Changes to citizenship in Canada to streamline applications now in place

by Ray Clancy on June 20, 2017

The Act that set out changes to the citizenship process in Canada has been approved.

The main aims of the changes to the Citizenship Act are to streamline the application process, enhance the programme’s integrity and make sure dual citizens are not treated differently.


Some of the changes are now in effect while others will come into force at later dates to ensure the necessary regulatory changes and departmental preparations are in place for a smooth transition for applicants.

As of now, applicants are no longer required to intend to continue to live in Canada once they are granted citizenship. Officials said this will provide more flexibility to Canadians who may need to live outside of Canada for work or personal reasons.

Immediate changes also include repealing the ability to revoke citizenship from dual citizens convicted of crimes against the national interest. Dual citizens living in Canada who are convicted of these crimes will face the Canadian justice system, like other Canadian citizens who break the law.

Some of the changes that are expected to take effect later this year will give more flexibility to both younger and older eligible immigrants to obtain citizenship. These changes include reducing the time permanent residents must be physically present in Canada to three out of five years, instead of four out of six years, before applying for citizenship.

There will be an amendment to the age range for people to meet the language and knowledge requirements for citizenship from the current 14 to 64 years to 18 to 54 years.

The Act also allows for some of the time applicants spend in Canada as temporary residents or protected persons to be counted toward their physical presence requirements for citizenship.

Other changes that are expected to take effect next year include strengthening the citizenship revocation process by having the Federal Court as the decision maker on most cases, thereby enhancing the procedural fairness of the process.

‘Canada’s identity has always been shaped by the significant economic, cultural and social contributions of immigrants. Changes to the Citizenship Act will enhance the programme’s integrity,’ said Ahmed Hussen, Minister for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

He added that the changes will also give more flexibility to eligible applicants to meet the requirements for citizenship so that they can continue building successful lives in Canada.

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