Canada may be known for its hockey, maple syrup, and maple trees, but it’s also known for the benefits of Canadian citizenship. Whether you’re looking for a new home, immigration status, or just a vacation away from the hustle and bustle of your day-to-day life, Canada has something to offer you.
Brief Fact About Canadian Citizenship
Canadian citizenship is one of the most versatile and valuable pieces of citizenship around the world. With Canadian citizenship, you have access to some incredible benefits, including visa-free travel to over 190 countries and territories, protection from discrimination in housing and employment, and support from Canadian government resources in times of need.
The history of Canadian citizenship dates back to 1867 when the British North America Act established the Dominion of Canada. As part of this act, all residents of the new country were granted Canadian citizenship. At that time, only men could become citizens, but in 1949 women gained full citizenship rights. Today, Canadian citizens can be either male or female and from any race or ethnicity.
Canadian citizenship is also open to refugees who meet certain requirements set out by the government. To be eligible for refugee status in Canada, you must be fleeing an adverse situation on account of factors such as race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Once you have been accepted as a refugee by Canada, you are eligible for full Canadian citizenship within two years.
Factors to Consider Before Applying for Canadian Citizenship
- Your Age
If you are age 18 or older, you can apply for citizenship. If you are under 18 years old, your parents or guardians can apply on your behalf.
- Your Place of Birth
If you were born in Canada, you are automatically a citizen. If you were not born in Canada but have lived in Canada for at least five years and have a permanent resident card, you may be eligible for citizenship through residency.
- Your Nationality
If your mother or father was born outside of Canada but is now a Canadian citizen, you may be eligible for citizenship if both of your parents are citizens and meet the other eligibility requirements. You cannot become a Canadian citizen if either of your parents is not a Canadian citizen.
- Your Immigration Status
If you were not born in Canada and do not have Canadian citizenship because one or both of your parents was not Canadian citizen when you were born (or did not become a Canadian citizen), you may be eligible for citizenship through ancestry if all four of the following conditions are met: You can prove that one or both of your grandparent(s) was a Canadian citizen when they were alive; You were physically present in Canada before January 1, 1947;
- Residency Status
Your residency status in Canada. You must have been living in Canada for at least five years out of the ten years before filing your citizenship application unless you can provide a strong justification for why you cannot meet this requirement. If you have been living outside of Canada for more than six months in any consecutive 12-month period, your residency status may be considered questionable and could lead to your application being rejected.
- Naturalization History
If you have ever applied or attempted to apply for Canadian citizenship before, your application may be rejected based on your previous history with the process. You will need to demonstrate that you are eligible and fit into one of the designated categories set out by the Canadian government to be approved for citizenship through naturalization.
Eligible Requirements to Become Canadian Citizenship
To be eligible for Canadian citizenship, you must:
- Be a permanent resident of Canada for at least five years
- Be 18 or older
- Have lived in Canada for at least two years and have been physically present in Canada for at least six months out of the past 12 months
- Be able to speak, read, and write English or French
- Possess a valid passport from your country of origin
Different Ways to Get Canadian Citizenship
There are many ways to become a Canadian citizen, and each has its own set of benefits. Here are some routes to Canadian citizenship:
- By Birth in Canada: If you were born in Canada, you are automatically a Canadian citizen. This option is best for children of Canadian parents who were never abroad and have never renounced their Canadian citizenship.
- By Naturalization: If you have permanent residency in Canada (through work or study, for example), you can apply for naturalization. Naturalization grants you full citizenship rights, including the right to vote and run for office.
- By Marriage to a Citizen: If you marry a Canadian citizen, your spouse becomes your new citizen automatically. You will need to apply for naturalization if you want to keep your original citizenship.
- Through Parental Citizenship: Some Canadians automatically become citizens when their parents become citizens. If your parents were not born in Canada, but meet certain requirements (such as being resident in Canada for three years before the child was born), they can apply for parental citizenship and grant the child citizenship at birth. This route is best for children of Canadian citizens who live abroad and want to bring them back home with full rights and privileges.
Benefits of Canadian Citizenship
Medicare: As a Canadian citizen, you have access to all the medical benefits that are offered by Medicare, which is one of the biggest government-run healthcare programs in the world. This includes coverage for hospital stays, prescription drugs, and more.
Employment Insurance: As a Canadian citizen, you are automatically eligible for employment insurance, which provides financial assistance if you lose your job through no fault of your own. This coverage can help cover months or even years of lost income.
Canada Pension Plan (CPP): As a Canadian citizen, you are automatically enrolled in CPP disability pension plans if you have been employed for at least 10 years and have made monthly contributions throughout that time. This plan provides retirement income when you retire or become disabled.
Student Loans: If you’re a student who is studying in Canada (or who has recently graduated from school), you may be eligible for student loans from various banks and lenders. This can help cover the costs of tuition, books, fees, etc.
Protected Freedoms: As a Canadian citizen, you enjoy several fundamental rights that other people do not have in most countries. These include freedom of speech, expression, assembly, and religion; protection from arbitrary arrest and detention; and the right to vote in national elections.
Stable Government: One of the main benefits of Canadian citizenship is the stability it offers residents. Canada is one of the few countries in the world with no military draft, allowing citizens to live their lives with minimal worry about security threats or political changes.
Access to Social Programs and Services: As a citizen of Canada, you have access to a wide range of social programs and services such as healthcare, education, and welfare. These programs are free or highly subsidized by the government, making them extremely affordable for Canadians.
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- Beginners Guide: Steps to Apply for Jobs in Canada
Becoming a Canadian citizen has many benefits, both big and small. From the protection of our legal system to the opportunities for education and career advancement, there are plenty of reasons why becoming a Canadian is worth your time and effort. If you’re eligible and want to become a citizen, be sure to check out our list of requirements and see if you fit within them. We hope this article has helped you decide whether or not becoming a Canadian citizen is right for you!