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Citizenship Card/Certificate

To be eligible to become a Canadian citizen, you must meet the conditions in all listed-below areas:

Physical presence

You must have been physically present in Canada as a permanent resident for at least 1,460 days during the six years immediately before the date of your application. You must also be physically present for at least 183 days during each of four calendar years that are fully or partially within the six years immediately before the date of application. These requirements do not apply to children under 18.

When calculating time you have lived in Canada, you can only count time spent after you became a permanent resident of Canada.

Income tax filing

You must have met your personal income tax filing obligations in four taxation years that are fully or partially within the six years immediately before the date you apply.

Intent to reside

You must declare your intent to live in Canada during the citizenship application process.

Language skills

Canada has two official languages—English and French. To become a citizen, you must show that you have adequate knowledge of one of these languages. In general, this means you can:

  • take part in short, everyday conversations about common topics;
  • understand simple instructions, questions and directions;
  • use basic grammar, including simple structures and tenses; and
  • show that you know enough common words and phrases to answer questions and express yourself.

If you are 14 to 64 years of age, you must send documents with your citizenship application that prove you can speak and listen in English or French at this level.

How well you know Canada

To become a citizen, you must understand the rights, responsibilities and privileges of citizenship, such as voting in elections and obeying the law. You must also show, in English or French, that you understand Canada’s:

  • history,
  • values,
  • institutions
  • symbols

If you are 14 to 64 years of age, when you apply for citizenship, you will need to take a citizenship test to show you have adequate knowledge of Canada and the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship. It is usually a written test, but it is sometimes taken orally with a citizenship officer. All you need to know for the test is in our free study guide.

Prohibitions

If you have committed a crime in or outside Canada you may not be eligible to become a Canadian citizen for a period of time. For example if you:

  • are in prison, on parole or on probation in Canada, or are serving a sentence outside Canada,
  • have been convicted of an indictable offence in Canada or an offence outside Canada in the four years before applying for citizenship, or
  • are charged with, on trial for, or involved in an appeal of an indictable offencein Canada, or an offence outside Canada.

Time in prison or on parole does not count as time you have lived in Canada. Time on probation also does not count if you were convicted of a crime.