How do I apply for Canadian Citizenship?

To apply for citizenship, you must meet certain eligibility criteria and complete an application.

Eligibility Criteria

In order to apply for Canadian citizenship you must:

  • Be over 18 years of age
  • Provide proof that you know how to speak and write in 1 of Canada's official languages (either English or French)
  • Be a Permanent Resident (PR)
  • Have lived in Canada as a PR for at least 3 years out of the 5 years before you apply
  • Have filed your taxes for at least 3 years during the last 5 years and any income tax you may owe must be paid
  • Apply for citizenship from within Canada

IRCC will return your application as incomplete if you do not send acceptable proof that you have adequate knowledge of English or French. Learn more about the language requirements for citizenship on the IRCC website.

If you are or have been a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, you may be eligible for a fast-track application process.

You can use the Residence Calculator to find out if you have been in Canada long enough as a PR to apply for citizenship. If you have not been in Canada long enough, it will tell you when you will be eligible to apply.

A parent, adoptive parent or legal guardian must apply for anyone under 18 years of age. The applicant must be a Canadian citizen or be applying to become a Canadian citizen. Minors do not need to meet the residency requirement.

If one of your parents was a Canadian citizen when you were born, depending on when you were born, you may already be a citizen. If that is true, to be recognized as a Canadian citizen you need to apply for proof of citizenship.

You cannot become a Canadian citizen if you have recently been or are in prison, on parole or probation, are serving a conditional sentence or have been charged or convicted of an indictable crime. If you are under a deportation order, you also cannot apply.

Read more information about citizenship eligibility on IRCC's website.

Application Process

  • Download and fill out the forms in the Canadian Citizen Application Package for both you and your children.
  • Include all supporting documents.
  • Pay the application fee.
  • Mail your application to the Centralized Intake Office (CIO) in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Visit the IRCC website for more information about processing times.

Visit our Discussion Forum to post your questions and read about others' experiences in the citizenship application process.

Do I have to write the test?

If your application is accepted you have to write a citizenship test. Children under 18 years of age and persons 54 and over do not have to write the citizenship test. Find out more in How can I prepare for the citizenship test?

Why am I being asked for fingerprints?

You may be asked to provide fingerprints and/or court documents when you apply for citizenship. This is to make sure that you are not prohibited under the Citizenship Act.

If any of the questions in Section 7 of the application applies to you, you will be asked to provide more information.

If you are concerned, call the IRCC Call Centre for more information about your situation at 1-888-242-2100.

For More Information

  • Canadian Citizenship - Information from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada on Canadian citizenship.
  • How to Become a Canadian Citizen - IRCC webpage explaining the citizenship application process and eligibility requirements.
  • IRCC Help Centre - A tool that helps answer frequently asked questions on immigration matters. It offers several ways of searching through the information available, including search by keyword. From Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
  • Fingerprinting Services - Information from IRCC about fingerprinting services for citizenship applicants.
Last updated: June 20, 2017 4000342