New Citizenship Residence Criteria in Canada from October 2017

Recent amendments by the Government of Canada to the Citizenship Act which came into effect on June 19, 2017 has confirmed that additional alterations regarding criteria for Canadian citizenship will come into effect as on October 11, 2017. The new changes will aim at reducing the age requirement for meeting the language and knowledge criteria as well as the physical presence requirement for getting Canadian citizenship. 

Further to the above changes, the Canadian Government will also be introducing new application forms and guidelines as on October 11, 2017. 

To illustrate the changes which will come into effect as on October 11, 2017, please note below: 

  • Applicants will no longer need to be physically present in Canada for a period of 183 days in the four out of six years preceding the application, as this provision will now be revoked.
  • The current physical presence requirement of staying in Canada for four out of six years will be reduced to three out of five years. Please note that applicants prior to applying for Permanent Residency (PR), will be given the benefit to count each day they have been physically present in Canada in any legal status (for instance as a student of work permit holder etc.) as half-days towards meeting the physical presence requirement up to a maximum of 365-day credit within five years preceding the date of their PR application.
  • The present age range of 14 to 64 by which applicants must meet the language and knowledge requirement for grant of Canadian citizenship will now be between the age range from 18 and 54.
  • The requirement to file Canadian Income taxes (if required as per the Income Tax Act) will be reduced to three out of five years from the current requirement of four out of six years prior to applying for Canadian citizenship.

Furthermore, the crucial changes set out below are anticipated to come into effect by late 2017 or start of 2018:

  • The Canadian Federal Court will preside authority over all citizenship revocation cases, including cases previously under the Minister’s authority, unless the applicant requests for the Minister to make the decision.
  • Officers managing citizenship applications will have the authority under the Citizenship Act to seize fake or suspected fraudulent documents.

More details on this matter will be published post October 11, 2017.

Manizeh Mistry, Deputy Head – Global Immigration

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