HomeTagCanadian Citizenship Archives - Immigration Lawyer Vancouver, Canada | Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre

I am frequently approached by people who say to me "I want to get my Canadian citizenship - what do I need to do?" To which I reply, "Well, you need to walk before you run". Which means, you firstly need to become a Permanent Resident of Canada, and then, after several years, you may apply to become a Canadian citizen if you meet all the criteria. Let's look at the difference between what Permanent Residency and Citizenship entails.

The remaining revisions to Canada's Citizenship laws came into force on June 11, 2015. Last year the government introduced Bill C-24, the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act which introduced many changes to the citizenship application process. However, many of those were not implemented until just recently. Most significantly the eligibility period for citizenship has increased and residency requirements have been defined to a strict physical presence in Canada. Prospective citizens must also be resident in Canada for tax purposes and demonstrate that they meet their personal income tax obligations.

Once you have gone through the process of becoming a permanent resident of Canada, you are still bound by legislative requirements to maintain your Permanent Residence (PR) status. Many people misunderstand the ongoing residency requirement or confuse it with the residency threshold for Canadian citizenship. Furthermore, there are several exceptions to being physically present in Canada that allow you to still satisfy the residency requirement while being outside of Canada and people have a tendency to interpret these "exceptions" to their own advantage without truly understanding their legal significance. Let's review what it takes to maintain your PR status.

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.

On October 25, 2012, Minister Kenney implemented new legislation aimed at targeting marriage fraud. The new spousal sponsorship provisions provide that couples who have been in a spousal relationship for less than two years or that do not have children together, will be given conditional permanent residence that requires the couple to live together as spouses for a period of two years from when the sponsored spouse arrives in Canada as a Permanent Resident.

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