Updated: Jul 24, 2021
Canada is filled with opportunities and offer quality standard of living for all individuals seeking to settle down here. However, in order to become a citizen or even apply for Canadian citizenship, one needs to first become a Permanent Resident (PR) of the country. There are more than 100 different immigration pathways available for immigrants to get a PR status in Canada.
Many foreign nationals decide to become a Permanent Resident for the sole purpose of becoming a Canadian citizen and the country’s immigration laws enable them pursue that dream. There are few reasons why immigrants want to become a citizen and live permanently in Canada; they become eligible for more employment opportunities, vote and even run for a political office, they need not renew their immigration documentation or worry about losing their PR status. Foreign-born citizens and residents with a Canadian parent can automatically get citizenship of Canada. They can pass on citizenship to their children who were born in another country by applying for a “Proof of Citizenship”, i.e. a Canadian citizenship certificate. However, this is not applicable to spouses or partners.
There are certain requirements an applicant must meet in order to apply for Canadian citizenship. Apart from being a Permanent Resident of Canada, one must have stayed for a stipulated duration in Canada, filed taxes, have language proficiency either English or French and pass a citizenship test about the rights and responsibilities of citizens and also the history, geography, political system, etc of Canada. These are general requirement one needs to fulfill to become a citizen. There are different set of requirements for those who are applying on behalf of a minor, adopted child outside Canada, a Canadian Armed Forces member or a former Canadian citizen who wish to retain their citizenship. The applicant must also ensure they are not facing any issues like not have any criminal record inside or outside Canada, have been refused Canadian citizenship earlier due to misrepresentation, etc. These issues can affect their eligibility and lessen their chance of becoming a citizen. The application process for Canadian citizenship comprises of gathering documentation, application submission followed by review and decision. Once the procedure is complete and if application gets accepted, then the ‘Certificate of Citizenship’ is issued to the applicant.
The process to apply for Canadian citizenship is same for nationals from all countries. There is no exception offered by the Canadian government for foreigners when it comes to citizenship. However, there are special pathways available for the citizens of US and Mexico to enter into Canada temporarily, especially for work purpose. For instance, there is a special agreement signed between these three countries which enable U.S. and Mexican citizens to work and conduct business in Canada. This agreement is known as CUSMA i.e. Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement. As per this agreement, workers, traders and investors from both countries can come to Canada without going through some of the assessment process. However, this agreement has no effect on permanent residence. It only allows temporary entry in temporary for business persons involved in the trade of goods or services, or in investment activities. Under CUSMA, professionals, traders and investors from these countries must have a work permit to enter in Canada. For business investors, there is no requirement for a work permit. Similarly there are different agreements for free trading between Canada and few countries like Peru, Chile, Colombia, Korea, etc. but none of these offer assistance of permanent admission in Canada.
As per current immigration law, once you obtain the Canadian citizenship, you will not be restricted to stay within Canada. If you choose to stay in another country, you will always be considered a Canadian citizen under Canada’s dual-citizenship policy, unless you do highly illegal things that can revoke your citizenship status. Also, please note that provincial legislation is different from federal legislation. So, while you maintain your Canadian rights and privileges permanently, there are certain provincial or municipal benefits like healthcare which can easily be revoked. Hence, if you opt to stay in another country, you definitely need to consider your medical and insurance benefits.
Becoming a citizen of Canada is tough and complex with varied rules and regulations. If you are interested in understanding the detailed process or wish to apply for Canadian citizenship or even begin your immigration journey, then register with us today to book an online consultation with our regulated immigration consultant.