No matter where you are from, a change is eventually required in life. Being an American citizen is a feeling in itself, but one might have to leave this country because of various reasons. If you have come here, you might be thinking about how to get Canadian Citizenship as an American.
The process that an American has to go through is not too different from the person who wants Canadian citizenship from any part of the world. This extensive guide will unpack the procedures, nuances, and factors needed to ensure a seamless transfer.
Whether you are driven by career opportunities, cultural affinity, or a desire for new horizons, this guide will help everyone. Let’s understand the eligibility criteria to address the necessary documents and help you transform into a Canadian citizen.
1. Eligibility Criteria
First and foremost, it is essential to know the eligibility criteria set by the Canadian government to get the citizenship of their country. This is not just for Americans; anyone willing to move to this country will have to fit these criteria; only then will they be able to become a part of the Canadian population. It is an essential component that serves as the basis for a fruitful application procedure.
1.1. Residency Requirements
There are specific eligibility criteria that lie in the imperative residency requirements. People willing to move to the country should physically reside in Canada for a minimum of 1,095 days out of five years before applying, according to the Canadian government.
If you fit this criteria, then it’s excellent, but if not, then go and live in this beautiful country for at least the mentioned period.
Also, one has to provide examples of documentation that can substantiate one’s residency, which includes utility bills, employment records, or lease agreements.
Additionally, those visiting Canada for the first time should keep meticulous records of their time in Canada to have a seamless application process.
There’s an advantage of being a Canadian citizen that, at the same time, you can be a citizen of another country or your home country.
1.2. Permanent Resident Status
Securing permanent residence is a pivotal milestone in your journey to get Canadian citizenship. Once you have submitted your application to get citizenship in Canada, processing times have varied, with recent plans to reduce the processing time from 27 months to 20 months.
It is clearly mentioned on the official website that in this period, you don’t have to contact them; they will contact you once the decision is made.
Whether you want to apply as a group or family, as a minor, or as a representative, there’s a different pathway for each type of application, which you can check in detail by clicking here.
2. Documentation and Application
Having a good understanding of documentation and the application process is a critical aspect for Americans seeking citizenship. This section will help you gather important documents and how you can complete the application form effectively.
2.1. Required Documents
The first and most important document you need is the printout of your physical presence in the country. Yes, there is a form named CIT 0407, which is used to calculate your physical presence in Canada for citizenship purposes.
Another document one will need is a colored photocopy of their passport or travel documents and biographical or identity proof, which should include their name, photo, date of birth, etc.
You will also need a permanent resident card provided by the Canadian government for people who have been there for a particular amount of time for various reasons. Furthermore, you will have to gather your driver’s license and any health insurance papers you have at the current time.
Additionally, if you are a senior citizen, you’ll have to submit an old citizen identification from your home country or the region you are living in. Ensure that all the documents you provide have no errors, so your application doesn’t get delayed and have a smooth transition.
2.2. Completing the Application Form
Before sending your application form, you must pay application fees that vary according to age.
This payment amount is according to the date December 2023, and it might change according to the time. If you read this article after a few months of the date mentioned, you should check the official website before considering the amount.
Now, you can submit or send your application to the official address “IRCC Digitization, Centre – Citizenship, 3050 Wilson Ave New Waterford, NS B1H 5V8”. Once all this work is done, you have to wait and prepare for the test that we are going to talk about in the next heading of this article.
3. Language Proficiency
Yes, you have to take a test after submitting your application. A good understanding of English or French is an essential component to becoming a Canadian citizen. This section will dive into the intricacies of language proficiency while covering the necessary testing and potential exemptions.
3.1. Language Testing
If you are between 18 and 54, you must pass this test, while for people above or below this age, it might not be the matter.
In this test, they might ask you about the rules and regulations of Canadian citizens, history, geography, etc. This test will be 45 minutes, and you’ll only be able to take this test in English or French.
The whole test will contain 20 questions, and to get passed, one has to answer 15 of them correctly. You’ll receive this test within a week after successfully submitting your application.
3.2. Language Exemptions
One might need some help (accommodation) or exemption (waiver) from taking this test for several reasons.
If you need accommodation, they can give you more time while providing you with a pinpoint or oral test version. Also, if you have a terrible internet connection, you can give this test in person, too.
While talking about the exemption, one will have to request a waiver to avoid giving this test. Your waiver request will only be accepted if you have been physically or mentally disturbed for over one year or have been in trauma due to various reasons. People lacking in education might fit this criteria based on their situation.
4. File Your Taxes
If your relations with Canada have been built, you must file Taxes of Canada. If you are a refugee1, a newcomer (people who have come to the country for business purposes, studying, or holding a temporary residence permit), or a permanent resident, filing your taxes is a must; otherwise, actions might be taken against you.
However, the taxes might be different depending on the various factors and relations you have with the country. For those seeking citizenship, you must demonstrate financial stability so that you don’t become a burden to the country’s government. Filing taxes in Canada is beneficial as you get a lot of credits and advantages from it.
5. Ceremony and Oath
The final stages of your journey to become a Canadian citizen involve participating in a citizenship Ceremony and solemnly taking the Oath of Citizenship.
Understanding the environment and what happens in this ceremony will ensure a smooth transition into one’s new status as a Canadian citizen.
5.1. Attending the Citizenship Ceremony
Walking towards the final stage of becoming a Canadian citizen while attending a celebratory event, which is a citizenship ceremony, marks the culmination of your citizenship process. These events happen across the country at almost every time of the year.
There’s Canada Day Day, and Citizenship Week is when most citizenship ceremonies occur. These ceremonies are typically held in a welcoming atmosphere where candidates officially become Canadian citizens.
These get-togethers promote a sense of community by bringing together family, friends, and other newcomers. Children and adults above 14 are required to attend the citizenship ceremony and oath. Children under 14 aren’t required to attend but will be welcome if they come.
Now, digital citizenship ceremonies are also happening, but don’t get confused, as you will be informed 1 or 2 weeks before the date of your citizenship ceremony, whether it’s going to be on video call or in person.
5.2. Taking the Path of Citizenship
The Oath of Citizenship is a key component of the event. It is a serious pledge to protect Canadian ideals and carry out citizen responsibilities. You will be able to see a person leading the ceremony, and they might be the official citizenship judge or the officials of the country.
English and French will be spoken in the ceremony, and since you have passed the citizenship test, you will not have any difficulties understanding the whole process. All the candidates present in the room will have to repeat what the official will say.
One will be called individually to say the Oath and sing the country’s national anthem. The Path ceremony is a heartfelt declaration pledging allegiance to Canada, its democracy, and its laws.
The candidates should familiarize themselves with the oath’s content in advance to ensure meaningful and respectful participation. Once the path is completed, you’ll receive a Certificate of Canadian Citizenship2, a tangible representation of your new status.
6. Benefits of Moving to Canada
6.1. Economic Opportunities
Canada has many economic opportunities as it provides a stable and diverse economy. The country offers residents access to various industries and job prospects, which is also one of the country’s main attractions.
6.2. Quality Healthcare System
Canada has a universal healthcare system that ensures that residents have access to essential medical services without putting any burden on high healthcare costs.
6.3. Educational Excellence
Canada boasts world-class educational institutions which provide education and diverse programs. The government offers free education to the country’s PR (Permanent Residents). This is a great benefit for those looking to further their education academically or for families with young children.
6.4. High Quality of Life
Canada consistently ranks high in global quality of life indices, offering a clean and safe environment, excellent public services, and a strong sense of community.
6.5. Natural Beauty and Outdoor Activities
Canada is a country that has various stunning landscapes that can catch anyone’s eye in seconds. One can engage in a wide range of outdoor activities, which makes a healthy and active lifestyle for the country.
6.6. Political Stability
Canada is a politically stable country, and living in such an environment helps the citizens. It provides a strong democratic heritage that guarantees a safe and tranquil living environment.
In essence, the journey from being an American to a Canadian citizen is an exciting one but also comes with various challenges. Individuals must review eligibility criteria, residency requirements, permanent resident status, documentation, language proficiency testing, and tax filing.
After doing all these things effectively, they will finally get the chance to immerse themselves in the Citizenship Ceremony. Maintaining a thorough comprehension of all these nuances will facilitate a seamless shift for you. The country offers many benefits, such as economic opportunities, a quality healthcare system, educational excellence, and a high quality of life.
Follow all the instructions mentioned in the article to have a smooth transition and live your life to the fullest.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Can I live in Canada if I marry a Canadian?
Yes, you are permitted by the government to reside in Canada if you are married to a Canadian. However, it doesn’t mean that you won’t need to apply for Canadian citizenship3.
Q2. Which is better, PR or Canadian citizenship?
Permanent Residency (PR) offers long-term benefits, while citizenship will give you voting rights in the country.
Q3. Is Canada hard to get citizenship?
The process requires patience as obtaining Canadian citizenship requires meeting residency requirements, and the language Proficiency test might take a reasonable amount of time. If the process is done efficiently without errors, one might not have to wait long.
- Goodwin-Gill, Guy S., Jane McAdam, and Emma Dunlop. The refugee in international law. Oxford University Press, 2021. ↩︎
- Macklin, Audrey. “A brief history of the brief history of citizenship revocation in Canada.” Man. LJ 44 (2021): 434. ↩︎
- Galloway, J. Donald. “The dilemmas of Canadian citizenship law.” Geo. Immigr. LJ 13 (1998): 201. ↩︎