I recently submitted my Canadian citizenship application online after I met the eligibility requirements and I’m sharing my experience with the process in this post.
The Canadian citizenship application was a straightforward process that wasn’t complicated and only took a few days once I collated all the documents required.
What Are the Requirements for Getting Citizenship in Canada?
To apply for Canadian citizenship, you must meet the following requirements:-
- Be a permanent resident of Canada
- Have lived in Canada for 3 out of the last 5 years
- Filed taxes every year if required
- Provide proof of your language skills
There may also be additional requirements depending on your immigration status. You can check your eligibility to apply for Canadian citizenship HERE.
Canadian Citizenship Application Process
I started gathering my documents for the application early this year and collating them in a separate folder on my computer.
It didn’t take as much work as I thought it would and of course, I was psyched to find out I could submit the application online!
Once, I’d confirmed eligibility, I headed over to the Canadian citizenship application page to set up an account.
After confirming my email address, I was able to log on and start submitting my application. The following pages are available on the online application:-
- Personal info
- Contact info
- Residence and tax info
- Work and school info
- Language proof
- Photo and ID
- Fee receipt
You can download a full document checklist here to help with your prep work.
After filling and uploading all required information, there’s a “Review and submit” page to check for errors or any missing information.
While completing my application, there was a slight moment of panic when I thought I’d lost my IELTS certificate but eventually managed to locate it.
If you no longer have the certificate, you can contact IELTS to get another one or a record. However, you can also provide proof of your knowledge of English or French in other ways.
For instance, a secondary or post-secondary certificate, diploma, or transcript in English or French is acceptable as proof.
Anyway, once I’d uploaded all the required documents and checked status was OK, I went ahead and submitted the application and then downloaded a copy of the application.
How Long Does Canadian Citizenship Application Take?
As of Oct 2023, the processing time for citizenship applications has dropped to 17 months after they confirm you’ve submitted all the required information!
That’s a big improvement from the earlier stated 27 months processing time when I submitted my application.
A link is provided to track the progress of your application but you can only use this link after you’ve received an AOR (acknowledgment of receipt).
How Much Does Canadian Citizenship Application Cost?
The cost of the Canadian citizenship application is $630 (processing fee + right of citizenship fee) for each person over 18.
An additional cost of $100 per person for any dependents under 18 also applies. You can view current citizenship application fees HERE.
Can I Leave Canada While Waiting for Citizenship?
Yes, you can. That was one of the first things I checked before I submitted the application.
However, you must still meet the residency requirements (3 out of 5 years) while waiting for the processing of your citizenship application.
Of course, you must also make sure your PR card doesn’t expire while you are outside Canada. You can view all the conditions to note HERE.
And keep in mind if you’re required to attend an interview or you’re scheduled for the oath or something else, you will have to return to Canada immediately.
I believe there are exceptions where you may be able to do these things while outside Canada but this will likely be on a case-by-case basis.
Canadian Citizenship Test
This is the next step after your application is processed. To pass the Canadian citizenship test, you’ll need to get up to speed on some information.
While waiting for your application to be processed, you can study for the citizenship test.
The test comprises 20 questions about the rights and responsibilities of Canadians and Canada’s history, geography, economy, etc.
All the citizenship test questions come from Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship.
The guide is available to read online, listen to, download, or order. I wanted a hard copy for my library so I put in a request for it.
It’s free to order from the IRCC in French and English. Shipping is also free. I ordered it online HERE.
The guide arrived less than 2 weeks later and I’m now going through it every few days or so.
You can also take Canadian Citizenship practice tests online. As of April this year, all citizenship tests are online.
Canadian Citizenship Application Timeline
- Application submitted – April 2022
- Acknowledgment of Receipt (AOR) – May 2022 (further updates below)
- Citizenship test – Nov 2022 (further updates below)
- Notice to appear for interview – Sept 2023 (further updates below)
- Oath of citizenship – Oct 2023 (further updates below)
- Passport application – Oct 2023 (further updates below)
FAQs About Canadian Citizenship Application
Can I Apply For Canadian Citizenship After 3 Years?
You can apply for Canadian citizenship after 3 years as long as you meet the residency requirements (3 out of 5 years) and other requirements outlined above.
3 out of 5 years is approximately 1,095 days. You can use the physical presence calculator to confirm if you meet the residency requirements.
What is the Physical Presence Calculator?
The physical presence calculator helps you find out if you have been physically present in Canada long enough to meet citizenship application requirements.
You need to be present in Canada 1,095 days out of the past 5 years preceding your citizenship application to qualify.
The physical presence calculator is simple to use. Just answer a few questions and fill in any travels out of Canada for work or vacation.
When you submit, the physical presence calculator will let you know how many days you were in Canada and if you meet eligibility requirements.
You will then print the physical presence calculator results page and submit this along with your application.
It’s recommended to have several days’ buffer before submitting your application in case you miscalculated or something.
For instance, I calculated a few weeks after my original landing date just to be sure and had physical presence results of 1,130 days so I had a buffer of 35 days.
Can I Apply For Canadian Citizenship Online?
You can apply for Canadian citizenship online. However, not everyone qualifies for this. You can check the conditions for submitting a paper or online application HERE.
Can I Apply For Canadian Citizenship With Expired Passport?
If the passport you landed in Canada with has expired, you can still apply for Canadian citizenship as long as you meet the residency requirements.
You will need to provide an explanation while completing your citizenship application. And you should have a copy of the passport on hand.
It will still likely depend on your status in Canada though. In all cases, have copies of expired documents and valid explanations.
Where To Apply For Canadian Citizenship?
You can apply for Canadian citizenship online or on paper. You can download all the forms for citizenship application HERE.
Where To Send Canadian Citizenship Application?
If you’re sending in a paper application, you can send it via regular mail or courier mail.
Both are to be delivered to Nova Scotia but to different addresses. You can find the addresses HERE. Click on “Apply on paper”
Note, paper applications will likely be phased out soon so I’d recommend sticking to the online application unless your situation specifically calls for a paper application.
Good luck with your Canadian citizenship application!
How To Contact IRCC for Citizenship Applications?
During my application process, there was a request that I complied with but my dashboard still read as pending long afterwards. This made me nervous so I went looking for the right number to call IRCC.
The number to call IRCC about your citizenship application is (1)-888-242-2100. I called early in the morning and followed the voice prompts.
I was on hold for less than 10 minutes before someone answered and checked my application. She said the documents had been received, everything was fine and to ignore the pending message.
My Canadian Citizenship Application Updates
Even though the timeline says 27 months, as you can see below, I received an update after 7 months so hopefully, they’re working their way through the backlog as quickly as possible.
- April 2022 – Completed and submitted Canadian citizenship application.
- May 2022 – Received an AOR and a few weeks later, received a link to set up an account where I can track application status and updates. This can only be done after you receive an AOR. Updates are shown as “in progress”.
- November 2022
- Received a request for additional information.
- Received fingerprint request for a criminal background check.
- Invitation to complete citizenship test online.
- December 2022
- Citizenship test completed and passed (19/20).
- Citizenship test marked complete after a week.
- Criminal background check completed and results received but tracker still showing as “in progress”.
- January 2023
- Everything except citizenship test still showing as “in progress”.
- March 2023
- Language skills and physical presence marked “complete”.
- April 2023
- Ghost update (GU) – a ghost update means someone is working on the application in the background but no updates are made to the pending items. It can be upsetting but the good news is there’s activity going on with your application.
- June 2023
- Background verification marked “complete”.
- August 2023
- Received notice to appear for an interview
- September 2023
- Interview with a citizenship official. Documents checked. There was confusion regarding the addresses I entered in my application. I got the impression this may have caused a delay with my application and was the reason for the interview request. Quadruple-check your application before submitting people!
- Everything except citizenship ceremony marked “complete”.
- October 2023
- Received notice to appear for the oath ceremony in person (was in a different country when this happened so had to sprint back to Canada to make the ceremony. I researched postponing the oath ceremony but in the end, I decided it wasn’t a good idea. I’d already waited 17 months and didn’t want to wait anymore).
- Became a Canadian citizen.
- Applied for a non-urgent passport at Service Canada (I was informed it would take up to five weeks to process).
- November 2023
- Received Canadian passport after three weeks!!!
Stay tuned for an upcoming post where I’ll be sharing a comprehensive breakdown of the financial investment required to become a Canadian citizen.
This will provide you with a detailed overview of the costs involved from the application stages to completion for a single individual!
Pin it for Later – My Canadian Citizenship Application Process 2023
Abi has lived and worked abroad for over 13 years. She loves traveling, reading, and writing. She is a big believer in following your dreams and has been marching to the beat of her unconventional drums for a long time. She funds her adventures by making smart financial decisions and investing wisely. Her top personal finance tools include trading with Questrade, investing change on MOKA, and no-fee banking with Tangerine and Neo Financial. Learn more about Abi HERE.
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