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The prospect of obtaining Canadian citizenship represents a significant achievement for many. However, it requires the satisfaction of a good number of requirements and standards that people need to meet in order to be accepted under the eligibility for Canadian citizenship. 

The Canadian government grants citizenship through two primary pathways— naturalization and birth. Following the implementation of new legislation in 2017, which facilitated and demystified the process for permanent residents to obtain Canadian citizenship, many regulations have been greatly altered. 

The current law stipulates that before submitting an application for citizenship through naturalization, a candidate must have held qualifying permanent resident status for three of the five years.

Understanding Canadian Citizenship

Owing to its rich diversity, welcoming atmosphere, and breathtaking landscape, Canada is a land of opportunity that attracts people from all over the world. For many, obtaining Canadian citizenship signifies the conclusion of their journey.  

The legal designation of Canadian citizenship accords the right to live, work, and excitedly participate in Canadian society. It represents a commitment to democracy, equality, and respect for diversity—the primary fundamentals of the Canadian identity.

Eligibility for Canadian Citizenship

There are various factors relating to eligibility that mutually determine an applicant’s probability of being approved as a citizen of Canada. Let us delve into further details:

  • Being a Permanent Resident of Canada — Having acquired the status of a Canadian Permanent Resident is a crucial prerequisite that assures an applicant’s eligibility for Canadian citizenship. This is valid irrespective of one’s age. Additionally, at the time of applying for citizenship, a person would have had to meet all conditions for permanent residence in Canada.
  • Physical Presence in Canada — To be eligible for Canadian citizenship, an applicant needs to have resided physically in Canada for a minimum of 1095 days, which equals three years out of the five years directly preceding their application. Exceptions to this requirement include minors applying alongside a parent or those having a parent residing in Canada. It does, however, apply to minors applying without a parent or without a Canadian parent. This condition highlights the significance of preserving a significant and ongoing relationship with Canada.
  • The Filing of Income Tax — Eligibility for Canadian citizenship also heavily depends on one’s compliance with Canadian income tax laws. In order to prove their dedication to carrying out their civic duties, candidates must show proof that they have filed income taxes for at least three of the five-year period.
  • Language Proficiency Requirements — It is vital for candidates to showcase their proficiency in either of the two official languages of Canada, namely English and/or French. This is especially true for applicants who are aged between 18 and 54. They must satisfy the criteria for the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) Level 4 in order to be considered for citizenship. This essentially indicates that applicants must be able to follow directions, carry on a basic conversation, utilize proper grammar, and efficiently express themselves. An applicant’s language proficiency can be verified by taking language tests such as the International English Language Testing System and the Test d’Évaluation du Français.
  • Comprehension of Canadian Values — A citizenship test is used to evaluate an individual’s level of familiarity with Canada’s institutions, history, values, symbols, and rights and responsibilities as a citizen. This examination assesses candidates’ knowledge and verifies that they are knowledgeable about the nation they wish to call home.
  • Criminal Records — Eligibility for Canadian citizenship requires a spotless criminal record. Applicants for citizenship may encounter difficulties if they have a criminal record or active legal proceedings. Any criminal charges or convictions must be disclosed as they may affect the eligibility determination. A criminal record, whether from inside or outside of Canada, may prevent applicants from obtaining citizenship for an extended period of time. This also applies if they:
    • are incarcerated, on probation, or on parole in Canada;
    • are incarcerated somewhere other than Canada;
    • have been found guilty of an indictable offence in Canada or an offence outside the country during the four years prior to applying for citizenship;
    • are accused of, facing trial for, or embroiled in an appeal regarding an offence committed outside of Canada or the indictable offence committed there.
  • A Citizenship Ceremony — A citizenship ceremony is required as the last step towards obtaining Canadian citizenship. On this momentous occasion, people swear allegiance to Canada and its ideals by taking the Oath of Citizenship. As a symbol of the transition to full family membership in Canada, the ceremony is a time for reflection and celebration.


It is essential to note that Canadian citizenship extends beyond legal formalities. It involves accepting the principles that establish Canada as a hospitable and diverse country. Becoming a citizen of Canada, whether by birth, descent, or immigration, represents a dedication to creating a better future in a nation that cherishes equality, diversity, and togetherness.

In summary, one’s eligibility for Canadian citizenship involves fulfilling particular residency, language, knowledge, and character requirements. One step closer to accepting the rights and obligations that come with being a citizen of Canada is understanding and meeting these requirements. At Citizenship Lawyer, we are experienced in all types of Canadian Citizenship cases. Get in touch with us to learn more!