Simply marrying a Canadian does not entitle anyone to skip the citizenship process; they will still have to meet the same requirements as any other applicant. Before an immigrant can become a Canadian citizen, they must first apply for and receive permanent residence status. Once this has been achieved, there are a number of requirements they must meet before they are able to apply for citizenship.
There are two ways to qualify for permanent residence in Canada: through the Government-Assisted Refugee Program or through the Private Sponsorship Program. Making a refugee claim does not grant immediate permanent resident status as your claim must be approved by the Immigration and Refugee Board at which point you can apply for and receive your PR card.
Permanent residents qualify for most social benefits including health care and may live, work, or study anywhere in Canada. They are protected under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and must pay taxes and respect all laws. They do not qualify to vote or run for political office and may not be allowed to hold high-security clearance jobs.
To apply for citizenship, permanent residents must be over 18 years of age and have lived in Canada at least 1095 days in the 4 years prior to their application. Time spent living in the country prior to receiving permanent residence status only counts as half days. For more information about calculating this, you can make use of residence calculator.
Residents must not be considered a security risk or be criminally prohibited from applying for any of the following reasons:
- Currently serving a sentence for a crime they have committed;
- Convicted of a serious crime in the last three years;
- Currently charged with committing a serious crime;
- Under investigation for, being charged with, or being convicted of a war crime or crime against humanity; or
- Had their citizenship revoked in the last five years.
In order to become a Canadian citizen, applicants must prove adequate skills in one of the two official languages, English and French. Applicants between the ages of 18-54 must provide documentation proving they are able to understand when spoken to and be understood. This documentation includes:
- Results of a CIC-approved third party test;
- Evidence of completion of secondary or post-secondary education in English or French in Canada or abroad; or
- Evidence from a government-funded language training program.
For a full list of acceptable documentation, you can check under application for Canadian citizenship under subsection 5(1) of CIC website.
Canadian Citizenship Test
Finally, applicants will have to prove adequate knowledge of Canada’s history, politics, and geography as well as the rights and responsibilities of its citizens by passing the citizenship test. Questions in the test are based on the Discover Canada guide which is provided free of charge to applicants. Once the test has been completed, successful applicants are invited to attend a citizenship ceremony at which they take the oath of citizenship.
Recent Update in Rules
Jason Kenney, Canadian Immigration Minister, due to increase in marriage fraud cases, has made some recent changes to the rules. Check out the summarization of his announcement and keep track of the updates.
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Jeremy Benson has been writing about finance, mortgage and Canadian law for last 7 years. Blogging is one among his greatest passions. Follow him on Twitter @jeremybenson19