Permanent Resident status

Regardless of your age, if you are applying for citizenship, you must have:

  • Permanent Resident (PR) status in Canada
  • No unfulfilled conditions related to your PR status
  • Your PR status must not be in question.
  • This means you must not be under review for immigration or fraud reasons
  • Have certain unfulfilled conditions related to your PR status
  • Be under a removal order (an order from Canadian officials to leave Canada)
  • You don’t need a valid PR card to apply for citizenship. If you have an expired PR card, you can still apply for citizenship.

Time you have lived in Canada
Regardless of your age, you must have been physically present in Canada for at least:

  • 1095 days during the five years right before the date you sign your application
  • You may be able to use some of your time spent in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person towards your physical presence calculation. Each day spent physically in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person before becoming a permanent resident within the last 5 years will count as one half day, with a maximum of 365 days, towards your physical presence.

Temporary resident status includes lawful authorization to enter or remain in Canada as a:

  • Visitor,
  • Student,
  • Worker
  • Temporary resident permit holder

A protected person is someone who:
was found to be in need of protection or a convention refugee by the Immigration and Refugee Board, or
received a positive decision on a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
Note: If you made a refugee claim, or were included on a family member’s refugee claim, you will not be credited time in Canada from the date of the refugee claim until you have received a positive decision confirming that you are a protected person as described above.

These requirements don’t apply to children under 18 where a parent or guardian has applied on their behalf for citizenship using the subsection 5(2) application form.

You may be eligible to apply even if you don’t meet the minimum time lived in Canada if you’re a:

  • Crown servant (certain categories of public officials)
  • Family member of a Crown servant
  • Find out if you have lived in Canada long enough to apply to become a citizen.

Income tax filing
Regardless of your age, if required under the Income Tax Act, you must meet your personal income tax filing obligations in three tax years that are fully or partially within the five years right before the date you apply.

Language abilities
Canada has two official languages: English and French. To become a citizen, you must show that you can speak and listen in one of these languages. This means you can:

  • Take part in short, everyday conversations about common topics
  • Understand simple instructions, questions and directions
  • Use basic grammar, including simple structures and tenses
  • Show you know enough common words and phrases to answer questions and express yourself
  • If you are 18 to 54 years old, you must submit proof that demonstrates you can speak and listen in English or French at this level. Find out what examples you can send with your application.

Note: Applicants under 18 years of age applying under the subsection 5(1) or 5(2) grant category do not have to meet the language requirement.

Citizenship staff will decide how well you can communicate in English or French during your interview. A citizenship officer will make the final decision on your application.

How well you know Canada
To become a citizen, you’ll need to take a test to meet the knowledge requirement for citizenship. You’ll need to answer questions about Canada’s:

  • Values
  • History
  • Symbols
  • Institutions
  • Rights, responsibilities and privileges of citizenship, such as voting in elections and obeying the law

The tests are:

  • In English or French
  • Made up of questions based on the Discover Canada study guide
    usually in a written format, unless you need to take it orally with a citizenship officer
    given to applicants 18 to 54 years old.

Note: Applicants under 18 years of age applying under the 5(1) and 5(2) grant category do not have to meet the knowledge requirement.