Immigrating into Canada

Canadian Citizenship

photography from uottawa

The Canadian citizenship application process allows individuals to apply for citizenship in Canada by meeting criteria such as having permanent resident status, fulfilling residency requirements, passing a citizenship test, and showing proficiency in English or French.

The process involves completing forms, providing documentation, and submitting the application to IRCC for review. If approved, the applicant will take the Oath of Citizenship. It is advised to seek help from an immigration professional for a successful application due to the complexity and length of the process.


  • be a permanent resident
  • have lived in Canada for at least 3 out of the last 5 years (1,095 days)
  • have filed their taxes, if they need to
  • pass a citizenship test
  • prove their language skills in English or French
  • take the oath of citizenship

Marriage to a Canadian does not automatically grant you citizenship; you must still meet the same qualifying criteria.

If you are the child or grandchild of a Canadian citizen, you may already be a Canadian citizen yourself.

 To confirm your citizenship status, you can apply for a Canadian citizenship certificate.


Permanent resident status

  • If you are seeking citizenship in Canada, you must hold permanent resident (PR) status, regardless of your age.
  • Certain conditions must be met, such as not being under review for immigration or fraud issues, not having a removal order, and fulfilling requirements related to your PR status like medical screenings.
  • It is advisable to review the documents you received when obtaining permanent resident status to verify your eligibility before applying for citizenship.
  • An expired PR card is acceptable for the citizenship application process; a valid PR card is not mandatory.

Time you've lived in Canada (physical presence)

  • To meet the residency requirements for Canadian citizenship, you (and possibly some minors) need to have been physically present in Canada for a minimum of 1,095 days (3 years) within the 5-year period preceding your application submission.
  • It is recommended to include more than 1,095 days of residency in your application to account for any calculation discrepancies.
  •  In the residency calculation, you can consider time spent in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person, as well as time spent outside Canada if you were a Crown servant or a family member of one.

Filing income tax

You may be required to have filed taxes in Canada for a minimum of 3 years within the 5-year period immediately preceding your application date.

Find out if you need to file your taxes

Language skills

If you are aged between 18 and 54 when submitting your application, you must demonstrate a sufficient proficiency in English or French. This includes;

  • being able to engage in everyday conversations, comprehend simple instructions, questions, and directions, 
  • employ basic grammar and vocabulary, 
  • express oneself using common words and phrases.

These language skills should align with level 4 of the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) for English, or the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadien (NCLC) for French.

  •  Your language proficiency can be assessed through the language documentation you provide with your application, your communication with a citizenship official during the application process, or by undergoing a language test with an official if needed.

Various certificates, diplomas, and tests can be accepted as evidence of your language capabilities.

Get a language accommodation or waiver (exemption)

You may be in a situation where you need

  • help with the language requirement (accommodation) or
  • an exemption from it (waiver)


If you need help with the language requirement, you can request an accommodation.  For example, you can get sign language interpretation when we assess your language skills at a language hearing. 

Learn more about accommodations

Waiver (exemption)

If your situation prevents you from proving your language skills, you can request a waiver (exemption) instead.

  • Your situation must meet the waiver criteria.
  • If we approve your waiver request, you don’t need to prove your language skills.

Pass a citizenship test

If you’re between 18 and 54 years old on the day you sign your application, you must take the citizenship test.

The test will ask questions about

  • the rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizens
  • Canada’s history, geography, economy, government, laws and symbols

We’ll invite you to the test after you submit your application.

Take the oath of citizenship

You must take the oath of citizenship if

  • you’re at least 14 years old when you sign your application and
  • we approve your application


If you committed a crime in or outside Canada

  • you may not be eligible to become a Canadian citizen for a period of time
  • time spent serving a term of imprisonment, on parole, or on probation doesn’t count as time you’ve lived in Canada

Find out about situations that may prevent you from becoming a Canadian citizen:

  • If you’re not sure whether the situations apply to you, contact your lawyer or arresting police officer.
  • Wait until the situation no longer applies before you apply for citizenship.

We’ll review your application on a case-by-case basis.


You need to choose the online or paper application. Do not apply both ways.

Find out how to apply online

Apply on paper

As of January 4, 2023, you can choose an electronic citizenship certificate (e-certificate) or a paper certificate for most citizenship applications.

Get an application package

The application package includes the instruction guide and all the forms you need to fill out. Use the instruction guide and the document checklist to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Choose the application package for your situation:

Pay the application fees

Your fees depend on whether you’re an adult (age 18 and over) or a minor (under age 18). Your fees may include

  • the processing fee
  • the right of citizenship fee

You have to pay your fees online

  • Only pay your fees once you’re ready to submit your application.
  • Include the receipt with your application.
  • If you’re submitting more than 1 application at the same time, you can pay all the fees together (1 receipt) or separately (multiple receipts).

Pay your fees online

Make sure

  • you sign the application form
  • you date the form the day you sign it (don’t use a date in the past or future)
  • that the date of signature on the application form is the same as the “Application date” in the physical presence calculation for these applications:
  • to send your application as soon as possible after you sign and date the application form
    • We’ll return your application to you if we receive it more than 90 days after the date on the form.

If you're submitting more than 1 application

Send your completed application form and all documents in the application package by mail or courier:

Regular mail Courier
Case Processing Centre - Sydney
Citizenship Grants
P.O. Box 7000
Sydney, NS B1P 6V6
IRCC Digitization Centre - Citizenship
3050 Wilson Ave
New Waterford, NS B1H 5V8

Apply for citizenship urgently

Processing times show how long it takes us to process applications for citizenship. We can process applications faster in special cases.

When and how to apply for citizenship urgently.

After procedure

Processing your application

Processing time  15 months ( Average )

The processing time is the average time between when we receive a complete application and when we make a decision.

When we receive your application for citizenship, we review your application to make sure you answered all the questions on the form sent all the required documents paid the fees. 

If your application is complete

If all applications are complete, we’ll email your group the AORs. This means

Each person will get their own AOR, which has each person’s unique client identifier (UCI) and an application number.

 If your application is incomplete

If anyone in your group has an incomplete application, we

  • will return all applications to your group
  • won’t have processed the fee payment yet

Your group will get an email asking each person to check their individual online account. In the account, there will be a message

  • explaining that the group application is incomplete
  • with instructions to resubmit the group application

In your account, you’ll find a message with

  • a list of the missing information and documents
  • instructions to resubmit the application

 For privacy reasons, the online application shows the list of missing information or documents to the affected individuals only.

To resubmit a complete group application

  • the affected individual(s) must provide their missing information and documents
  • everyone must, if applicable

If the resubmitted applications are complete

  • we’ll send the AORs to your group (1 AOR per person)
  • the processing time will restart

Leaving Canada after you submit your application

You can leave Canada after we receive your application as long as you:

  • keep your permanent resident (PR) status
  • can receive any letter mail, parcels and emails we send you after you submit your application
  • can reply to our letters and emails within the specified time, usually within 30 days
  • are available in person in Canada to attend your citizenship test (if you’re between 18 and 54 years of age), interview, and ceremony

Let us know if you plan to leave Canada for more than two weeks in a row.

How to submit your fingerprints if needed

If we ask you to submit your fingerprints for citizenship, you’re responsible for paying all fees to have your fingerprints taken.

Your fingerprints must be taken electronically in Canada through

  •   your local police service
  •   the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)
  •   an RCMP-accredited fingerprint company
    • If you use this service
      • bring your fingerprint request letter to the company
      • make sure they can provide you with a copy of their RCMP letter of accreditation

Do not go to a Service Canada Centre to have your fingerprints taken for a citizenship application.

If you have them taken at a Service Canada Centre

  • We can’t use the fingerprints for your citizenship application and they will be deleted.
  • You must have your fingerprints retaken at 1 of the above collection points

Check and update your application

You can check your application status online

  • to find out our progress with your application
  • only after you’ve received an acknowledgement of receipt (AOR) letter or email
    • You’ll get an AOR after we receive your application and check that it’s complete.
    • It can take some time before you receive it.

Due to COVID-19, it’s taking us longer to

  • check that your application is complete
  • send you an AOR letter or email with your application number

We may contact you to get more information if your case is non-routine.

When to contact us

Do not contact us about your application status if you don’t have an acknowledgement of receipt (AOR) letter.

While we process your application, contact us if any information on your application changes or if you

Due to privacy laws, we can’t give information about your application to anyone unless you consent in writing. For example, if you have difficulty communicating in English or French, you need to provide consent for a family member to contact us about your application.

Additional information and resources