The Government of Canada today announced that its long awaited changes to Canadian citizenship requirements will take effect on October 11, 2017.
Here are some key changes that you should know about.
1. The amount of time that a permanent resident must spend in Canada before being eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship is decreasing.
Currently, permanent residents have to have been physically present in Canada for four out of six years before applying for Canadian citizenship. As of October 11, 2017 applicants will instead need to be physically present in Canada for three out of five years before applying for citizenship.
As well, permanent residents will no longer be required to be physically present in Canada for 183 days in four out of the six years preceding their application.
2. Physical presence will continue to be the test for meeting the citizenship residency requirement.
Prior to 2014, it was possible for permanent residents who were not physically present in Canada but who had substantial ties to Canada to meet the citizenship residency requirement.
In 2014, Canada’s citizenship law was changed so that only the days that a permanent resident was physically present in Canada counted towards the residency requirement. This will continue to be the requirement after October 11, 2017.
3. Part of the time that a permanent resident spent in Canada as a visitor, worker or student can now count towards the citizenship residency requirement.
Currently, time spent in Canada prior to becoming a permanent resident does not count towards the physical presence requirement for citizenship.
As of October 17, 2017, applicants may count each day they were physically present in Canada as a temporary resident (such as a worker, visitor or student) or protected person, before becoming a permanent resident, as a half-day toward meeting the physical presence requirement for citizenship, up to a maximum credit of 365 days, within five years preceding the date of application.
4. The age exemptions to knowing English / French and writing a language test are increasing.
Currently, applicants between 14 and 64 years have to meet the language and knowledge requirements for citizenship.
As of October 11, 2017, applicants between 18 and 54 years must meet the language and knowledge requirements for citizenship.
More information about the changes to Canada’s citizenship residency requirements can be found here.