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Canada Citizenship and Naturalization

Although you can't apply for Canadian citizenship until you have lived in Canada for at least three years, you can be thinking about what it means from the moment you arrive. Canadians believe that Canada is a special place. Most Canadians agree with the United Nations - "Canada is the best country in the world in which to live."

How soon can I apply for Canadian Citizenship?

You are allowed to apply for Canadian Citizenship after you have been physically resident in Canada for three years (1095 days) out of the four years immediately preceding your application. Where exceptional circumstances exist, however, you may be allowed to apply even if you have not been physically resident in Canada for the required 1095 days.

Do I have to apply for Citizenship as soon as I am eligible?

No. There is no obligation to apply for Canadian Citizenship at any time.

What are some of the advantages of obtaining Citizenship?

Unlike permanent residents, Canadian citizens are allowed to be absent from Canada for extended periods of time without any risk of losing their status. Except in rare cases, Canadian citizens cannot be deported from Canada. Canadian citizens also receive Canadian passports and are entitled to vote in federal elections.

Will prior time spent in Canada count towards my application?

Time spent legally in Canada prior to becoming a permanent resident may be counted towards the calculation of the 1095 days required to qualify for Canadian Citizenship. Within the four years prior to applying for Canadian Citizenship, each day spent in Canada as a non-permanent resident (i.e. as a visitor) is counted as half a day, up to a maximum total credit of one year. Each day spent in Canada as a permanent resident is counted as one whole day.

Will time spent outside of Canada count towards my application?

Unless there are exceptional circumstances, time spent outside of Canada (other than for short vacations) will not be counted towards the calculation of the 1095 days required to qualify for Canadian Citizenship.

Will I be eligible to work in the US, Mexico, or Chile?

Under the provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement, qualified Canadian citizens can benefit from facilitated admission into the USA, Mexico and Chile for business and work-related purposes.

Do I need a Returning Resident Permit while outside Canada?

No. Citizens of Canada are not required to obtain Returning Resident Permits for any absence from Canada. Canadian Citizenship cannot be lost as a result of a long or permanent absence from Canada.

Can I have dual Citizenship?

Since 1977, Canada has permitted its citizens to hold dual or multi Citizenship. As a result, Canadian citizens will not lose their Canadian Citizenship if they retain their former nationality or become citizens of another country.

If you intend to become a Canadian citizen, you are advised to verify whether the country of your current nationality permits dual citizenship.

Must I pay Canadian tax on my worldwide income?

Not in all cases. As a general rule you are only required to pay Canadian income tax on worldwide income if you reside in Canada. It is always best to consult with a specialist in Canadian taxation for specific advice regarding any and all Canadian taxation matters.

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