What does it mean to be a Canadian citizen?

Citizenship means working together with all other Canadians to build a stronger Canada, and making sure our values, dreams and goals are reflected in our institutions, laws and relations with one another. After living in Canada for at least three years as a permanent resident, you have the right to apply for Canadian citizenship. Canada is a country that:

- is free and democratic;

- is multicultural;

- has two official languages; and

- extends equal treatment to all its citizens.

What are the rights and responsibilities of a citizen?

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms sets out the democratic rights and fundamental freedoms of all Canadians. Some rights are essential for Canadian citizens:

- the right to vote or to be a candidate in federal and provincial elections;

- the right to enter, remain in or leave Canada;

- the right to earn a living and reside in any province or territory;

- minority language education rights (English or French); and

- the right to apply for a Canadian passport.

Canadian citizenship also implies the following responsibilities:

- to obey Canada's laws;

- to vote in the federal, provincial and municipal elections;

- to discourage discrimination and injustice;

- to respect the rights of others;

- to respect public and private property; and

- to support Canada's ideals in building the country we all share.

Who is entitled to apply for Canadian citizenship?

You can apply for Canadian citizenship if you:

- are at least 18 years of age;

- have been a legal permanent resident in Canada for three out of the previous four years;

- can communicate in English or French; and

- have knowledge of Canada, including the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

Who cannot become a Canadian citizen?

You may not be eligible to become a Canadian citizen if you:

- are under a deportation order and are not currently allowed to be in Canada;

- are in prison, on parole or on probation; and

- have been charged or convicted of an indictable offence.

Could you be a Canadian citizen and not know it?

In most cases, you are a Canadian citizen if you were born:

- in Canada, or

- in another country, after February 15, 1977, and have one Canadian parent.

For more information, telephone the Call Centre:

In Montreal: (514) 496-1010
In Toronto: (416) 973-4444
In Vancouver: (604) 666-2171
For all other areas:

How do you apply for Canadian citizenship?

If you meet the requirements for Canadian citizenship, you can get an "Application for Citizenship' form from the Call Centre.

After you have filled out the application form, follow the instructions provided. You must include the application fee and necessary documents with your application form. You will have to take a test to show that you meet the requirements for knowledge of Canada and either English or French. Study the information in the booklet A Look at Canada which will be sent to you with the acknowledgment of your application.

If you meet the basic requirements for citizenship, you will be invited to a citizenship ceremony where you will take the oath and receive your citizenship certificate.

What is dual citizenship?

Dual or plural citizenship means holding citizenship in one or more countries in addition to Canada.

Canada has recognized dual citizenship since 1977. This means that, in some cases, you may become a Canadian citizen while remaining a citizen of another country.

Some countries will not allow their citizens to keep their citizenship if they become citizens of another country. You should check with the embassy or consulate of your country of origin to be sure of their rules and laws.

Where should you go for more information about Canadian citizenship?

If you are in Canada, telephone the Call Centre.
Outside Canada, contact a Canadian embassy or consulate.




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Migration to Canada
I An Introduction I Health I Housing I Welfare Schemes I Your Rights & Duties