There are many reasons why a non-Canadian would choose to live in Canada, such as establishing or joining a family, working a dream job, or experiencing a new living environment. Permanent residency allows people to live and work in Canada while remaining citizens of other countries.
Becoming a citizen of the country usually requires people to complete and pass the Canadian citizenship test. Below, we outline the essential details of the exam, citizenship requirements, and tips to make the process more straightforward and less overwhelming.
Requirements for Citizenship in Canada
Becoming a true Canadian requires citizenship. Though you could live and work in the country as a permanent resident, citizenship affords you specific freedoms, such as the right to vote, a Canadian passport, and jobs only citizens can work.
Not everyone seeking Canadian citizenship will be eligible for it. If you want to become a citizen, you must be a permanent resident of the country and live in one of its provinces for at least three of the last five years. Permanent residents with jobs or income must file taxes.
Another requirement for citizenship is passing the Canada citizenship test. Applicants over 18 and under 54 must take the test and attend an interview. Adults over age 55 and minors between 14 and 17 years old without a Canadian parent or guardian applying for citizenship at the same time need to attend the interview, not take the test.
About the Citizenship Test
It may take six to 12 months to receive a notice to appear letter after applying to take the citizenship test. The exam consists of 20 questions, which break down into multiple choice and true or false questions. It generally takes about 30 minutes to complete.
The Canadian citizenship test is available in English or French. It covers the fundamental rights and responsibilities expected of all Canadians. The test also includes questions about the country’s history, symbols, economy, geography, laws, and government.
You must answer at least 15 questions correctly to pass the citizenship test. In most cases, the test will be a written exam, but citizenship officials may administer an oral test if they deem one necessary. For instance, if you struggle writing and reading in English or French, the official may give you an oral examination at a hearing.
5 Tips to Help You Prepare for the Citizenship Test
Taking a test, any test, can be stressful; especially when you being accepted into a country depends on it. Take a few moments to consider the following tips to better prepare for your citizenship test.
1. Study for the Test
Studying for the test is the best step to take when preparing for Canadian citizenship. Ideally, you should start reviewing exam materials when submitting your citizenship application, especially if you are not a native English or French speaker. Going over the test's materials early in the citizenship process also makes it easier to retain information without cramming at the last minute.
Focus your studies on Canadian government, culture, politics, and history. Don’t hesitate to speak with native Canadians who are knowledgeable in these areas and read from trusted sources.
2. Consider Taking a Citizenship Class or Workshop
Some people struggle to study alone and learn new subjects without in-person assistance. In that case, it would be beneficial to join a Canadian citizenship workshop or class to help you learn vital information about the test.
You could find citizenship classes at many local libraries and newcomer centres. These facilities may hold classes once a month or twice a week. They are instrumental in helping citizenship applicants prepare for the test by teaching essential materials and providing additional details about the citizenship process.
Some citizens and organizations also offer Canadian citizenship test tutoring. You could have one-on-one sessions to review materials instead of learning in a group environment with other applicants.
3. Take Practice Tests
After studying essential test materials, you should take a Canadian citizenship practise written test to gauge the effectiveness of your studies. Many practice tests are available online. While they are not a substitute for traditional studying habits and in-person or online workshops, practise tests will help you pass the test unaided.
Begin taking practise citizenship tests when you feel confident about the materials you retain from studying. Keep taking the tests until you consistently score 100%. Maintaining a high score will ensure that you have a good foundation of knowledge of the test's materials and the confidence necessary to answer the real Canadian citizenship test's questions correctly.
4. Read the Official Study Guide
Canada has an official citizenship study guide called "Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship." The study guide contains everything you need to know to pass the citizenship test. The book is available online in PDF and MP3 format.
Though you can find other study guides online, it is best to use the official study guide as your primary reference. Some aspects of the booklet may be difficult to understand or memorize, such as important dates for the country’s history. However, the study guide uses words and illustrations to convey essential information you will need to pass the Canada citizenship test.
5. Prepare Your Documents
After studying and taking practice tests, you’ll need to appear in person to take your test at the location and date on your notice to appear letter. You will need to bring the following documents to the test site:
- Two forms of government-issued identification, with one having your signature and photo
- Your notice to appear letter
- Permanent resident card
- All current and expired travel documents you mention in the citizenship application
- A diploma, degree, or transcript that proves your language skills for English and French
Start Your Canadian Citizenship on the Right Foot
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