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New Citizenship Residence Criteria Reduces Physical Presence in Canada to Three Out of Five Years Starting October 11, 2017

Following the recent amendments to the Citizenship Act that came into effect on June 19, 2017, the Government of Canada has confirmed that additional amendments will be coming into effect on October 11, 2017, further easing the criteria to apply for Canadian citizenship.

These new changes will narrow the age requirement for meeting the language and knowledge criteria as well as the physical presence requirement for Canadian citizenship.

The new changes will come into effect on October 11, 2017, on which day the new application forms and guidelines will also be made available by the Government of Canada. As such, potential applicants wishing to benefit from the new criteria will have to wait until after the changes come into effect to submit their applications.

The following changes are to take effect on October 11, 2017:

  • The requirement to be physically present in Canada prior to applying for citizenship will be reduced to three out of five years from the current requirement of four out of six years.
  • Applicants will no longer have to be physically present in Canada for 183 days during four out of the six years preceding their application, as this provision will be repealed.
  • Applicants will be able to count each day they were physically present in Canada as temporary residents (for example as students or work permit holders) or protected persons before becoming permanent residents as half-days towards meeting their physical presence requirement for citizenship, up to a maximum 365-day credit, within five years preceding the date of their application.
  • The requirement to file Canadian Income taxes, if required under the Income Tax Act, will be reduced to three out of five years from the current requirement of four out of six years prior to applying for citizenship.
  • The age range in which applicants must meet the language and knowledge requirement to be granted Canadian citizenship will be reduced from ages 14 to 64 to between ages 18 and 54.

Moreover, the following further significant changes are expected to take effect in late 2017 and 2018:

  • The Federal Court will become the decision-maker for all citizenship revocation cases, including in types of cases previously under the Minister’s authority, unless the individual requests the Minister make the decision.
  • Citizenship Officers will have authority under the Citizenship Act to seize fraudulent or suspected fraudulent documents.

For further information please contact Jacqueline Bart or Lili Pach at BartLAW.