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Earning the status of a Canadian citizen is a common life aspiration among immigrants. Acquiring a Canadian passport and being able to participate in all the privileges that involve citizenship is quite fulfilling. However, it is also important to understand that getting citizenship in Canada is not always a piece of cake. Canada Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship may decline or delay your citizenship application on certain grounds.

In this blog post, we will see some of the critical situations that may bar you from becoming a citizen of Canada, at least on a temporary basis. Knowing what could go wrong enables you to go to great lengths and prevent these challenges, thus enhancing your odds of an efficient citizenship application.

An application may still be denied even if you have carefully met the requirements for permanent residence in Canada, studied for your citizenship exam by studying French or English, and memorized Canadian facts. A few of the typical causes are listed below.

Criminal History

One of the most frequent reasons citizenship applications are rejected or delayed is a criminal record, particularly for an offence punishable by an indictment. According to the severe guidelines regarding criminality set forth by the IRCC, a permanent resident must have a spotless record and be free of any charges or convictions, including those for minor offences, for at least four years prior to applying for citizenship.

This covers offences committed both domestically and abroad. Notwithstanding your conviction for a prior criminal offence committed several years ago in another country, you would still have to wait the mandatory time to become a citizen. Being cleared of the offence or getting a pardon or suspension of the record is thus crucial in reversing the impacts of a criminal record.

Ignorance of Tax Duties

Another significant barrier to obtaining Canadian citizenship is failing to pay your taxes as a permanent resident. Even if you have no income to declare or no taxes due, the IRCC requires that all applicants have filed tax returns for the qualifying period of physical presence in Canada.

When conducting the criminal record and security checks, the IRCC will also obtain your tax filings from the CRA. The CRA states that the failure to file taxes during the qualifying period shall be deemed to be a violation of one’s legal duty in the country and may hamper your likelihood of qualifying for both the residency and citizenship aspects of the application.

For Security Reasons

Should there be any suspicions regarding your involvement in actions that would endanger Canadian security, your application may be subject to additional scrutiny. You will not be permitted to get Canadian citizenship if you:

Have received a conviction for high treason, terrorism, treason, or spying

Were a part of an organized militant group or the armed forces of a nation or territory that was engaged in hostilities with Canada.


Even inadvertently giving false or misleading information on your application constitutes misrepresentation and might result in its rejection. It is essential to maintain integrity and openness at all times.

Prolonged Trips Outside of Canada

Requirements for an applicant include having lived in Canada as a permanent resident for not less than 1,095 days (3 years) within the previous five years. However, it is not only about the minimum number of days – extended journeys abroad may compromise your chances of obtaining citizenship.

For instance, the IRCC may consider you to have abandoned your permanent residence status if you were absent from Canada for longer than six months at a period and did not make Canada your primary place of abode. If you travel home too much, authorities may start to doubt your residency requirements and dedication to Canada.

Not Fulfilling Residency Requirements

A major obstacle is failing to meet Canada’s minimum physical presence requirement. Since there are few exceptions, it is essential that you have official documentation attesting to your time spent in Canada.

Failed Language Tests

Since being able to communicate in English or French is a prerequisite for obtaining Canadian citizenship, your application may not be approved if you are unable to produce acceptable documentation of your language skills. A recognized third-party language test, such as the IELTS, TEF, or TCF, must be passed with the minimum necessary score.

The IRCC probably won’t let you retake a language test and submit new results until six months have passed if you’ve already failed it. Language proficiency is essential; therefore, if you struggle with English or French, you may not be able to obtain citizenship until you improve.


These are only a few of the major circumstances that may preclude you from obtaining Canadian citizenship, either permanently or simply temporarily. It’s critical to be informed of potential obstacles so you can avoid problems and maintain your desire to obtain Canadian citizenship.

Are you unsure if your circumstances warrant citizenship? Seek advice from Citizenship Lawyer’s qualified immigration lawyers to help you on your way to obtaining Canadian citizenship.