After waiting for so long, finally you can apply to become a Canadian citizen, even though the steps to fill the forms seem to be straightforward, it is of the utmost importance to do it properly, avoiding with that, delays in your application to be processed. The government of Canada offers a complete and descriptive guide.
Applying for Canadian Citizenship
This section will guide you through the steps required to become a Canadian citizen.
- Determine your eligibility – Discover if you are eligible to become a Canadian citizen. There are requirements in six categories: age, permanent resident status, time lived (residence) in Canada, language abilities, criminal history and knowledge of Canada. If you are unsure whether you are Canadian or not, see if you may already be a citizen.
- Complete your application – If you are eligible, you can complete an application to become a citizen.
- Check processing times – Find the total processing time required for routine citizenship applications.
- After you apply: get next steps
Determine Your Eligibility
To be eligible to become a Canadian citizen, you must meet the requirements in all of the following areas:
- Permanent resident status
- Residence in Canada
- Language abilities
- Criminal history (prohibitions)
- Knowledge of Canada
You must be at least 18 years old to apply for Canadian citizenship.
To apply for citizenship for a child under 18, the following conditions must be met:
- the person applying is the child’s parent, adoptive parent or legal guardian
- the child is a permanent resident, but does not need to have resided in Canada for three years; and
- one parent is already a Canadian citizen or is applying to become a citizen at the same time. This also applies to adoptive parents.
Permanent resident status
To become a Canadian citizen, you must have permanent resident status in Canada, and that status must not be in doubt. This means you must not be the subject of an immigration investigation, an immigration inquiry or a removal order (an order from Canadian officials to leave Canada).
Residence in Canada
To become Canadian citizens, adults must have resided in Canada for at least three years (1,095 days) in the past four years before applying. Children under the age of 18 do not need to meet this requirement.
You may be able to count time you spent in Canada before you became a permanent resident if that time falls within the four-year period.
Use the citizenship calculator to find out if you have lived in Canada long enough to apply for citizenship.
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.
If you are between 18 and 54, you will have to send proof of your ability to speak and listen in English or French with your citizenship application. Some examples of this proof can be:
- The results of a CIC-approved third-party test; or
- Transcripts or a diploma from a secondary or post-secondary education in English or French, in Canada or abroad;
Please see the full list of documents we will accept as proof of the language requirement for citizenship.
CIC staff will also look at how well you:
- understand basic spoken statements and questions, and
- express basic information or answer questions.
When you talk to CIC staff or a citizenship judge interviews you, you will have to:
- take part in short, everyday conversations about common topics;
- understand simple instructions and directions;
- speak using basic grammar, including simple structures and tenses; and
- show that you know enough common words and phrases to express yourself.
A citizenship judge makes the final decision on all cases.
Acceptable documents for language requirements
Adults between 18 and 54 who apply for citizenship must send us proof that they meet the language requirement for citizenship (Canadian Language Benchmark/Niveau de compétence linguistique canadien 4). A copy of any of the following documents showing that you meet the language requirement will be accepted. You can also consult the Do you have acceptable documents for the citizenship language requirement? flowchart.
1. Third-party test results that you already sent to CIC or Ministère de l’Immigration et Communautés culturelles Québec (MICC) for a previous application as a Federal or Quebec-Selected Skilled Worker or for the Canadian Experience Class
2. New third-party test results, including:
- CELPIP General (Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program General test); or
- CELPIP General-LS – a two-skills (listening and speaking) version of the CELPIP General test; or
- IELTS – General training (International English Language Testing System); or
- Test d’Évaluation de Français (TEF) (in French only); or
- Test d’Évaluation de Français adapté au Québec (TEFAQ) (in French only) or TEF épreuves orales – a two-skills (listening and speaking) version of the TEF
3. Proof of completion of a secondary or post-secondary education program in French or English, in Canada or abroad, such as:
- A transcript, diploma or certificate from a secondary school; or
- A transcript, diploma, certificate or degree from a post-secondary school
Note: When these documents are provided, the applicant must have successfully completed a secondary or post-secondary program in English or French. A single course done in English or French does not meet the requirement.
4. Proof of achieving CLB/NCLC 4 in speaking and listening through a Language Instruction for Newcomers (LINC) or Cours de langue pour les immigrants au Canada (CLIC) course.
- Applicants who successfully completed LINC/CLIC courses between January 1, 2008 and October 31, 2012, should indicate this on their citizenship application form and CIC will verify the completion electronically.
- Applicants who successfully complete a LINC/CLIC course after November 1, 2012, should submit a copy of the certificate that is issued to them.
Note: Initial placement tests by a LINC/CLIC assessment centre are not accepted as proof of achieving CLB/NCLC 4 in speaking and listening. Applicants must have completed a LINC/CLIC course at the necessary level of language ability to prove that they have adequate knowledge of English or French.
Citizenship language requirement flowchart
Step 1: Have you completed a secondary or post -secondary program, in French or in English, in Canada or abroad?
If yes, you can send a copy of your diploma, certificate or transcript that shows you completed the program. Note: You must have successfully completed a secondary or post-secondary program in English or French. A single course done in English or French does not meet the requirement.
If not, please continue to step 2.
Step 2: Did you immigrate to Canada through a federal immigration program requiring a third-party test result for language ability? (e.g. Federal Skilled Workers, Canadian Experience Class)
If yes: You can submit a copy of your test results (CELPIP, IELTS or TEF) with your citizenship application as long as they are at level CLB 4 or higher in speaking and listening, even if they are expired.
If you lost or need a copy, contact the test provider.
CLB 4 equivalencies for listening and speaking:
- CELPIP-General test: 2H or higher (3L, 3H, 4L, 4H, 5 or 6); OR
- IELTS General training test:
- 4.0 or higher in speaking, and
- 4.5 or higher in listening (or 4 or higher in listening if test done before November 28, 2008); OR
- TEF (also known as Test d’évaluation de français) test: either 3 or higher, or B1 or higher (B2, C1 or C2).
If not, please continue to step 3.
Step 3: Did you immigrate to Canada through the Quebec-selected skilled workers program requiring a third-party test result for language ability that was provided to the Ministère de l’immigration et des communautés culturelles (MICC)?
If yes, you can submit a copy of your test results (e.g. DELF, DALF, TCF, TCFQ, TEF and TEFAQ) with your citizenship application if they are at level CLB 4 or higher in speaking and listening, even if they have expired.
If you lost or need a copy, contact the test provider.
CLB 4 equivalencies for listening and speaking:
- DELF: B1 or higher
- DALF: all results
- TCF or TCFQ: B1 or higher
- TEF or TEFAQ: either 3 or higher, or B1 or higher (B2, C1 or C2).
If not, please continue to step 4.
Step 4: Have you completed Federal LINC/CLIC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada/Cours de langue pour les immigrants au Canada) training?
If yes, and you completed LINC at level CLB 4 or higher in speaking and listening, you can submit a copy of your LINC certificate, received on or after November 1st, 2012.
If you did LINC training between January 2008 and October 2012, mark the tick box on your citizenship application and CIC will verify it electronically.
If not, please continue to step 5.
Step 5: Have you completed a provincial language program in Manitoba, British Columbia or Quebec?
If yes, and you completed level CLB 4 or higher in speaking and listening, you can submit a copy of:
- From Manitoba language program: Make sure your progress report by the Manitoba government shows your speaking and listening are at least at “completing CLB4” or higher and was issued since January 2009. If it does not, your proof will not be accepted.
- From BC language program:
- People who have completed English Language Services for Adult (ELSA) training since 2010 can provide CIC with an ELSA report card or an ELSA certificate confirming language level CLB 4 or higher;
- People who completed ELSA training in 2008 and 2009, can provide CIC with an ELSA certificate confirming language level CLB 4 or higher.
Ensure that you have achieved at least CLB 4 in speaking and listening skills. If not, your proof will not be accepted.
If not, please continue to step 6.
Step 6: Did you answer “No” to all of the above questions, or do you want to take a third party language test approved by CIC?
If yes, you can take one of the following CIC-approved third party language tests and submit the test results with your application.
- CELPIP-General test: to meet at least CLB 4, you need a score of 2H or higher (3L, 3H, 4L, 4H, 5 or 6) in speaking and listening; OR
- CELPIP-General LS (a two-skills, listening and speaking version of the CELPIP-General test): to meet at least CLB 4, you need a score of 2H or higher (3L, 3H, 4L, 4H, 5 or 6) in listening and speaking; OR
- IELTS General training test: to meet at least CLB 4, you need a score of 4.0 or higher in speaking, and 4.5 or higher in listening; OR
- TEF (as known as Test d’évaluation de français) test: to meet at least CLB 4 or higher, you need a score of B1 or higher (B2, C1 or C2) in listening and speaking; OR
- TEFAQ or TEF épreuves orales: both are two-skills (listening and speaking) versions of the TEF. To meet at least CLB 4, you need a score of B1 or higher (B2, C1 or C2).
Step 7: If you do not have the required language level (a minimum of CLB 4 in listening and speaking), you may choose to improve your language ability in a language program that provides acceptable certification that you can submit with your citizenship application when you complete the CLB-4 level. We suggest enrolling in a program that gives certification which CIC will accept.
For example, you can register to take a free, government-funded course such as:
- the federal LINC course or
- a provincially-funded language program in Manitoba, British Columbia or Quebec
Criminal history (prohibitions)
You cannot become a citizen if you:
- have been convicted of an indictable (criminal) offence or an offence under the Citizenship Act in the three years before you applied;
- are currently charged with an indictable offence or an offence under the Citizenship Act;
- are in prison, on parole or on probation;
- are under a removal order (have been ordered by Canadian officials to leave Canada);
- are under investigation for, are charged with, or have been convicted of a war crime or a crime against humanity; or
- you have had your Canadian citizenship taken away in the past five years.
If you are on probation or are charged with an offence and are awaiting trial, you should wait until after the probation has ended or the trial is over to apply for citizenship.
If you have spent time on probation, on parole or in prison in the last four years, you may not meet the residence requirement for citizenship.
Time in prison or on parole does not count as residence in Canada. Time on probation also does not count as residence in Canada if you were convicted of an offence. If you have spent time on probation from a conditional discharge, it may be counted toward residence.
Knowledge of Canada
To become a citizen, you must understand the rights, responsibilities and privileges of citizenship, such as the right and responsibility to vote in elections. You must also demonstrate an understanding of Canada’s history, values, institutions and symbols.
The information you need to know is in our free study guide Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship. We will send you a copy of it once we have received your application. The questions in the citizenship test are based on the information in this guide.
Complete Your Application
Before you apply for citizenship, you should make sure you are eligible.
To become a Canadian citizen, you must do the following:
1. Get an Application Package
Note: If your application is incomplete or missing information, it will be returned to you. Please ensure that postal codes are included for all Canadian and overseas addresses.
If you are an adult (age 18 or older), you need this form:
If you are applying for your children (under age 18), you need this form:
You can apply for your children at the same time as you apply for yourself, or after you have become a citizen.
The application package contains an instruction guide. Read these instructions carefully, complete the form and attach photocopies of your documents. Do not send the originals. You will have to show the originals when you come for your test or interview, so remember to bring them with you.
We will only begin to process your application package if it is complete. If your application package is not complete, the application form, documents and payment receipt will be returned to you as incomplete and you will have to resubmit.
If you are sending more than one application (for example, applications for family members), and one of the applications is incomplete, all the applications will be returned to you.
To ensure you submit a completed application package, read the instruction guide and the Document Checklist at the end of the application form.
2. Pay Application Fees
The application processing fee is payable in Canadian funds only. The fee for processing your form and your children’s forms is not refundable, so make sure you are eligible and ready to become a citizen before you apply.
Note: You can use one receipt for your entire family as long as you send all the application forms in the same envelope.
To pay your fees online, you must:
- Have a PDF Reader.
- Have a printer.
- Have a valid email address.
- Pay with a Visa®, MasterCard® or American Express® credit card.
- Print the “receipt of payment” page and include it with your application.
- Pay your fees online when you are ready.
To pay your fees at a financial institution in Canada, you must:
- Obtain an original payment receipt form (IMM 5401). Order it online or contact the Call Centre.
- Fill the receipt form and bring it with you when you go to pay your fees.
- Include the completed payment receipt form (IMM 5401) with your application.
For more detailed instructions, read the application guide.
3. Submit Application
If you apply for more than one person and want your applications processed together, you can submit all the forms and documents in the same envelope. If there are problems with one of the applications, the rest might continue to be processed.
If the applications are sent in different envelopes, they will be processed separately.
Note: If your application is signed more than three months before we receive it or if it is dated into the future, we will send it back to you. You must be eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship the day before you sign the application form.
Mail your completed application form, along with the required documents, to:By regular mail: Case Processing Centre – Sydney Grant Adults P.O. Box 7000 Sydney, Nova Scotia B1P 6V6 Canada By courier: Case Processing Centre – Sydney Grant Adults 49 Dorchester Street Sydney, Nova Scotia B1P 5Z2
The processing time from receipt of application to final decision for 80% of cases processed between October 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012:
- Routine citizenship applications – 25 months
- Non-routine citizenship applications – 35 months
Once you receive your acknowledgment letter, you can also check your file’s status online.
Note: If it has been longer than the time shown above since you applied and you need more information, please contact the Call Centre. However, please note that Call Centre agents cannot speed up the process of your application nor make decisions on your case. Call Centre services are only available for people inside Canada.
What is a routine application?
An application is considered routine if:
- we receive all the necessary documents and the correct fees;
- you meet the residence requirements;
- you are not subject to any immigration, security or criminal prohibitions;
- you meet the language requirements for citizenship;
- you pass the knowledge-of-Canada test (citizenship test);
- you do not need a hearing with a citizenship judge; and
- you are not asked to provide additional documents such as fingerprints, a residence questionnaire or documents proving residence in Canada.
What is a non-routine application?
An application is considered non-routine if any one of the following has occurred:
- you are asked to provide a residence questionnaire, documents proving residence in Canada, fingerprints, or any other additional documents;
- we have not received all the necessary documents or the correct fees;
- it is unclear whether you meet the residence requirements;
- it is unclear whether you are subject to any immigration, security or criminal prohibitions;
- you do not meet the language requirements for citizenship;
- you fail or are unable to write the knowledge-of-Canada test (citizenship test); and
- you require a hearing with a citizenship judge.
After You Apply: Get Next Steps
Once we start processing your case, we will send you a notice confirming we have received your application for Canadian citizenship.
We will also send you a copy of the study guide Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship. Study the guide carefully. You will need to know the information in it for the citizenship test.
You can check the status of your application online. You can also check the status of your application by contacting the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Call Centre.
If we receive the required forms, documents and fees and you meet the requirements to apply for citizenship, we will send you a notice giving you the time and date for your test.
After the test, you may be asked to attend an interview with a citizenship judge. If you and your family sent your applications in the same envelope, your application will be processed separately from your family’s unless you want them to be processed together.
If your application for Canadian citizenship is not approved, you will receive a letter stating the reasons why and the options available to you.
If you do not:
- submit documentation
- appear for a hearing; or
- attend the citizenship ceremony;
and have not contacted CIC, we may consider your application abandoned and close your file.
Making an inquiry about your application
- During the processing of your application for Canadian citizenship, you should only contact CIC if you:
- change your address;
- plan on leaving Canada for more than two weeks in a row;
- are charged with a criminal offence;
- have not received any information on your file within the general processing times.
- Before enquiring about the status of your application please be sure you have waited the appropriate processing time for each step.
- Make sure you have your receipt or file number available when you contact the Call Centre or access e‑CAS.
- We will contact you if we require further information or documents in order to continue processing your application.
- The local office will write to you to inform you of the date and time of any appointments.
- Under Canadian privacy legislation we cannot give information about your application to anyone but you without your written permission.