Changes to Canada’s Citizenship Act go into Effect October 11, 2017

Changes to Canada’s Citizenship Act which were passed in Parliament earlier this year, will go into effect tomorrow, October 11, 2017.

Earlier this year, Parliament amended the Citizenship Act to include the removal of the requirement that a prospective citizen demonstrate that they intend to reside in Canada after they have been granted citizenship. Also, minor children are now eligible to qualify for citizenship on their own without the requirement that a parent apply with them.

In keeping with election promises, parts of the citizenship revocation process that was included in the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act and that applied to dual citizens was repealed.

Now that the government has completed changes to the Regulations as well as the infrastructure for the processing of citizenship applications, the following changes are now able to come into effect:

1. The physical presence requirements have now been amended to require that applicants be physically present in Canada for three (3) years out of five (5) rather than four (4) years out of six (6).

2. This change in the physical presence requirements will also include an allowance for time spent in Canada prior to becoming a permanent resident. Similar to the old Act, applicants may count their time in Canada prior to becoming permanent residents at a rate of 50% to a maximum of one year provided that that period of time came within the 5 years preceding the date of the citizenship application.

3. Finally, the age requirements for the language and knowledge tests have now been changed. Under the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, applicants between 14 and 64 years of age were required to pass language and knowledge tests. That age range has now been amended to applicants between the age of 18 and 54 years of age, exempting the very young and the very old from this requirement.

With these changes to the Citizenship Act, many more people will be eligible to apply than had been eligible under the previous legislation. This is part of the current Canadian government’s philosophy that by broadening eligibility for Canadian citizenship, permanent residents would be encouraged to become Canadian residents and participate fully in the Canadian society.

Contact Mamann, Sandaluk & Kingwell in order to determine whether you qualify for Canadian citizenship under the new rules.

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