Government of Canada implements new legislative changes to the Citizenship Act

As part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to provide greater flexibility in meeting requirements for those who wish to obtain Canadian citizenship, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced  a significant milestone in implementing changes to the Citizenship Act through the adoption of Bill C-6.

Further to changes introduced upon Royal Assent which repealed certain provisions of the former government’s Bill C-24, important changes to physical presence and the age required to meet language and knowledge requirements for permanent residents who are applying for citizenship will come into effect on October 11, 2017. The new requirements will give more flexibility to both younger and older eligible immigrants to obtain citizenship. They will also help individuals who have already begun building lives in Canada achieve citizenship faster.

Citizenship applicants who meet the new requirements must wait until October 11, 2017, before applying for citizenship. This is the date when the changes come into effect, and when the new citizenship application forms and guides will be available.

More changes to the Citizenship Act are expected to take effect later this year and in early 2018. For a complete list of past, current and future changes to the Citizenship Act and their effective dates, please read the Bill C-6 Backgrounder.

Previous Citizenship Act Citizenship Act with Bill C-6 Amendments

Applicants had to be physically present in Canada for four out of six years before applying for citizenship. Applicants must be physically present in Canada for three out of five years before applying for citizenship.

Applicants had to file Canadian income taxes, if required to do so under the Income Tax Act, for four out of six years, matching the physical presence requirement. Applicants must file Canadian income taxes, if required to do so under the Income Tax Act, for three out of five years, matching the new physical presence requirement.

Applicants had to be physically present in Canada for 183 days in four out of the six years preceding their application. This provision is repealed. Applicants no longer have to meet this requirement.

Time spent in Canada prior to becoming a permanent resident did not count towards the physical presence requirement for citizenship.        Applicants may count each day they were physically present in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person before becoming a permanent resident as a half-day toward meeting the physical presence requirement for citizenship, up to a maximum credit of 365 days.

Applicants between 14 and 64 years had to meet the language and knowledge requirements for citizenship. Applicants between 18 and 54 years must meet the language and knowledge requirements for citizenship.

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