Eligibility for 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
  • show how well you know Canada
  • prove your language skills

Permanent Resident status

Regardless of your age, if you’re applying for citizenship, you must have Permanent Resident (PR) status in Canada

This means you meet all conditions for a PR and must not be:

  • under review for immigration or fraud reasons
  • asked to leave Canada (removal order)

You don’t need a valid PR card to apply for citizenship. You can still apply with an expired PR card.

Time you have lived in Canada

Adults and some minors must have been physically present in Canada for at least 1095 days during the five years right before the date you sign your application.

IRCC encourages you to apply with more than 1095 days of physical presence to have extra days in case there is a problem with the calculation.

Use a travel journal to help record your trips outside Canada. It will help you calculate your physical presence in Canada.

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 skills

Canada has two official languages: English and French. If you’re 18 to 54 years of age on the day you sign your application, you must show that you can speak and listen at a specific level in one of these languages.

The ways IRCC measure your language skills in English or French include:

  • reviewing the proof you send with your application
  • noting how well you communicate when you talk to a citizenship official anytime during the process
  • assessing your language level during a hearing with a citizenship official, if necessary

To become a citizen,  you must meet the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) Level 4 or higher. 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

IRCC accept various certificates, diplomas and tests as proof of your language skills.

How well you know Canada

If you’re 18 to 54 years of age on the day you sign your application, you need to take the citizenship test. You’ll need to answer questions about the rights and responsibilities of Canadians and Canada’s:

  • history
  • geography
  • economy
  • government
  • laws
  • symbols

The test is:

  • in English or French
  • 30 minutes long
  • 20 questions (pass mark: 15 correct answers)
  • multiple-choice and true or false questions
  • based on the official citizenship study guide: Discover Canada
  • usually written, but may be oral

Prohibitions

If you have committed a crime in or outside Canada, you may not be eligible to become a Canadian citizen for a period of time. This includes if you:

  • are serving a sentence outside Canada
  • are serving a term of imprisonment, on parole or on probation in Canada
  • are charged with, on trial for, or involved in an appeal of an:
    • indictable offence in Canada
    • offence outside Canada
  • have been convicted in the four years before applying for citizenship of an:
    • indictable offence in Canada
    • offence outside Canada

Time spent serving a term of imprisonment, on parole, or on probation doesn’t count as time you have lived in Canada.