New Website Helps Young Permanent Residents Obtain Citizenship
In an effort to help younger immigrants become Canadian citizens, the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) and Citizen and Immigration Canada (CIC) have launched a website aimed at educating young people about the process of obtaining citizenship along with its benefits. The website, Citizenship Counts, contains information on why and how to become a citizen as well as providing educational materials such as quizzes and flashcards.
In addition to the website, the organizations have developed an app for both iPhone and Android devices. The initiative comes on the heels of a controversial new Canadian immigration law that limits appeals of criminal cases, by permanent residents seeking citizenship, to people sentenced to less than six month in jail. Persons interested in applying for Canadian citizenship should consider the relevant facts surrounding the new law and possibly consult with a Canadian immigration lawyer.
There are many potential benefits for a permanent resident to obtain Canadian citizenship. Some of these benefits include:
- The right to vote
- A permanent resident may be deported for criminal misconduct, while a citizen may not
- Not having to renew your permanent resident status
- Being able to hold office in Canada
- Being able to remain outside of Canada for more than 3 out of 5 years without penalty
- Obtaining a Canadian passport
- Under certain circumstances, a permanent resident may be restricted from serving in the Canadian armed forces
In order for a permanent resident of Canada to become a citizen, the candidate must be over 18, be able to read and write in either French or English, have lived in Canada for 3 out of the past 4 years, and be present in Canada when applying for citizenship. In addition, parents of children under 18 may apply on behalf of their children when they apply for citizenship.
- Proving that you can read or write in either French or English – There are several ways to establish your language proficiency. One way is to obtain test results from a third party, such as the documentation you may have submitted with a Federal Skilled Worker or Canadian Experience Class application. In addition, you can submit a transcript, diploma, or certificate from a French or English post-secondary school, or prove that you have completed a course at level CLB/NCLC 4 in a LINC or CLIC course.
- Proving that you have met the residency requirements – To ensure adherence to PR residency requirements, candidates may wish to use CIC’s online residency calculator. In some cases, time spent in Canada on certain types of visas, but prior to becoming a permanent resident may count toward the residency requirement. It is best to consult with a Canadian immigration attorney to ensure your circumstances meet the requirements.
Some people may be required to submit a residence questionnaire, in order to determine whether they meet the residency requirements. Not everyone is required to do so, and those who are asked may experience delays in the processing of their application.
The path to Canadian citizenship can be confusing and complex, particularly when an applicant has experienced legal or criminal issues in the past. In such cases, it is highly advisable for anyone seeking Canadian citizenship to consult an experienced Canada immigration attorney. First Immigration Law Firm helps people obtain permanent resident status through a wide variety of programs. To schedule a consultation with a Canadian immigration lawyer, contact us toll-free from North America at 1 (855) 360-4333 or internationally at 1 (514) 360-4333.