If you were born in Canada then citizenship is your birth right and you are afforded the full rights and protection a Citizen can have. For many others, like me, Canadian Citizenship is something to aim for and hopefully earn. If you are fortunate to be given a permanent residency visa for Canada you do not automatically become a citizen. You are not entitled to vote in Federal elections, do not have a Canadian Passport and you most definitely CAN be deported for serious criminal behaviour.
There are strict guidelines to be adhered to in the process and once accepted you will have to sear the oath of citizenship at a public ceremony. These may even take place each year on Canada Day (July 1st) with a public dignitary making the presentation.
To start the application process you must:
Be a permanent resident of Canada at least 18 years old.
Have lived in Canada for at least 3 of the previous 4 years and be able to communicate in either English or French.
Know about Canada and the rights and responsibilities of Canadian Citizenship.
Any time spent in Canada before you were a permanent resident may count towards your total and children under 18 don’t have to fulfill the 3 year requirement. You can apply on behalf of your kids but they do have to be permanent residents too.
The application fee will cost $200.00 for each adult and $100.00 for each child so it can soon mount up for a family. This is subject to change so please check the official Canadian Citizenship website to ensure accuracy.
You will be refused citizenship if you fail to meet the previous requirements or if you:
Have had your citizenship revoked during the last 5 years or are under a removal order.
Have been convicted of, or charged with an indictable criminal offence during the last 3 years.
Are being investigated for or convicted of war crimes.
Are now in prison, on parole or probation.
If your application is successful, you will have to sit the Canadian Citizenship test (if you are between the ages of 18 and 59). You will have to study for it and some people take classes. There are several online study guides – the Government produce a free booklet A Look at Canada that holds all the information the test is based on. This will be sent to you once you have sent in your application.
Once you have sat the test and passed it and all other criteria have been met you may be asked to attend an interview. The timeline for the processing of a successful application for Canadian citizenship can exceed 12 – 18 months so do be aware of this and be ready for the wait!
The Ceremony itself is very formal as it is a major event to be given Canadian Citizenship and you will receive a Citizens card and certificate. The oath you (and any children 14 or over) will have to swear is:
I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful
and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty
Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada,
Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully
observe the laws of Canada
and fulfill my duties as a Canadian Citizen.
Make sure you are comfortable swearing allegiance to the British Queen before you begin the process as there are no exceptions.
Once you are a citizen you do gain some significant benefits, however, you also have obligations to fulfill in the way you act towards fellow Canadians and to observe the laws of the country.
Good luck with your application – for more, detailed information and great links please visit http://www.onestopimmigration-canada.com/canadian_citizenship.html
Dave Lympany arrived with his family in Canada during 2003 and has produced an exceptional information resource for Canada and Canadian Immigration at http://www.onestopimmigration-canada.com