In June 2013, Citizenship and Immigration Canada announced two very important changes that will positively affect the Canadian citizenship test process.
Canadian citizenship test – You can now retake it within few weeks
If you fail your Canadian citizenship test, you can now retake it once instead of waiting for an appointment with a citizenship judge. Before, it could take few months to two years for this appointment to arrive in the mail.
You will be notified right away if you passed or failed your test. If you have failed, but meet all the other citizenship criteria, then you will be provided with a date to retake your test, usually within few weeks, but be aware that the delay might be longer. If you have passed the test, then you will be scheduled for a citizenship ceremony.
Canadian citizenship test – You can now take it independently from other family members within the same application
Now all family members listed on one same application do not have to be approved at the same time. Before, if one family member failed the citizenship test, the other members were held up in their citizenship application process. Now family members may have their applications processed independently, even if they are listed on the same application. This is also true for any other citizenship application requirements such as the language test. See this article from CIC for more details.
Also, 8 more citizenship judges were appointed recently, which means more decisions can be now made for all citizenship applications, and more citizenship ceremonies can be held.
All of this should help reduce the citizenship applications processing time. Well…let’s hope!!
Right now, the time for processing an application is from 21 to 29 months (1 year and 9 months to 2 years and 5 months), which is a really long time. In 2008, wait times were “only” from 12 to 15 months.
According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, there has been a 30% increase in demand for Canadian citizenship since 2006, due to an increase in immigration applications. The government hasn’t had sufficient resources to face this increase, and this created a significant backlog. About 350,000 permanent residents are currently waiting to become citizens, in opposed to only 189,886 in 2007.
Some people also criticize the citizenship application process to be too complicated, too heavy on paperwork, especially when applicants have to fill out the residency questionnaire.
The Canadian government seems well intent in reducing the notorious backlog in citizenship applications. But it will take some time for the effects to be felt.
Becoming a Canadian citizen shouldn’t be too easy of course, and some requirements such as the Canadian citizenship test will always be necessary, but extra-long waiting times can have a big impact on people’s life (and nerves).
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