Important Changes to the Citizenship Act

Important Changes to the Citizenship Act

No citizenship revocation from dual citizens for terrorism

According to the Bill C-24, that came into effect in May 2015, Canadian citizenship was allowed to be taken away from dual citizens who were convicted of terrorism, high treason, spying or who belonged to armed forces or organized armed groups engaged in armed conflict with Canada.

All Canadian citizens either born or naturalized in Canada, with dual citizenship or not, who engage in certain acts against the national interest will be treated equally in accordance with the Law. Provisions that allow citizenship to be revoked from dual citizens will be repealed.

“The Government is keeping its commitment to repeal certain provisions of the Citizenship Act, including those that led to different treatment for dual citizens. Canadian citizens are equal under the law. Whether they were born in Canada or were naturalized in Canada or hold a dual citizenship,” said Minister McCallum on February 25, 2016, in Ottawa.

Still, those who obtained their Canadian citizenship by false representation or fraud (such as identity and residence fraud) will remain in place.

Age range for language requirements and a knowledge test will be 18-54

Now, the age range to meet official languages requirements and pass a knowledge test to qualify for citizenship is 14-64. It will be changed back to 18-54.

“Physical presence in Canada” the length of time will be reduced to three years (1095 days) within the five years

The Government is proposing to reduce the time that a person has to be physically present in Canada before applying for citizenship. For adults it will be three years (1095 days) within the five years – one year sooner than now (currently, 1,460 days within 6 years).

If you resided in Canada before your Permanent Residency you can count it toward the physical presence requirement

Currently, it’s not allowed by the Citizenship Act to count time people spent in Canada before becoming a permanent resident towards meeting the physical presence requirement. The new changes would let non-permanent resident time count toward the physical presence requirement: each day that a person legally spent in Canada before becoming a permanent resident could be counted as a half-day.

“The time credit will also encourage skilled individuals to come to Canada to study or work, and benefits groups like protected persons and parents and grandparents on visitors’ visas” [1].

“183 days of physical presence” will be eliminated

“Applicants would no longer need to be physically present for 183 days in Canada during each of four calendar years that are within the six years immediately before applying for citizenship” [1].

“Intent to reside” in Canada will be repealed

Since June 2015, adult applicants must declare on their citizenship applications that they intend to continue to reside in Canada if granted citizenship. The provision created concern among some new Canadians, who feared their citizenship could be revoked in the future if they moved outside of Canada. The Government is proposing to repeal this provision. All Canadians are free to move outside Canada. This is a right guaranteed in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.


  1. An overview of proposed changes to the Citizenship Act –
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