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How do you become a Canadian citizen?

Becoming a Canadian citizen is a dream for many people across the world. The quality of life and the rights and privileges that Canadian citizens are entitled to are the major factors that make Canadian citizenship a much coveted status. How does one become a Canadian citizen? There are many ways, and in some cases you may automatically become a Canadian citizen. For example, if one of your parents is a Canadian citizen, you might have already become a Canadian citizen. But in such cases, you will have to apply for and obtain a ‘proof of citizenship’ in order to claim your citizenship rights.

Now let’s explore the ways through which one becomes a Canadian citizen.

The ways through which one becomes a Canadian citizen

One becomes a Canadian citizen if:

-he/she was born in Canada

– becomes a citizen owing to the changes to the Citizenship Act

-he/she applies for and obtains Canadian citizenship (naturalization)

-becomes a Canadian citizen as a minor when a parent or legal guardian applies for his/her citizenship and obtains

-he/she was born outside Canada and at least one of his/her parents was born in Canada or naturalized in Canada before his/her birth

Permanent residency programs

The most common pathway for a foreign national to become a Canadian citizen is the various permanent residency programs of the Canada Government. Under these programs, one has to first become a permanent resident in Canada. Then, once the candidate satisfies all the residency requirements, he/she becomes eligible to apply for permanent residence in Canada.

Canada has set certain eligibility criteria for a foreign national to become a permanent resident. These criteria are different for different permanent residency programs. But the most common factors that are considered include age, language proficiency, work experience, education qualifications etc.

Even after becoming a permanent resident, the candidate has to meet certain residency requirements in order to be eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship. The candidate is supposed to live in Canada for a minimum three years out of five as a permanent resident to become eligible.

Becoming a Canadian citizen without applying

In some cases, an individual may automatically become a Canadian citizen if one of their parents is a Canadian citizen. But in this case, the individual has to apply for a ‘Proof of Citizenship’ in order to enjoy the benefits of Canadian citizenship. A parent being a Canadian citizen alone is not enough to obtain the Proof of Citizenship. The process through which their citizenship was acquired and when the parent(s) became a Canadian citizen are important factors that affect the citizenship claims of children. The applications for Proof of Citizenship are scrutinized closely to ensure eligibility and the candidate has to submit supporting documents along with the application.

One doesn’t automatically become a Canadian citizen, in cases where:

-The person marries a Canadian citizen

-The person is adopted by a Canadian citizen

-The refugee claim of the person is accepted

-The person was born outside Canada to Canadian parent(s) on or after April 17, 2009, but neither parent was born or naturalized in Canada

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