I was going through some of the stuff in my small office at home when I saw the Discover Canada booklet that Citizen Immigration Canada (CIC) has sent to me together with the letter of acknowledgment that we received in March 2013.
It has been one year and 7 months since my family and I submitted our application for citizenship… when I last visited Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s website, I noticed that there has been some changes in the application process, most specifically the language proficiency and other documentary requirements and of course I won’t fail to notice the higher application fee.
I am thankful that I immediately processed my family’s application immediately after we met the residency requirement, otherwise I will have to deal with the additional documentary requirements that is now in place – and I need to pay additional amount that is double the the total amount of the application fee that we paid when we submitted our application in October 2012.
As I always do, I am sharing with you some information that will be useful to all other immigrants in Canada like me who are considering changing their citizenship to becoming a Canadian Citizen.
To be eligible to become a Canadian citizen, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has enumerated six (6) conditions that the applicant must meet, these areas include the following:
- AGE. The applicant must be at least 18 years of age to apply. Parent, adoptive parent or legal guardian of applicants who are under 18 may apply in behalf of the child, provided that one of the parents is a Canadian citizen or apply to become a citizen at the same time and the child holds a permanent status in Canada.
- PERMANENT RESIDENT STATUS (PR). The applicant must hold a PR status in Canada and must not be in questioned which mean that the applicant’s status must not be under review for immigration or fraud reasons or under a removal order.
- RESIDENCY IN CANADA. An applicant must have resided in Canada for at least three years (1,095 days) in the past four years before he/she can apply, (this condition does not apply to children under 18.) When counting the time that a person has lived in Canada only the four (4) years preceding the date of the application are taken into account; each day that the applicant has lived in Canada before he/she became a permanent resident counts as half a day while each day that he/she lived in Canada after he/she became a permanent resident counts as one day.
- LANGUAGE ABILITY. To become a citizen, the applicant must be able to prove that that he/she has an adequate knowledge of at least one of the two official languages in Canada – English and French. If the applicant is between 18 and 54, he/she must provide documents to prove that he can speak and listen in English or French.
- CRIMINAL HISTORY (Prohibitions). A person who is on probation or is charged with a crime and waiting for a trial, should wait until after the probation is done or his/her trial is over to apply to become a citizen. CIC has enumerated these prohibitions in its website.
- KNOWLEDGE ABOUT CANADA. To become a citizen of Canada, a person must understand the rights, responsibilities and privileges of citizenship, such as voting in elections and obeying the law. An applicant must be able to show that he/she understands Canada’s history, values, institutions and symbols, thus, the applicant will need to pass a written and/or oral knowledge test. Persons 55 years of age and over are exempted from having to meet the language and knowledge requirement.
To apply for citizenship, the applicant must fill out the Application for Canadian Citizenship. The applicant also needs to attach the photocopies of the following forms, information, documents and required fees, including postal codes for all Canadian and overseas addresses. If any of the following is missing, the application is considered incomplete and the application will be returned to the applicant:
Immigration documents. Immigration documents that prove your status as a permanent resident (landed immigrant) of Canada.
- Record of Landing (IMM 1000), or,
- Confirmation of Permanent Residence (IMM 5292 or IMM 5688) and
- Permanent Resident Card (PRC) if you have one
Language Proof if you are 18-54 years of age. Proof of completion of secondary or post-secondary education in French or English. Any of the following types of proof of language ability maybe submitted by an applicant:
- Results of a CIC-approved third-party test at the equivalent of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB/NCLC) must be level 4 and higher in speaking and listening skills. Test Results from Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program General Test (CELPIP-G), or International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or Test d’Évaluation de Français (TEF), Test d’Évaluation du Français adapté au Québec (TEFAQ).
- Proof of completion of secondary or post-secondary education in French or English which may be (1) a diploma or transcripts from a secondary or post-secondary school indicating the successful completion of a program, in Canada or abroad; or (2) a diploma or certificate from a secondary or post-secondary school indicating successful graduation, in Canada or abroad.
- Proof of achieving Canadian Language Benchmark/Niveau de compétence linguistique canadien (CLB/NCLC) level 4 or higher in speaking and listening skills through certain government-funded language training programs. Each provinces may have different language training centers, as for Manitoba, I went to Winnipeg English Language Assessment and Referral Centre (WELARC) wherein my listening, speaking, reading and writing skills were assessed through the Canadian Language Benchmarks Placement Test.
Biographical page of Passport(s)/Travel Document(s). This is the passport page where it has the name, photo, passport/travel document no., issue date and expiration date. Photocopies of the biographical pages of all passports and/or travel documents (valid and cancelled) for the relevant four (4) year period immediately preceding the date of the application must be provided by the applicant.
Education Records. Photocopies of all official education records must be provided if the applicant attended an educational institution in the four (4) years immediately before the date of the application. Official education records are: report cards; or transcripts; or attendance records.
Two (2) pieces of personal identification. The identification card that the applicant must provide should show the applicant’s name and date of birth, one of which must have the applicant’s photo on it. Examples of these are: (1) a Canadian driver’s license; (2) a Canadian health insurance card; (3) a copy of the biographical page of your passport/travel document, etc.
Payment Receipt. Receipt showing total payment of application fees for individual or family members applying together, payment may be made through Internet (receipt printed from Internet), or at a financial institution (Original form IMM 5401).
Effective February 6, 2014, the processing fee for adult grant (including adult adoption) and adult resumption applications has increased; processing fee for adults is $300 and $100 for each child under 18. An additional $100 Right of Citizenship Fee needs to be paid by each adult applicant. The processing fee is non-refundable once processing has begun, regardless of the final decision while the right of citizenship fee may be refunded should the application is refused.
Additional documents (as required). Possible documents that may be required includes:
- translations of documents that are not in English or French
- supporting documents to prove a name change
- supporting documents to prove a date of birth correction
Print out of the On-line Residence Calculator or How to calculate Residence (CIT 0407) form. Calculation of your residence fully completed, dated and signed. An applicant may be able to use the On-line Residence Calculator to calculate his/her Canada residency.
Photographs. Applicant needs to include two (2) identical citizenship photographs in his/her application package. The application will be returned if the applicant fails to include the two (2) photos that meet the citizenship photo specifications in his/her application.
Completed application form and documentary requirements, along with all the documents on the checklist, must be sent to the Case Processing Centre (CPC)—Sydney in Sydney, Nova Scotia.
Once CPC received the application and started processing it, a notice confirming that the application was received will be sent to the applicant’s address. Together with this, the applicant will also receive a copy of Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship, which the applicant must read and study. The applicant needs to know and understand this guide in preparation for the citizenship test. The questions in the citizenship test are based on this study guide.
A second notice will be sent to the applicant informing him of the date, time and place of the citizenship test. After the test, an applicant may be asked to attend an interview with a citizenship judge. The applicant will be asked to come to the CIC office for a review of the original documents that he/she submitted in support of his/her citizenship application, as well as all passports and travel documents relevant to the four year period preceding the application.
Once all the requirements for citizenship were met, the CIC office notifies the applicant by mail of the time and place of the citizenship ceremony.
When my husband and I decided to apply for citizenship, it is not in anyway because we do not want to be recognized as Filipinos anymore. We will always remain to be Filipinos by heart. We love Philippines and we will always be proud to be a Filipino. However, when we decided to migrate to Canada, we know that there will be no turning back – our lives is now in Canada, we are now working in Canada. Though we know that there will be times that we will still visit our family and friends in the Philippines, we are also aware that going back to our country to start all over again and settle there will not be easy anymore, we have embraced the fact that we will retire and we will grow old in Canada.
Disclaimer: The information that I have included in this post are based on what has been recently posted in www.cic.gc.ca as of the time of publishing this post. I still recommend that the applicant should visit the official website of CIC to ensure that he/she obtain the most recent information regarding the requirements for application for citizenship.