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Canadian Citizenship Law Changes: Longer Wait

If you are a Canadian Permanent Resident, be aware of the proposed changes. Otherwise you may have to wait longer to become a Canadian citizen, pay increased fees and be subject to other requirements currently not in place.

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Canadian Citizenship Law Changes: Longer Wait
Posted on February 8, 2014 | Canada

Canadian Citizenship Law Changes: Longer Wait

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced plans for first major reforms to Canadian Citizenship Act since 1977.

The proposed changes, below are part of Bill C-24, pending before the Canadian Parliament.

  • Residency and Citizenship:
    1. Permanent residents would have to wait for another year to apply for citizenship. Currently immigrants need to maintain a “physical presence” in Canada for three out of four years.  The proposed law will require immigrants to spend a minimum of 183 days in the country per year in four out or six years. And, time spent in Canada as a temporary resident will not count towards citizenship residency requirements.
    2. The immigrant must also declare the intent to reside in Canada. 
    3. Immigrants who join the Canadian Armed Forces shall be eligible for fast-track citizenship application processing. 
    4. Expand citizenship by descent to children born to Crown citizens working abroad.
    5. International adoption by Canadian citizens must comply with the Hague Convention on inter-country adoption.
  • Fee Increase for Citizenship Applications. Effective February 6, 2014, the processing fee for adult grant (including adult adoption) and adult resumption applications has increased. The new processing fee ($300) plus the right of citizenship fee ($100) for a total of $400.
  • Language and knowledge for younger and older immigrants: Extending the age range of permanent residents required to prove language proficiency. The current age range is 18 to 54.  The proposed age range will be from 14 to 64.  
  • Pay Taxes. Adult applicants need to file Canadian income taxes to be eligible for citizenship, a requirement which currently doesn't exist.
  • Criminality: Immigrants charged or convicted or serious crimes outside Canada would be ineligible for citizenship. Currently only those with domestic criminal charges and convictions are prevented from becoming Canadian.
  • Terrorists, Enemies: Dual nationals who are members of an armed force or group which engages in conflict with Canada, and dual nationals convicted of terrorism, high treason, or spying offences could be stripped of their Canadian citizenship.
  • Penalty for Citizenship Fraud. A regulatory body will be created; penalties for citizenship fraud increased and streamlined processing of revoking citizenship in exceptional cases.

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