Obtaining Canadian Citizenship FAQ

Last updated: 2 September 2020

Frequently asked questions about obtaining Canadian citizenship.

Note: A bill to change Canada's Citizenship Act received Royal Assent on June 19, 2017, and new measures came into force on October 11, 2017. To learn more about these changes, see our citizenship eligibility page.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly known as CIC) allows a permanent resident to apply for Canadian citizenship after he or she has been a physical resident of Canada for three years (1,095 days) out of the five years immediately preceding the application for citizenship. Where exceptional circumstances exist, however, someone may be allowed to apply even if he or she has not been physically resident in Canada for the required 1,095 days. The requirement to be physically present in Canada for 1,095 days does not apply to children under the age of 18.

No, there is no obligation to apply for Canadian citizenship at any time.

Unlike Canadian permanent residents, Canadian citizens have no residency obligations. Canadian citizens cannot lose their status unless it was obtained through material misrepresentation.

Canadian citizens also receive Canadian passports and are entitled to vote in federal, provincial, and municipal elections.

Currently, IRCC regulations dictate that applicants must be physically present in Canada as a permanent resident for 1,095 days within the five (5) years immediately before applying for citizenship.

Only the five years preceding the date of the application are taken into account. Within that five-year period:

  • Every day spent in Canada as a permanent resident counts as a full day.
  • Every day spent in Canada before becoming a permanent resident as a temporary resident or protected person counts as a half-day towards meeting the physical presence requirement for citizenship, up to a maximum credit of 365 days.
  • If the applicant became a permanent resident less than five years ago, the calculation period starts on the date that he or she became a permanent resident.
  • Time spent serving a sentence in Canada does not count towards the physical presence requirement (i.e. time spent in a prison, penitentiary, jail, reformatory, probation and/or on parole cannot be counted as physical presence).

Unless there are exceptional circumstances, time spent outside of Canada will not be counted towards the calculation of the 1,095 days required to qualify for Canadian citizenship.

Under the provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA), qualified Canadian citizens can benefit from facilitated admission into the US, Mexico and Chile for business- and work-related purposes.

Since 1977, Canada has permitted its citizens to hold dual or multi citizenship. As a result, Canadian citizens will not lose their Canadian citizenship if they retain their former nationality or become citizens of another country. Many other countries, including the United States, also recognize dual citizenship.

It is advised that a permanent resident intending to become a Canadian citizen verifies whether the country of his or her current nationality permits dual citizenship.

Not in all cases. As a general rule, only citizens residing in Canada are required to pay Canadian income tax on worldwide income. It is always best to consult with a specialist in Canadian taxation for specific advice regarding any and all Canadian taxation matters

Anyone born in Canada is most likely a Canadian citizen. Anyone unsure of his or her Canadian citizenship can contact IRCC and request a search for citizenship records, and obtain new citizenship documents.

Depending on when and for what reason citizenship was revoked, it may be possible to re-apply for Canadian citizenship. For complicated citizenship problems like these, it is best to have a consultation.

Contact IRCC for instructions on renunciation of citizenship.

Yes. Children born in Canada are Canadian citizens regardless of the status of their parents (i.e. a parent does not have to be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident in order for his or her Canadian-born child to be a citizen).

A child must be a permanent resident of Canada to become a citizen. The physical presence requirement of 1,095 days does not apply to children under the age of 18. In order to apply for citizenship for a child under the age of 18, one of the child's parents must already be a Canadian citizen, or must apply for citizenship at the same time. This applies to adoptive children as well.