The Canada Citizenship Program: How to Apply for Canadian Citizenship

Are you interested in becoming a Canadian citizen? You aren’t alone! Canada offers some of the most amazing experiences to be had on the planet, and with the Canada Citizenship Program, you can make it your home forever. To apply for Canadian citizenship, you must have been eligible, or have legally been in Canada as a permanent resident (also known as holding a PR card) since January 1, 1953. In this article, we will walk you through everything you need to know about how to apply for Canadian citizenship.

The Canada Citizenship Program: How to Apply for Canadian Citizenship

Canada has had more than its share of immigrants, who have helped the country grow and develop into the nation it is today. If you are eligible, you may be able to join those ranks and become a Canadian citizen through the Canada Citizenship Program. Here’s how to apply for Canadian citizenship under this program, starting with your eligibility requirements.

For any foreign citizen who has spent time living in Canada, the thought of obtaining Canadian citizenship may seem appealing, and with good reason—Canadian citizens enjoy significant economic, social, and political benefits throughout their lives. However, if you’re thinking about applying for Canadian citizenship but aren’t sure where to start, check out this step-by-step guide on how to apply for Canadian citizenship. With the help of this guide and some preparation on your part, becoming a Canadian citizen can be easier than you think!

About Canada Citizenship Program

The Canada citizenship program is a three-step process that requires applicants of any age to have lived in Canada as a permanent resident for at least 1,095 days (three years) within five years preceding their application. The final step in obtaining Canadian citizenship includes passing both a written and an oral exam on general knowledge about Canada, including social values, history, and geography.

The time between submitting your completed application and taking your test can take up to 18 months. If you are applying with someone who has already been granted citizenship by descent or by marriage, you may only need one year of residence before taking your test.

Who is Qualifies for Canadian Citizenship?

Here are the requirements for becoming a Canadian citizen:

  • be a permanent resident.
  • have lived in Canada for 3 out of the last 5 years.
  • have filed your taxes, if you need to.
  • pass a test on your rights, responsibilities, and knowledge of Canada.
  • prove your language skills.

Becoming a citizen by investment

Canada has recently introduced an investment route by which immigrants can obtain citizenship in Canada. It is called the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital (IIVC) program, which was created in November 2011 and replaced a similar program that ended in February 2012. Under its previous iteration, immigrant investors had to show that they would receive at least 2 million dollars over five years from IIVC investments.

The new program has changed those requirements slightly but makes it easier for wealthy individuals to immigrate under a new set of rules. Applicants are not subject to any income or language tests and do not need relatives already living in Canada as long as they meet a few other requirements.

Becoming a citizen Through Family

Under Canada’s immigration system, you don’t need a job offer or sponsor in order to immigrate. You can simply come to Canada as a visitor and then apply to become a permanent resident under the family class. Under family class, your relatives who are already citizens or permanent residents of Canada can sponsor you. This process is called sponsorship and each relative who sponsors another person is called a sponsor. The relatives who want to sponsor someone must be 18 years old or older and live in Canada.

Becoming a Citizen Through Birth

Generally, if you were born in Canada, you are a citizen. The birth of a child within Canada automatically confers citizenship. Whether or not your child is born here does not affect your status as a permanent resident of Canada. If you are pregnant, contact Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) about applying for immigration status so that when your baby is born he or she will be considered a citizen by birth. A child whose parent is not a citizen may be eligible to apply for citizenship under Bill C-37 if certain conditions are met.

Becoming a citizen Through the Military Service

Joining Canada’s Armed Forces can lead to immediate citizenship, as long as you have a few basic qualifications. If you meet these requirements and are looking for a new way of life, enlisting in Canada’s Armed Forces may be your best option. The enlistment period is four years, but in exchange, you will receive training opportunities and better pay than you would if you had remained in the civilian job market. Your spouse and dependents may also be able to join your family as full-time residents.

Becoming a Citizen Through Marriage

If you are a permanent resident and want to become a citizen, you may be eligible for citizenship through marriage. Spouses of citizens may apply if they have been living in Canada with their spouse for three years and have knowledge of one of Canada’s official languages. You can also apply after having resided in Canada as a permanent resident for four years and meeting all other eligibility requirements.

In either case, your application will be assessed based on factors such as your ability to speak English or French fluently, knowledge of Canada’s history and values, good character, and any criminal record. You must also swear an oath that you intend to reside in Canada or another country designated by immigration authorities and accept responsibility for debts incurred before becoming a citizen.

Is Naturalization Right For You?

Canada offers two options for acquiring citizenship: naturalization and by descent. Naturalization is offered to immigrants who want Canada’s protection and can meet its requirements. In most cases, applicants must have resided in Canada for at least three years. They must also pass an English or French language test, pass a knowledge test on Canada's history and culture, be financially self-sufficient, and more. Visit our website for more information about how to apply for Canadian citizenship through naturalization. Here are the Canadian naturalization and citizen records.

Going to the Canada Naturalization Interview

Going through a citizenship interview isn’t hard; you just need to be prepared. Be ready with answers to questions like Why are you applying for citizenship? What does being a Canadian citizen mean to you? What do you consider Canada’s most pressing issues and how can citizens address them? Keep your answer short, simple, and heartfelt. The interviewer will probably tell you that they are interested in whether or not becoming a citizen means something special to you. Make sure it does! Being aware of what is going on in your community is important as well.

Prepare your Life in the Canada Test

The Life in Canada Test (LIC) is a citizenship test that focuses on what you need to know and understand about life in Canada. To pass, you must answer at least 18 out of 20 questions correctly. The test will be open-book, so you can use your study guide as a reference during your test. If you do not pass, there is no fee for taking it again within one year of your original attempt. In most cases, if a permanent resident does not take his or her citizenship test before his or her application is due to expire, he or she will lose their permanent resident status and will have to apply again from scratch.

What to bring before taking your Life in the Canada Test

When you come for your test, bring:

  • the notice asking you to take the test (“Notice to Appear”)
  • your permanent resident (PR) card (if you had one)
  • 2 pieces of personal identification (ID)
    • 1 piece of ID with your photograph and signature, such as a driver’s license or health card
    • foreign ID documents must be government-issued (Canadian ones don’t need to be government-issued)
    • if not in English or French, provide a translation with an affidavit from the translator
  • all your passports and travel documents, current and expired, that you listed on the application form
  • a certificate, diploma, degree, or transcript that proves your English or French language skills (if you were 18 to 54 years of age when you signed your application)
  • other documents we may ask for in your “Notice to Appear” letter
  • How you can take your Life in the Canada Test Steps.

Understanding the PR

The Canadian citizenship program includes three components or stages. You can use our guide below to get a better understanding of how these stages work, and how you can progress through them. Canada's first step towards becoming a citizen is by applying for permanent residency (PR). This is also referred to as stage one. Upon gaining PR status in Canada, you may then become eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship at stage two. After successful completion of stage two, you will be granted full Canadian citizenship status at stage three. Read More...

Types of PR in Canada

There are 6 types under this Canada permanent residence where the candidates can apply:

  • Family Class Immigration.
  • International Adoption.
  • Skilled Worker Class Immigration.
  • Provincial Nomination.
  • Business Class Immigration.
  • Quebec-Selected Immigration.

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Apply for Canadian Citizenship

What are the requirements for applying for Canadian citizenship?

To be eligible to become a Canadian citizen, you must:

  • be a permanent resident.
  • have lived in Canada for 3 out of the last 5 years.
  • have filed your taxes, if you need to.
  • pass a citizenship test.
  • prove your language skills.

How long does it take to become a citizen in Canada?

You must have lived in Canada for at least three years (1,095 days) out of the past five years before applying for Canadian citizenship (unless there are exceptional circumstances).

Is it hard to get Canadian citizenship?

Becoming a Canadian citizen is tough. You need to first be a permanent resident and have lived in Canada for three out of the last five years, among other requirements. For those who actually want to head up north, here's how you become a permanent resident and citizen of Canada.

What is the fastest way to become a Canadian citizen?

To apply for urgent processing, you must be eligible to apply for citizenship and have an emergency, such as: needing Canadian citizenship to: apply for a job. avoid losing your job.

In your envelope, include your:

  • application.
  • explanation.
  • photographs.
  • fee payment.
  • required documents.

Does Canada allow dual citizenship?

Every country decides whom it considers being a citizen. If more than one country recognizes you as a citizen, you have dual citizenship. You don't apply for dual citizenship, and there is no related certificate. Canadians are allowed to take foreign citizenship while keeping their Canadian citizenship.

Can I just move to Canada?

US citizens can obtain Canadian citizenship, but just like other foreign nationals, they need to become Permanent Residents first. After having held Permanent Resident status for a minimum of 5 years, then they can apply for Canadian Citizenship.


While there are a few steps to apply for citizenship in Canada, it’s not an overly difficult process. With research and commitment, you can get your citizenship in Canada and live out your dreams! We hope our guide was helpful! If you want more information about applying for Canadian citizenship or would like to start preparing today, check out our new article: How to Become a Citizen of Canada. It covers every step of what you need to do before applying and has tons of useful resources! Good luck!