may not get the citizenship, I thought after the exam I was done. I sent all my tax returns, I got letters of employment and I wrote a letter telling her what the US border had told me. I also went on to apologize for missing the date in the passport and explained it was just a shopping trip, what are your thoughts? will I be ok?.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I Would like to know how much is the citizenship right now please and thank you .

  24. Hennie says:

    Hello,
    How do we apply for Canadian Citizenship for my parents
    who are in there 70’s ? How long does the process take when
    you are over 55 years old?
    Thank you!

  25. Nick says:

    Hi All,

    I applied for my citizenship in September 2017 and they ( IRCC ) recieved the application in September second week and started processing my application in November first week as I have been checking the status online almost on a daily basis since then which shows “In Process”.

    It is now March 2018 and almost 6 months since I applied and I haven’t heard anything back on my application except the inital acceptance recieved confirmation mail and the “Discover Canada” guide link.

    From my experience most people in my circle have recieved their citizenship within 4- 6 months ( 1 person even got it in 3 months ) but I haven’t even recieved an invite for my test let alone citizenship.

    Any thoughts / suggestions / personal experience / feeback ?

    I am getting a bit frustrated and worried.

    • Ivette says:

      Don’t worry, I applied months ago and I haven’t heard after the confirmation letter. With the time frame change I think it make take a while to get it. It says a year or so to finish the process.

    • JAycee says:

      Hi Nick,
      Have you hear anything from them yet? I’m in the same boat as you. I have travel plans and I couldnt go without my citizenship as my PR had already expired.

    • Usman says:

      I am in a similar situation. Did you get any update afterwards?

  26. abhishek asthana says:

    Hello Its been more than 8 weeks I have given my test of citizenship and interview too but I haven’t received any mail or call, with my result. I did pass my test but I am not sure what happened. My friend received call for oath within 4 weeks . If I have been denied citizenship- does it take longer?

  27. Maria says:

    Hi. I applied in December and I took the test, I passed it and they asked me for extra information,
    I’m still waiting for an answer, Do you know if the should give back an answer before one year after they received my application?

  28. Princess Mae del Pozo Patena says:

    I am married to a Canadian citizen and we have a son born here.
    I am permanent resident card holder and want to be a Canadian citizen, is there a faster way to acquire Canadian citizenship since I am married a Canadian citizen. We were married in Vancouver on 2006.

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