Canadians are proud of their citizenship and the status, rights, and freedoms that it provides.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is the federal department that manages Canadian citizenship, both for those applying for citizenship and for current Canadian citizens.

Since 2010, Canada has welcomed an average of more than 260,000 permanent residents each year. Many of these newcomers are in the process of becoming Canadian citizens, and many more will apply for Canadian citizenship in the future. When that process is complete, they take loyalty oaths pledging their commitment to the responsibilities and privileges of Canadian citizenship.

A Canadian immigrant may apply for Canadian Citizenship after spending at least three years in Canada as a permanent resident. Do you meet the requirements for Canadian citizenship?

You will need to satisfy several requirements to submit a Canadian citizenship application, and may then need to take a Canadian citizenship test. Learn more about the process.

Our lawyers at Cougar are familiar with the requirements and the procedures involved for obtaining your citizenship and will ensure you are strongly positioned to succeed in this process.

Requirements for Canadian Citizenship continue to change by the day. On June 19, 2017, Bill C-6 passed reversing many of the changes made to the Canadian Citizenship process in 2014. Additional changes took place as of October 11, 2017, and more changes to the Citizenship Act are to take effect at later dates.

CITIZENSHIP REQUIREMENT CHANGES

Category New Act 2017 2014/2015 2013
Residency Requirements for Citizenship

PR must have resided in Canada at least 3 of the 5 years prior to application

(In effect Fall 2017)

PR must have resided in Canada at least 4 of the 6 years prior to application PR must have resided in Canada at least 3 of the 4 years prior to application
Language assessment Applicants between the ages of 18 and 54 must meet basic knowledge and language requirements. Applicable criteria will be defined under future regulations The Citizenship applicant need to prove language ability Language is not a necessary requirement; individual could use an interpreter to prove knowledge of Canada
Age to take citizenship test Individuals between 18 and 54 must take Citizenship knowledge test (In effect Fall 2017) Individuals between 14 and 64 will need to take the Citizenship Test Individuals between 18 and 54 need to take the Citizenship test
Revocation of Citizenship Please see below Please see below Please see below
Citizenship is   A Privilege A Right
Residency Restores consideration of time spent in Canada as a non-permanent resident (non-PR) for most applicants to a maximum of 365 days of credited time (In effect Fall 2017) No time prior to being a permanent resident counts as for calculating the 4 out of 6 years for citizenship Fifty percent of time as a student or as a live-in caregiver, prior to applying for Permanent Resident status counts in Citizenship application calculations
Tax returns Must demonstrate that you filed income tax returns for 3 out of 5 years (In effect Fall 2017) Must demonstrate that you filed income tax returns for 4 out of 6 years Do not have to show any proof of filing tax returns
Intention to reside in Canada Do not have to prove intent to reside in Canada; cannot lose citizenship for planning to reside somewhere else once you obtain citizenship Requires promise of intent to reside in Canada once citizenship is obtained Do not have to prove intent to reside in Canada; cannot lose citizenship for planning to reside somewhere else once you obtain citizenship.
Fast-tracking citizenship   Members of the military can apply for citizenship after having served for 3 years Everyone could apply for citizenship after living in Canada for 3 out of 4 years
Passing on citizenship for children born abroad   Children born to Canadian military members abroad, as well as Canadian diplomats abroad can pass on citizenship to their children born abroad Only one generation can pass citizenship to its children if born abroad
Minors Allow minors the right to apply for citizenship without parents by removing age requirement under 5(1) If the parents are rejected, the minor child would be as well.  
Stateless Statelessness has been added as a stand-alone ground that can be considered for a discretionary grant of citizenship The Minister has the discretion to grant citizenship to a person to alleviate cases of special and unusual hardship, or to reward services of an exceptional value to Canada  
Disability The requirement to take into consideration reasonable measures to accommodate the needs of a citizenship applicant who is a disabled person is now included in the Citizenship Act The Department has reasonable measures to accommodate the needs of citizenship applicants. However, there was no explicit reference to accommodate persons with disabilities in the Citizenship Act  

If your Canadian citizenship application has been refused, Cougar Immigration can seek to judicially review that decision before the Federal Court within 30 days of the refusal.

Cougar has represented clients in many judicial review applications, and have experience developing strategies for overcoming the refusal of your citizenship application. Cougar can assist in the appeal of the decision to revoke your citizenship, and advise you on the proper appeal route to pursue (either administrative or through Judicial review in court).

Grounds for the rejection of your citizenship application may include, but are not limited to:

  • A charge or a conviction of an indictable criminal offence occurring 3 years before the application;
  • Not meeting your residency requirements;
  • The revocation of your Canadian citizenship in the previous 5 years;
  • A conviction or investigations for war crimes during your application;
  • Being in custody, on parole, on probation, or under a removal order during the application.
  • Misrepresentation;
  • Participation in terroristic groups; and/or
  • Conviction for war crimes and/or treason.

An appeal to the Federal Court can be made within 30 days of a negative decision and we commence the process by filing your Notice of Application.

Cougar can also help you resume your Canadian citizenship. To be eligible to you must live in Canada for at least one year as a permanent resident in the two years immediately before your application. You must also not be prohibited from resuming your citizenship or barred from resumption for reasons such as being in prison or being the subject of a removal order, among others. To determinate whether you qualify to resume your Canadian citizenship.

Please note, that specific rules also apply to individuals who lost their citizenship between 1947 and 1977. In that case, it is possible that the Canadian citizenship has automatically resumed. Immigration lawyers at Cougar can help you determine whether this may apply to your case.

Former Canadian citizens who willingly gave up their citizenship in the past can apply for resumption of Citizenship.

Our practitioners at Cougar can assist you by assessing your options to resume your Canadian citizenship. We will advocate on your behalf before Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada officials and ensure you receive strong representation.

You may be eligible for resumption of citizenship if:

  • You were formerly a Canadian Citizen,
  • You have now become a permanent resident; and
  • You have been physically present in Canada as a permanent resident for at least 365 days during the two years immediately before you apply.

You are not eligible for resumption of citizenship if:

  • Your citizenship was revoked
  • You have been convicted of an indictable offense under the Citizenship Act within the three years previous to your application
  • You are currently charged with an indictable offense;
  • You are in prison, on parole or on probation;
  • You are under a removal order; or
  • You are under investigation for a war crime or crimes against humanity

On June 21, 2017, the Canadian government passed An Act to amend the Citizenship Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act, SC 2017, c 14, bringing about significant changes to Canada’s citizenship revocation laws.

As a result Citizenship Revocation proceedings no longer apply to dual citizens living in Canada who have been convicted of treason, spying, and terrorism offenses. Instead, officials must utilize the Canadian criminal justice system.

The Minister may, however, still revoke citizenship on the grounds that the person obtained, retained, renounced, or resumed citizenship by false representation, fraud, or knowingly concealing material circumstances. But as per the Federal Court decision in Hassouna v. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, such an action demands an opportunity to be heard through an oral hearing on the basis of fairness. As such, this new law has repealed the previous administrative revocation process introduced in 2014 and replaced it with a new process that includes an automatic entitlement to a hearing before the Federal Court.

Provisions of Bill C-6 involving changes to the citizenship revocation process came into effect on February 5, 2018. Any individual whose case is subject to possible revocation now has the choice to request that the Minister decide, or to have their case heard and decided by the Federal Court. The revocation process will also now include an additional step, where Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship officials review case submissions and decide whether or not to continue to proceed with revocation before it is referred to the Federal Court for decision. Individuals who request to have the Minister decide, may seek leave to judicially review the Minister’s decision at the Federal Court.

Cougar can help you respond to and appeal your citizenship revocation. We have experience handling such cases, and will assist you by communicating with Citizenship Officials, representing you to the Minister or before a Federal Court judge, and defending your interests.

Cougar will ensure you receive effective and strong representation. We will examine the details of your case to determine whether the decision was unreasonable or whether there was a breach of procedural fairness. We will advance strong grounds of appeal to the Minister or before the Court, arguing that your case should be sent back for re-determination by a different Citizenship official.

To discuss how we can assist you with appealing your citizenship revocation, please contact our office to set up a consultation to speak to one of our immigration and refugee lawyers.