Posted on - Oct 17, 2017

By Victor Ing

Victor Ing

The Liberal government election promise of relaxed citizenship requirements have finally arrived! As of October 11, 2017, new rules have come into effect to make it easier for Canadian permanent residents to apply for citizenship by reducing the time that they need to be physically present in Canada before qualifying for Canadian citizenship.

On October 4, 2017, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) announced that long awaited changes to the Citizenship Act would take effect on October 11, 2017. These changes were initially approved in June 2017 when Bill C-6 became law making obtaining citizenship more flexible and accessible for potential applicants, but it was not known exactly when they would come into effect.

Below are three of the important changes you need to know about:

Three in Five Rule

You are now eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship if you have physically resided in Canada for three (3) years in the five (5) years immediately before the date of your citizenship application, which replaces the former rule of four (4) out of the past six (6) years.

Time Spent Before Permanent Residence Counts

IRCC will once again recognize days spent in Canada as a temporary resident towards the residency requirement for citizenship. Days spent in Canada before becoming a permanent resident now count as half-days, up to a maximum of 365 days, towards meeting the physical presence requirement to obtain Canadian citizenship. These changes will specifically help people who have studied and worked in Canada before becoming permanent residents.

Relaxed Testing Requirements

Previously, applicants between the ages of 14 and 64 years were required to pass language and knowledge testing requirements for Canadian citizenship. The new rules will make these requirements mandatory only for applicants between the ages of 18 and 54 years, exempting older and younger applicants from testing both English or French language proficiency and knowledge of Canada.

These new changes make citizenship more attractive and accessible for potential applicants. In combination with the reduction of the physical residence requirement to only three years of physical presence in Canada, these newly implemented rule changes make citizenship attainable as early as two years after you become a permanent resident of Canada.

IRCC introduced the new revisions to Canada’s citizenship provisions during Citizenship Week held between October 9-15, which is intended to celebrate and reflect upon what it means to be Canadian. By implementing these changes, Canada is actively encouraging permanent residents to take the final step to apply for citizenship and become part of the Canadian family.

Victor Ing is a Vancouver immigration lawyer at Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre in Vancouver, BC Canada, and provides a full range of immigration services.

To learn more about immigrating to Canada, becoming a permanent Canadian resident or bringing your family to Canada, email Victor Ing or call him at 1-604-689-5444.

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