Citizenship Program

Who can apply to become a Canadian citizen

To become a Canadian citizen, you must have permanent resident status in Canada, and your status must not be in doubt. This means you must not be the subject of an immigration investigation, an immigration inquiry or a removal order (an order from Canadian officials to leave Canada).

If you are an adult over the age of 18, you must have lived in Canada for at least three years – equal to 1,095 full days – out of the four years (1,460 days) preceding your application. You must have a minimum of two years as a permanent resident. If you spent any time in prison while you were in Canada, that time is deducted from your total days, as is any time you spent in another country, including any short trips you’ve taken outside of Canada.

Basic residence in Canada is the minimum time required to be eligible for a grant of citizenship (1,095 days). The calculation of basic residence does not include absences from Canada. However, any time spent serving a sentence in Canada must be deducted from the calculation of basic residence. If you apply with fewer than three (3) years (1,095 days) of basic residence, your application will be returned to you by the Case Processing Centre in Sydney, Nova Scotia (CPC Sydney).

Physical presence in Canada is the amount of time you have lived in Canada within the relevant four-year period, minus time spent serving a sentence, and minus the days you have been physically absent from Canada. If you have fewer than three years (1,095 days) of physical presence but at least three years of basic residence less time served, the citizenship judge will evaluate the nature of your residence in Canada. However, your application will take longer to process and may be refused.

You can use the Residence Calculator tool to find out if you have lived in Canada long enough to be eligible for citizenship. If you have, the calculator will tell you that you are eligible to apply. If you have not, it will tell you when you will be eligible to apply. Through our partners you can apply to Apply to Immigrate to Canada.

To become a citizen, you must know the rights and responsibilities of citizens, such as the right and responsibility to vote. You must also know some things about Canada’s history and geography, and about its political system.

The information you need to know is in a free booklet A Look at Canada. CIC will send you a copy of it when your application is received. The questions in the citizenship test are based on the information in this booklet.