Changes to the Canadian Citizenship Act

The Canadian Citizenship Act has recently changed due to Bill C-24 - Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has made a number of changes to the Citizenship Act due to Bill C-24. This chart shows the new changes currently in practice compared to the previous.

The former Citizenship requirements

Changes to the Citizenship Act now in effect

The old residency requirements require you to be:

  • Living in Canada for 3 out of 4 years (1,095 days) for citizenship eligibility;
  • No requirement that you be physically present.

In addition, you:

  • Can count time spent as a non-permanent resident (non-PR) toward residence for citizenship;
  • Do not need to prove that you “intend to reside” in Canada.

The new residency requirements require you to be:

  • Living in Canada for 4 years (1,460 days) out of 6 years for citizenship eligibility;
  • Physically present in Canada for 183 days (minimum) per year in 4 out of 6 years.

In addition, you:

  • Cannot count time spent as a non-permanent resident (non-PR) toward residence for citizenship;
  • Must prove that you “intend to reside” in Canada.

Citizenship applicants ages 18–54:

  • Must meet language requirements and pass knowledge test; upper age limit of 54 currently established by policy, not in legislation;
  • May use an interpreter to meet the knowledge requirement.

Citizenship applicants ages 14-64

  • Must meet language requirements, and pass the citizenship test;
  • Must meet knowledge requirement in English or French (cannot use an interpreter).

Read about the new age requirements.

“Lost Canadians” are people who were not granted citizenship due to changes in the law. If you are a Lost Canadian, you may or may not have had your citizenship restored in 2009.

If you are a Lost Canadian born before 1947, you and your 1st generation children born abroad will be granted Canadian citizenship.

If you are an immigration consultant:

  • You are not required to be registered or regulated in order to represent people in citizenship matters;
  • There are few repercussions to deter you from fraud and tools to ensure the integrity of your programs;
Fines and penalties for fraud are a maximum of $1,000 and/or one year in prison.

If you are an immigration consultant, the amended Act:

  • Defines who is an authorized representative
  • Develops regulations to designate a regulatory body. The members would be authorized to act as consultants in citizenship matters;
  • Can refuse your applicant for fraud;
Sets fines and penalties for fraud at a maximum of $100,000 and/or five years in prison.

The Governor in Council (GIC) makes the final decision to grant citizenship on a discretionary basis.

The Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Minister can decide to grant citizenship on a discretionary basis.

The Act does not define what a complete citizenship application is.

The amended Act defines what a complete citizenship application is what evidence you must provide when applying.

There is a 3-step decision-making process to decide on whether to accept your citizenship application.

There is a 1-step decision-making process to decide on whether to accept your citizenship application.

View the infographic.

Read about the new one-step process.

You are not required to file Canadian income taxes to be eligible for citizenship.

You must file Canadian income taxes to be eligible for citizenship.

If you have domestic criminal charges and convictions, you cannot get Canadian citizenship.

If you have domestic and/or foreign criminal charges and convictions you cannot get Canadian citizenship.

The Governor in Council (GIC) makes the final decision about whether to revoke your citizenship.

The Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Minister can revoke your citizenship, if it is a routine case.

The Federal Court decides whether to revoke your citizenship, if it is a complex case (e.g. war crimes, crimes against humanity, security, other  human or international rights violations, and organized criminality).

 

You cannot have your citizenship revoked for acts against Canada’s national interest.

Your citizenship can be revoked or denied if you are:

  • A dual citizen, or a PR in Canada; AND,
  • A member of an armed force or an organized armed group engaged in armed conflict with Canada; AND/OR,
  • Convicted of terrorism, high treason, treason, or spying offences, depending on the sentence received.

If you are a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, there is no fast-track citizenship process for you to apply for.

If you are a PR serving with, or on exchange with, the Canadian Armed Forces, you can apply for citizenship under a fast-track process.

If you were a member of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) or a foreign military member who is/was attached or seconded to the CAF, you can apply for citizenship under a fast-track citizenship process.

Read more about the fast-track process.

Last updated: June 12, 2015.