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How do I apply for Canadian Citizenship?

To apply for citizenship, you must meet eligibility criteria and complete an application.

Eligibility Criteria

In order to apply for Canadian citizenship you must:

  • Be over 18 years of age;
  • Provide proof that you know how to speak and write in 1 of Canada's official languages (either English or French);
  • Be a Permanent Resident (PR);
  • Have lived in Canada as a PR for at least 3 years out of the 4 years (1,095 days) right before the day you apply; and
  • You must apply for citizenship from within Canada.

Important Note: CIC will return your application as incomplete if you do not send acceptable proof that you have adequate knowledge of English or French.

Learn more about the language requirements for citizenship on the CIC website.

You cannot become a Canadian citizen if you have recently been or are in prison, on parole or probation or have been charged or convicted of an indictable crime. If you are under a deportation order, you also cannot apply.

Read more information about citizenship eligibility on CIC's website.

A parent, adoptive parent or legal guardian must apply for anyone under 18 years of age. The applicant must be a Canadian citizen or be applying to become a Canadian citizen. Minors do not need to meet the 3 years of residency in Canada requirement.

You can use the Residence Calculator to find out if you have been in Canada long enough to apply for citizenship. If you have not been in Canada long enough, it will tell you when you will be eligible to apply.

If you came to Canada on a visa (for example on a student or work visa) before becoming a permanent resident some of this time may count toward the number of days you need. Find out more about how Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) calculates residency.

Application Process

  • Download and fill out the forms in the Canadian Citizen Application Package for both you and your children.
  • Include all supporting documents.
  • Pay the application fee.
  • Mail your application to the Centralized Intake Office (CIO) in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Visit the CIC website for more information about processing times.

Visit our Discussion Forum to post your questions and read about others' experiences in the citizenship application process.

Do I have to write the test?

If your application is accepted you have to write a citizenship test. Children under 18 years of age and persons 55 and over do not have to write the citizenship test. Find out more in How can I prepare for the citizenship test?

Why am I being asked for fingerprints?

You may be asked to provide fingerprints and/or court documents when you apply for citizenship. This is to make sure that you are not prohibited under the Citizenship Act.

If any of the questions in Section 7 of the application applies to you, you will be asked to provide more information.

If you are concerned, call the CIC Call Centre for more information about your situation at 1-888-242-2100.

For More Information

  • Canadian Citizenship - Information from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) on Canadian citizenship.
  • How to Become a Canadian Citizen - CIC brochure explaining the citizenship application process and eligibility requirements.
  • CIC Help Centre - A tool that helps answer frequently asked questions on immigration matters. It offers several ways of searching through the information available, including search by keyword. From Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
  • Fingerprinting Services - Information from CIC about fingerprinting services for citizenship applicants.
Last Updated: January 2, 2013
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