Permanent resident status – To become a Canadian citizen, you must have permanent resident status in Canada, and that 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).
Time lived in Canada – To become Canadian citizens, adults must have lived in Canada for at least three years (1,095 days) in the past four years before applying.
Language abilities – Canada has two official languages—English and French. You need to have adequate knowledge of one of these two languages in order to become a Canadian citizen.
The citizenship knowledge test and your interaction with IRCC staff will be used to assess if you have an adequate ability to communicate in either English or French. IRCC staff will observe
- your ability to understand basic spoken statements and questions, and
- your ability to communicate basic information or respond to questions.
For example, as part of your interaction with departmental staff or as part of your written test or your interview with a citizenship judge, you will be expected to:
- answer simple questions on familiar topics, using short sentences;
- show that you know enough words for basic everyday communication;
- tell a simple story about everyday activities;
- speak about something you did in the past (or will do in the future);
- give simple everyday instructions and directions; and
- express satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
Criminal history (prohibitions) – You cannot become a citizen if you:
- have been convicted of an indictable (criminal) offence or an offence under the Citizenship Act in the three years before you applied;
- are currently charged with an indictable offence or an offence under the Citizenship Act;
- are in prison, on parole or on probation;
- are under a removal order (have been ordered by Canadian officials to leave Canada);
- are under investigation for, are charged with, or have been convicted of a war crime or a crime against humanity; or
- you have had your Canadian citizenship taken away in the past five years.
If you are on probation or are charged with an offence and are awaiting trial, you should wait until after the probation has ended or the trial is over to apply for citizenship.
If you have spent time on probation, on parole or in prison in the last four years, you may not meet the residence requirement for citizenship.
Time in prison or on parole does not count as residence in Canada. Time on probation also does not count as residence in Canada if you were convicted of an offence. If you have spent time on probation from a conditional discharge, it may be counted toward residence.
Knowledge of Canada – To become a citizen, you must understand the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, such as the right and responsibility to vote in elections. You must also have an understanding of Canada’s history, values, institutions and symbols.