Are You Eligible for Canadian Citizenship?
To be eligible for Canadian citizenship, most applicants must have been living in Canada for at least 1,095 days (3 years) during the 5 years immediately before the date they sign their citizenship application. This is what Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) refers to as the physical presence requirement for Canadian citizenship. In most cases, the calculation of time spent in Canada only recognizes days that an applicant lives in Canada after becoming a permanent resident (PR).
IRCC encourages citizenship applicants to “apply with more than 1,095 days of living in Canada in case there’s a problem with the calculation”. However, applicants can also use some time spent in Canada as a temporary resident (TR) or protected person toward this requirement. To further assist prospective Canadian citizenship applicants, tools like this citizenship calculator can help estimate when you may be eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship.
IRCC’s definition of a temporary resident and protected person
Importantly, IRCC defines the terms “temporary resident” and “protected person” using the following descriptions:
Temporary residents are foreign nationals “authorized to enter or stay in Canada as a visitor, student worker, or temporary resident permit holder.” A protected person is someone who either “was found to [need] protection or [was assessed as] a convention refugee by the Immigration and Refugee Board or received a positive decision on a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment” from IRCC. Refugee claimants, including those added on a family member’s refugee claim, will only be credited time in Canada beginning after the claimant receives a positive decision confirming they are a protected person.
How to calculate time spent in Canada depending on your status in Canada
In the case of TRs and protected persons across Canada, IRCC clarifies that “each day spent in Canada … within the last 5 years counts as one half day [for] physical presence” calculations. In addition, it is important to note that Canadian TRs and protected persons can only use a maximum of 365 days towards their time spent in Canada. The rest of the time calculated toward this requirement must be time spent in Canada after becoming a PR.
Using examples, the following will illustrate how applicants with different statuses in Canada can calculate their time spent in Canada before applying to become a Canadian citizen.
For detailed information on the physical presence requirement for Canadian citizenship, visit the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada website.
Additional information about the physical presence requirement for Canadian citizenship
It is important to note that all adult applicants must meet the physical presence requirement to be eligible for Canadian citizenship. Some minors applying for Canadian citizenship must also meet the physical presence requirement. Specifically, IRCC indicates that minors without a Canadian parent or a parent who is applying for Canadian citizenship at the same time are required to meet the same physical presence requirement as adult applicants. For more details, you can schedule a free Canadian Citizenship Consultation with the Cohen Immigration Law Firm.
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