September 6, 2023
How to Become a Canadian Citizen
Many nationalities highly covet Canadian citizenship due to a number of benefits. A Canadian citizen can enjoy access to many social services, education, healthcare, and the right to unrestricted work and residency on the Canadian territory. There are various ways of obtaining Canadian citizenship, including by birth, descent, naturalization, or the Startup Visa program. All these routes are linked with the necessity to meet specific eligibility criteria. In most cases, applicants must pass a language proficiency test and fulfill residency requirements.
A person who has managed to acquire Canadian citizenship can take another step, i.e., applying for a Canadian passport, one of the strongest passports around the globe. With a passport from Canada, one can visit over 180 countries without a visa or with a visa issued on arrival.
Let’s take a closer look at the main routes of getting citizenship in Canada and the benefits that make this entire procedure worthwhile.
Main routes of getting Canadian citizenship
There are a few routes that you can choose when planning to obtain Canadian residence or citizenship. Depending on the selected application route, you may need to meet different requirements. The main routes include the following:
Canadian citizenship by birth
Canada is one of these countries that adhere to the right of soil, which in practice means that anyone born on Canadian soil automatically becomes a Canadian citizen by birth. To become a Canadian citizen by birth, an individual:
- must be born in Canada;
- cannot have been born into a family of foreign diplomats or others who are not subject to Canadian law.
Canadian citizenship by descent
To be classified as Canadian by descent, an individual must have been born outside the Canadian territory to at least one parent being a citizen of Canada. To apply for Canadian citizenship by descent, an applicant must meet all of the eligibility criteria, including:
- To have a minimum of one parent who is a Canadian citizen at the applicant’s birth
- To submit proof confirming the Canadian citizenship of at least one parent
- The person who wishes to apply for Canadian citizenship must not have renounced it in the past
- Other additional application requirements must be met, including language proficiency skills and criminal record check
Note: Canada does not allow second-generation descendants to inherit citizenship. The right to acquire citizenship by ancestry is limited to only the first generation.
Canadian citizenship by naturalization
Another way to become a citizen of Canada is by naturalization. This route is dedicated to permanent Canadian residents who wish to become Canadian citizens. The naturalization route involves meeting specific criteria such as language skills, stay, and residency requirements.
Also, all applicants must pass a citizenship test. The entire procedure is quite time-consuming and may take even one year. Applicants need to submit various documents, such as a certificate confirming their permanent residency, a language certificate, and many more.
How to move to Canada
Depending on the reason why you wish to move to Canada, your way to obtain all required documents may differ. If you are considering permanent settlement in Canada, you should apply through the Express Entry Pool to receive the decision within around 6 months.
Other most popular routes of becoming a Canadian resident are:
- Start-up Visa: Move to Canada to start a business
- Family sponsorship: Be sponsored by your relative and immigrate to Canada
- Caregiver: Provide care for children, elderly, or persons with medical needs and live in Canada
- Refugee: Immigrate to Canada as a refugee or become a sponsor
How to move to Canada from the USA
If you are a US citizen or a person currently residing in the States who plans to move to Canada, you may need to meet various requirements. Generally, in most cases, you will have to obtain a Canadian visa or permanent residency in Canada. Additionally, you may need to meet language and education requirements as well as pass a medical examination.
One of the easiest ways to move to Canada from the USA is through the Canadian Express Entry system. The system was introduced to process most of the applications of international immigrants willing to apply for one of the country’s economic immigration schemes. These schemes include the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FST), and Canadian Experience Class (CEC).
Benefits of getting Canadian citizenship
Having Canadian citizenship offers many benefits that can significantly improve your quality of life. Among the most essential advantages of Canadian citizenship are
- Right to vote: As a Canadian citizen, you will have the right to vote in elections at all levels while having your voice in shaping the future of the Canadian country.
- Freedom of travel: As a holder of one of the most powerful passports in the world, it is your ticket to traveling freedom, allowing visa-free (or VoA) entry to more than 180 different countries.
- Access to health care: Another privilege of being a Canadian citizen is access to a free or subsidized health care system.
- Education and job opportunities: Canadian citizens can also enjoy access to quality education with various financing options that can help with educational expenses. They can then also pursue careers through a wide range of employment opportunities in various sectors and industries.
- Sponsoring family members: Once you’ve succeeded in becoming a Canadian citizen, the next step is to sponsor your relatives who meet the eligibility criteria to one day become permanent residents or citizens of Canada.