Becoming a Canadian citizen

Obtaining Canadian citizenship is an accomplishment and a new beginning. It is also taking part in a Canadian heritage with rich cultural diversity.


If you are of legal age and a permanent resident of Canada, you could apply for Canadian citizenship. However, you must meet certain criteria.

Adults and certain minor children must demonstrate that they have lived in Canada for a minimum of three years (1095 days) out of the last 5 years prior to the date they sign their citizenship application.

It is better to spend more than 1095 days in Canada before submitting your citizenship application to ensure that you fully meet this requirement and to avoid issues with the calculation of days.

In order to demonstrate your language skills, you must speak and be able to understand one of Canada’s two official languages: either French or English.

Language skills are measured either by examining the evidence submitted in the citizenship application such as certificates, diplomas and tests; or by assessing your ability to communicate during a discussion with a citizenship official during an interview.

To become a Canadian citizen, you will need to meet the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) Level 4 or more in one of the official languages of Canada (French or English). In practical terms, this means that you need to be able to:

  • Take part in everyday conversations about common topics;
  • Understand simple instructions, questions and directions;
  • Use basic grammar, including simple structures and tenses;
  • demonstrate that you know enough common expressions and words to answer questions and express yourself.

Applicants for citizenship aged 18 and 54 must pass a citizenship test. They will be asked 20 questions about the rights and responsibilities of Canadians, as well as topics related to Canada’s history, geography, economy, government, laws and symbols. 

The exam can be passed in French or English and lasts 30 minutes. It has 20 questions and the pass mark is 15 out of 20 (15 correct answers). The exam includes multiple-choice and true or false question. It is based on the official Discover Canada study guide that you will need to read and study before the exam. The exam is usually written, but may be oral in some cases.

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