Moving to Canada? Here’s How to Become a Citizen

March 5, 2023

If the current political climate in the United States makes you anxious, you might consider moving to Canada. It's a nation where people are pleasant, healthcare is cheap, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau explains quantum computing for laughs. However, becoming a citizen is difficult: you must reside in Canada for ...

If the current political climate in the United States makes you anxious, you might consider moving to Canada.

It’s a nation where people are pleasant, healthcare is cheap, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau explains quantum computing for laughs.

However, becoming a citizen is difficult: you must reside in Canada for at least six years, be on your best behavior, and have a basic understanding of the country you will soon call home.

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Serious about moving to Canada?

Check to see if you’re already a Canadian citizen

Take a quick quiz to see if you’re already a Canadian citizen before you go through the process of applying for citizenship.

The government lays out a few conditions for becoming a citizen even if you weren’t born there, many of which are contingent on your parents’ citizenship. Perhaps you inherited their rank inadvertently along the road.

Apply for a skilled immigrant visa

Express Entry is a fast-track immigration way moving to Canada. It’s the process by which talented employees move from one job to another in the country.

All Express Entry applicants are given specific scores based on their unique skills and career prospects, and they are then ranked against other applicants. Those that place first in the rankings are invited to stay permanently.

Be at least 18 years old

You’ve got an uphill battle ahead of you if you’re not a legal adult.

Minors must have their parent or legal guardian fill out the application on their behalf, even if the parent is not a citizen.

Possess a permanent address in Canada

People can pick from numerous options to become permanent residents. They can apply through their preferred province, take a special entrepreneur path, enlist the support of a Canadian family member, or apply through Quebec, which has its own set of immigration criteria.

Permanent residents have access to healthcare and are free to work, study, and travel within Canada. You simply cannot vote, run for office, or hold some positions that require a high level of security clearance.

Stay in that house for six years

If you are moving to Canada, citizenship is not usually granted to permanent residents. Citizenship has a higher bar.

You must have been a permanent resident and physically present in Canada for at least 1,460 days (four 365-day periods) in the six years immediately before the date of your application if you live in Canada.

You must also be present for 183 days (half a year) in each of the four calendar years that fall entirely or partially within the six-year period prior to the application date.

To put it another way, your time in Canada should be rather consistent.

Declare you want to stay

You must confirm your plans to stay in Canada if you are invited to become a permanent residence. Permanent residence is defined by the government as spending at least three years in Canada over a five-year period.

(Days spent in Canada prior to obtaining permanent resident status are counted as half-days and can be applied toward the citizenship requirement up to a year.)

You risk losing your permanent residency status if you don’t spend enough time within the limits. However, you may continue to work as a Crown Servant outside of Canada or reside overseas with certain family members who are Crown Servants.

Speak English or French

Canada, like a slew of other nations, has two official languages: English and French.

You only need to know one to become a citizen. You don’t need to be fluent; you just need to be able to make small talk, offer directions, use basic grammar, and explain yourself.

You’ll submit written documentation with your application, but it’ll be up to a citizenship officer to decide whether your English or French is up to par.

Submit your tax return

You must be able to present three years’ worth of tax returns in the five years preceding up to the date of your application, just like the residence requirement.

They’re basically checking to determine if your job is legitimate.

Learn why your application can be turned down

Your background may prevent you from becoming a Canadian citizen for a variety of reasons.

People who have committed a crime within four years of submitting their application or are on trial for a felony, for example, are not eligible for citizenship.

It also states that persons who are incarcerated cannot use their sentence to get permanent residency.

Know a little bit about Canada

You should know your Canadian history anyway, but the government also gives applicants an official quiz on the country’s history, values, institutions, and symbols.

If you’re between the ages of 18 and 54, you can take the test. It’s usually a written exam, but the citizenship officer may ask questions orally as well.

There aren’t any genuine surprises. Here’s where you’ll find all you need to know: Discover Canada: Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities.

Take advantage of your new life’s traditions

Embrace what makes Canada distinct now that you’ve left your native nation behind.

Tim Hortons, quirky lingo, celebrity ambassadors, and hockey are all popular among Canadians.

No one expects you to delve deeper into this new society, yet formal requirements are simply the beginning if you want to become a true citizen.

Invest in long-lasting clothing appropriate for your climate

Canada is the world’s second-largest country, after Russia. As a result, even if most people think it’s merely cold most of the time, there is no such thing as a “Canadian climate.”

Spring can arrive as early as February depending on where you live on the British Columbia coast, and summer temperatures can reach the 90s.

So, if you’re looking for a spot to call home, find out what the weather is like there. You won’t squander money or space on things you don’t need.