Online Guide for Newcomers to Prince Edward Island - Canada
Obtaining Canadian Citizenship
Canadians are proud to hold one of the most prized citizenships in the world. As a citizen you can:
- vote and be a candidate for a political office
- apply for a Canadian passport
- enter and leave Canada freely
- enjoy full economic rights, including the right to own any type of property, and
- be eligible for some pension benefits
Along with your rights as a Canadian citizen come responsibilities. For many Canadians, being a good citizen means getting involved in their community. Regardless of your interests, contributing to your society is rewarding and appreciated by others who, like you, are proud to make Canada their home.
Applying for Canadian Citizenship
Every year about 170,000 people become new citizens of Canada. If you want to apply for Canadian citizenship, you need to complete the following steps:
Parents or legal guardians can apply for citizenship on behalf of minor children (under 18 years of age). At least one parent or legal guardian must already be a Canadian citizen, or must be applying to become a citizen at the same time.
To become citizens, minor children must also have the permanent resident status, but they do not need to live in Canada for three years before they apply.
Minor children and people 55 years of age and older do not have to take the citizenship test.
- find out if you are eligible to become a citizen
- apply for citizenship
- take the citizenship test (if you are between the ages of 18 and 54)
- attend a citizenship ceremony (if you are 14 or older)
Eligibility to Become a Citizen
The eligibility is determined on the following factors:
- age -- you must be 18 years of age or older to apply
- permanent resident status -- you must be a permanent resident, and your status must not be in doubt
- time lived in Canada -- adults must have lived in Canada for at least three years (1,095 days) in the past four years before applying
- language ability -- you must have good knowledge of English or French
- criminal history -- you must not be in a situation where you are in conflict with Canadian laws as specified in the Citizenship Act [See Related Resources]
- knowledge of Canada -- you must understand the rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship and know Canada's history, values, institutions and symbols
Completing and Submitting Your Application
To become a Canadian citizen, you must do the following:
- obtain an application package
- read the instruction guide
- complete the application form and attach the necessary documents
- pay the fee and get the necessary receipt
- mail the application form and documents
All the guides and forms can be found on the Citizenship and Immigration website. The fees can also be paid online. [See Related Resources]
Once they start processing your case, the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will send you a notice confirming your application was received.
You can check the status of your application online. You can also check the status of your application by contacting the CIC call centre. [See Related Resources]
To determine your knowledge of Canada, you must pass the citizenship test. To prepare, you can use the study guide developed by CIC, 'Discover Canada - The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship'. The guide is available to read online, in printable format, in audio format, and you can order a printed copy to be mailed to you. Usually CIC will mail you a copy along with the confirmation of the receipt of your application. You can test your knowledge on available interactive websites with the citizenship test questions. [See Related Resources]
The language ability is determined during the testing process. The citizenship test results and your interaction with CIC staff will be used to assess if you have an adequate ability to communicate in either English or French.
When the time comes, you will get a notfication of the test place and time.
The CIC staff decides whether your test will be written or oral based on a number of factors. For example, if you have trouble reading and writing in English or French, you will have an oral test.
Oral tests are done through an interview with a citizenship judge.
When you come for the citizenship test, remember to bring the following documents with you:
- the original documents you submitted with your application (personal identification, immigration documents, etc.)
- any passport or travel documents relevant to the four years before your application
If you do not pass the written test, you will get a notice telling you to appear for an interview with a citizenship judge. At that interview, the judge will ask you the test questions orally to give you another opportunity to demonstrate that you meet all the requirements of citizenship (including knowledge and language).
Adults and children aged 14 or over must attend the citizenship ceremony and take the oath.
Parents receive certificates of citizenship for their children under age 14. These children do not have to attend, but they are welcome. Many times people invite friends and family to witness this important moment in their lives.
It is also common that representatives of community groups and local dignitaries get invited and take part in ceremonies.
Becoming a Citizen
If you pass the test and it is determined that you meet all the other requirements for citizenship, you will be invited to a citizenship ceremony.
At the citizenship ceremony, you are welcomed into the Canadian family and you accept the rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship. A citizenship judge usually presides over the ceremony and administers the oath.
Once you have taken the oath of citizenship at a ceremony, you will be a Canadian citizen. You will receive your certificate of citizenship, a small card that you can use to prove that you are a Canadian citizen. You will also receive a commemorative document that shows the date you became a Canadian. Keep these documents in a safe place.