Canadian citizenship is imparted upon those who are born in Canada and, since April 16, 2009, on the first generation of children born outside of Canada to a Canadian parent. Thus, a child born to a Canadian citizen outside of Canada will be a citizen as long as their parent was born in Canada, or was naturalized as a Canadian citizen. Naturalization refers to the process whereby Canadian permanent residents become citizens after adhering to the required residency requirement and successfully applying for citizenship.
Requirements for Naturalized Citizenship
Before any immigrant can apply for citizenship in Canada, they must have attained permanent residence status. They must be 18 years of age and have lived in Canada as a permanent resident for at least 1095 days (3 years) in the 4 years prior to their application. An adequate knowledge of French or English is also required and all applicants must be able to demonstrate that they can understand when people are speaking to them, understand what is being said, and respond.
Further requirements include adequate knowledge of Canada and the responsibilities of her citizens. They will be required to pass a citizenship test based on the contents of a special Discover Canada guide designed to introduce immigrants and potential citizens to the country.
Finally, hopeful citizens must not be under a removal order from the government or criminally prohibited from becoming a citizen. Residents who have committed certain crimes in Canada may not be eligible to apply for citizenship for a specific amount of time. If they are determined to be a security risk they will not be granted citizenship.
The permanent resident children of parents applying for citizenship will also be imparted citizenship at the same time, whether or not they are meeting the residency requirement, if they are under the age of 18. Children under 18 do not need to pass the language test requirements or the knowledge of Canada test. Children under the age of 14 do not need to make the oath of citizenship.
If applicants meet all of these requirements, they will most likely be approved. Once approved for citizenship, they will be invited to participate in a ceremony and take the oath of citizenship.
It should be noted that the Citizenship Act was amended in June 2014 and stricter requirements were passed into law. However, the government has delayed implementation of the new rules until June 2015.