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Canadian Citizenship – Update

Following the recent amendments to the Citizenship Act that came into effect on June 19, 2017, the Government of Canada has confirmed that additional amendments will be coming into effect on October 11, 2017, further easing the criteria to apply for Canadian citizenship. The government announced today (October 4, 2017) a ‘significant milestone in implementing changes to the Citizenship Act through the adoption of Bill C-6’. Specifically, we understand that:

  • The age range in which applicants must meet the language and knowledge requirement to be granted Canadian citizenship will be reduced from ages 14 to 64 to between ages 18 and 54;

  • The requirement to be physically present in Canada prior to applying for citizenship will be reduced to 3 out of 5 years from the current requirement of 4 out of 6 years. Additionally, applicants will no longer have to be physically present in Canada for 183 days during 4 out of the 6 years preceding their application, as this provision will be repealed.

  • Applicants will also be able to count each day they were physically present in Canada as temporary residents (for instance: study permit and work permit holders) before becoming permanent residents as half-days towards meeting their physical presence requirement for citizenship, up to a maximum 365-day credit, within five years preceding the date of their application.

  • The requirement to file Canadian Income taxes, if required under the Income Tax Act, will be reduced to 3 out of 5 years from the current requirement of 4 out of 6 years prior to applying for citizenship.

These changes to the physical presence assessment and the age required to meet language and knowledge requirements for those applying for Canadian Citizenship will come into effect on October 11, 2017. Applicants who meet the new requirements must wait until October 11, 2017, before applying for Citizenship however as the new Forms and Guides will not be available in advance of the changes.

Further changes to the Citizenship Act are expected to take effect in late 2017 and 2018.

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This update has been compiled with the latest available information for the general information of Border Law clients and other interested parties. This Update is not comprehensive and should not be relied upon without appropriate legal advice.


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