Changes to the Citizenship Act (RSC, 1985, c C-29) come into effect on October 11, 2017 following amendments via Bill C-6. These amendments will lead to significant changes to Canadian immigration. Some of the changes to the Citizenship Act have already became effective as of June 19, 2017, including the following:
- Applicants for citizenship are no longer required to intend to continue to live in Canada once granted citizenship. This is beneficial for new Canadians who may need to live outside of Canada for work or personal reasons.
- Minors may now apply for citizenship without a Canadian parent, as the age requirement for citizenship has been removed.
Important changes are being made effective October 11, 2017, including the following:
- Eligibility for citizenship – residency requirements:
- previously, permanent residents must have been physically present in Canada for four out of six years before applying for citizenship
- under new changes, permanent residents must be physically present in Canada for three out of five years before applying for citizenship
Changes to the residency requirement will now permit time spent in Canada prior to becoming a permanent resident. Previously, time spent in Canada prior to becoming a permanent resident did not count towards the physical presence requirement for citizenship. However, under the new changes, applicants may count each day they were physically present in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person, before becoming a permanent resident. Such time is calculated as a half-day toward meeting the physical presence requirement for citizenship, up to a maximum of one year, within five years preceding the date of application.
- Eligibility for citizenship – language and knowledge requirements:
- previously, permanent residents between 14 and 64 years of age had to meet the knowledge and language requirements for citizenship
- under new changes, permanent residents between 18 and 54 years of age must meet the knowledge and language requirements for citizenship
These legislative changes will be favourable for many individuals. To determine whether you qualify for citizenship under the new Citizenship Act, contact Ashamalla LLP.