Posted on - Oct 22, 2013

By Catherine Sas, Q.C.

Catherine Sas Q.C.

Canada’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander issued a news release this Monday entitled “Celebrating Citizenship week, Putting Canada First”. Taking a look at processing times for citizenship applications, the Minister really doesn’t have much to celebrate. The current citizenship processing time for a “routine application” is taking 25 months! 25 months! And non-routine cases are listed as taking 35 months but in reality are taking much longer. Applicants for a citizenship certificate for persons who are already citizens but require proof of their citizenship are facing waiting times of 6 – 18 months. Canada’s processing times for citizenship applicants are deplorable and far from cause for celebration.

The path to citizenship is a long one. First an individual must become a permanent resident of Canada which often takes several years to process. In order to be eligible for citizenship a person must then reside in Canada for three years within a four year window after they have become a permanent resident. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) requires people to demonstrate that they have physically been present in Canada for a minimum of 1095 days within the past four years. For straightforward or “routine” applications where people can clearly demonstrate that they have met this requirement, the processing of their application is taking two years or more. This means that in reality, a permanent resident who wants to become a citizen has a waiting time of five years before they will be able to obtain their Canadian passport.

For applicants who don’t quite meet the 1095 residency requirement or who fail the citizenship test they will be scheduled to have an interview with a citizenship judge. These appointments are also backlogged for several years. Not months, but years.

In his press release celebrating Citizenship Week, Minister Alexander states as follows:

“Citizenship week calls attention to the rights, privileges and responsibilities we have as citizens of this great country…Citizenship is a pledge of mutual responsibility and a shared commitment to values rooted in our history.”

Pretty profound words. For those individuals who commit to living and working in Canada the process for citizenship needs to be timely. The Minister has a responsibility to Canadian citizens and permanent residents to provide a reasonable path to Canadian citizenship. To truly celebrate citizenship week Minister Alexander needs to deliver speedier processing times for citizenship applications.


Catherine Sas, Q.C. is a Vancouver immigration lawyer at Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre in Vancouver, BC Canada. Catherine has been practicing law for over 25 years, and has been voted Vancouver’s Best Immigration Lawyer by the Georgia Straight newspaper for 6 consecutive years.

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

Share this article:

Related Topics: , , , , ,

Related Posts

Obtaining a Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) For many foreign students in Canada, this is the means to Permanent Residence
Tax Tips for Foreign Workers Temporary foreign workers are often unaware of the potential tax consequences of working in Canada. Many workers commute back and forth from their home country without becoming Canadian residents. There are several issues to be aware of for people working...
Citizenship Applicants Face Harsh Reality With Need To Prove Language Proficiency The media was abuzz last week with several examples of people who had their citizenship applications rejected for failing to provide adequate proof of english language proficiency. The particular injustice highlighted in these refusals was that in these c...
Immigration levels stay the course but workers to be sped up! Last week was full of announcements on the Immigration front for the Liberal government. On Monday, October 31, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Minister John McCallum, tabled his annual report to Parliament setting immigration levels f...
Film and Television workers given the green light to work in Canada! The process for bringing film and television production workers to Canada will become much easier as of February 17, 2016 with the elimination of the need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).