Immigrants from all over the world come to Canada holding various statuses, such as students and temporary workers. For many of these immigrants, becoming a Canadian citizen and gaining access to the same rights and privileges that Canadian citizens enjoy is the goal after migrating to Canada. However, obtaining Canadian citizenship is not easy, and becoming a citizen can often be a lengthy, complex process for many aspiring citizens.

Becoming a Canadian Citizen

Obtaining Canadian citizenship is not a uniform process as there are several ways to become a Canadian citizen. The particular route that an individual must follow will depend on their unique circumstances.

Citizenship by birth

One way to become a Canadian citizen is by birth. In the majority of cases, if an individual is born in Canada they are considered to be a Canadian citizen. Children of immigrants that are born in Canada are considered to be Canadian citizens, even if their birth parents do not have status in Canada as citizens. 

Citizenship by descent

It is for people born outside of Canada to become a Canadian citizen by descent. This requires at least one of a child’s parents to have either been born in Canada or have been naturalized in Canada before the child was born. Citizenship by descent is only available to the first generation of children who are born outside of Canada to a Canadian citizen. Applying for Proof of Citizenship can help an individual obtain evidence of their status as a citizen. If approved, they will be issued a citizenship certificate. 

Citizenship through immigration 

Individuals who immigrate to Canada and are granted permanent resident status can apply for their Canadian citizenship once they have satisfied various requirements. To become a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident must have lived in Canada for at least 1,095 days out of the previous five years when submitting the citizenship application. The applicant will also be asked to demonstrate that they have sufficient skills in French or English, and will be required to pass a citizenship test. This test is designed to assess an applicant’s knowledge of Canada, its history and laws, and the applicant’s understanding of the rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship.

Once an individual has met all of the necessary requirements and their citizenship application has been approved, they will be invited to attend a citizenship ceremony. The new citizen will be required to take the oath of citizenship, in which they pledge their loyalty to Canada and its laws. 

Dual Citizenship 

A person is considered to hold “dual citizenship” when they are a citizen of two countries simultaneously. A dual citizen is often afforded major benefits, which can include maintaining a passport in two countries and entitlement to the rights and privileges that are afforded to citizens of each respective country. However, dual citizenship can also have drawbacks, particularly if a person has obligations to both countries, such as tax payments. 

Canadians and Dual Citizenship

Since 1977, Canada has recognized multiple citizenships for Canadian citizens and dual citizenship amongst Canadian citizens is becoming more common. In 2021, over 11% of Canada’s citizens reported having more than one country of citizenship. 

Limitations on Dual Citizenship

Dual citizenship between Canada and another country is not always possible. Although Canada allows for dual citizenship, some countries do not. This means when someone from a country that does not support dual citizenship with Canada wants to become a Canadian citizen, they must give up citizenship in their old country. 

Some of the countries that Canadians citizens can hold dual citizenship with include: 

  • France;
  • Nigeria;
  • Pakistan;
  • Philippines; 
  • United States; and
  • United Kingdom

However, there are several countries which do not allow their citizens to hold dual citizenship with another country, such as:

  • China;
  • Germany;
  • India;
  • Japan; and 
  • Saudi Arabia.

Contact Garson Immigration Law for Guidance on Immigrating to Canada and Advice on Obtaining Canadian Citizenship

The application process to obtain Canadian citizenship requires careful planning and attention to detail. It is important for individuals seeking to immigrate to Canada to fully understand the process and requirements they must fulfil before beginning the process. With the help of a qualified immigration professional, the process of becoming a Canadian citizen can be streamlined and rewarding.

Garson Immigration Law is a firm dedicated to helping individuals navigate the uncertainties associated with immigration law. The immigration lawyers at Garson Immigration Law have extensive experience assisting clients at each stage of the immigration process. If you have questions regarding your immigration application or are seeking guidance on your path to Canadian citizenship, contact our trusted team online or call us at 416-321-2860.

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