Had enough of the instability in the UK and Europe and keen to stay in the northern hemisphere to be close to family and friends? Then Canada maybe the country for you.
Find out how you can become a Canadian resident or better still a Canadian citizen.
- Be at least 18 years old.
Minors need their parent or legal guardian to fill out an application form for them; the parent must either be a Canadian citizen or applying to become one at the same time
- Enter the pool for skilled immigrants.
Canada has a fast-track system for immigration called Express Entry, it’s how skilled workers transition into a role in the country.
All applicants into Express Entry are given specific scores based on their specific skills and job prospects and then ranked with other applicants. Those at the top of the rankings are invited to become permanent residents.
If you are lucky to own a property already in Canada you maybe able to apply for Canadian citizenship. You can apply through the province of your choice, go down a special entrepreneur route, get help from a family member or spouse who lives in Canada, or go through Quebec, which has special immigration requirements.
Permanent residents are entitled to healthcare coverage and can work, study, and travel anywhere in Canada. You just can’t vote, run for office, or hold some jobs with high security clearance.
- Declare your intent to reside.
If you’re invited to become a permanent resident, you must confirm your plans to stay Canadian. The government defines permanent residence as living in Canada for at least two years in a five-year period. If you don’t spend that much time in Canda, you could lose your permanent residence status.
- Spend six years at that residence.
Permanent residents don’t always become citizens. The bar for citizenship is higher. If you’re living in Canada, you must have been a permanent resident and physically present in Canada for at least 1,460 days (four 365-day periods) in the six years immediately before the date of your application.
You must also be present for 183 days (half a year) during each of the four calendar years that are fully or partially resident within the six years before the application date.
Be aware your time in Canada needs to stay relatively consistent.
- Provide your income tax filing to prove your job is legal.
Like the residence requirement, you must be able to provide four years’ worth of tax returns in the six-year period leading up to the date of your application.
- Speak English or French.
Not sure if you want to live on the English or French side of Canada? As Canada has two official languages: English and French, to become a citizen, you need to know just one. You don’t need to be fluent, just conversational enough to make small talk, give directions, use basic grammar, and know your vocab well enough to describe yourself.
You’ll send along written documents with your application, but a citizenship officer will determine if your language is acceptable
- Know a thing or two about Canada.
You should probably brush up on your Canadian history anyway, but the government also issues a formal quiz to applicants on the history, values, institutions, and symbols of Canada.
You take the test if you’re between 16 and 64 years old. Typically, it’s a written test, but the citizenship officer may also ask questions orally.
There are no real surprises, but test yourself today to see how knowledgeable you are: http://citizenshipcounts.ca/quiz
- Know why your application might get denied.
There could be a number of reasons you may be prohibited from becoming a Canadian citizen. For instance, the government looks down upon granting citizenship to people who have committed a crime within four years of submitting their application or are on trial for a crime.
It also specifies that people in prison can’t use their sentence toward becoming a permanent residence. (That doesn’t quite fit with the “intent to reside.”)
We hope this article has helped you understand a little more about how to become a Canadian citizen. Remember if you are planning on moving to Canada in the coming months, make sure you contact our FX broker Sebastien Coignac-Smith, our Canadian dollar expert, who will ensure you receive the best exchange rate for your money.
Make sure you download our “Essential Guide to Buying and Renting in Canada.”