June 6, 2015 – The Government of Canada announced yesterday that the remaining provisions of the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act will come into force on June 11, 2015. Those provisions will, among other things, increase the residency requirement and impose a more strict “physical presence” requirement on applicants for Canadian citizenship.
Major changes include:
- An increase in the number of days adult applicants must be present in Canada to four years out of six, from the previous three years out of four
- A requirement that adult applicants be physically present in Canada for at least 183 days for each of the four years within the qualifying residency period
- Proof of tax filings for the qualifying period
- A knowledge test for all applicants between the ages of 14 and 64
- A declaration of intent to reside in Canada
What this means for foreign nationals
It is expected that these new requirements will make it more difficult for Permanent Residents to qualify for Canadian citizenship. In particular, the strict physical residency requirement will impact business travelers and other foreign nationals whose work necessitates their absence from Canada for periods of time.
Under the current requirements, foreign nationals who are often away from Canada may still qualify for citizenship if they can demonstrate that they are established in Canada during the qualifying period.
Permanent Residents who are considering applying for citizenship should immediately contact their immigration professional to discuss making an application under the current rules, prior to the coming into force of the new, more strict requirements.
If you have questions about the new citizenship requirements or would like to discuss making an application, please contact Green and Spiegel.