The Top 5 Benefits of A Canadian Passport

March 27, 2024


  • Shireen Fisher

The Canadian passport consistently ranks among the most powerful in the world, granting its holders incredible travel freedom and a wealth of advantages. But how do you unlock these benefits? It all starts with Canadian citizenship.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about becoming a Canadian citizen, from understanding the key differences between permanent residency and citizenship to navigating the application process.

The Difference Between Canadian Permanent Residency and Citizenship

Not sure what the difference between Canadian Permanent Residency and Canadian Citizenship is? Here's some clarity.

Canadian Permanent Residency

Canadian Permanent Residency paves the way for a fulfilling life in Canada. It allows you to live, work, and access social programs like healthcare. However, it requires renewal and comes with travel limitations for extended absences.

Canadian Citizenship

While Canadian permanent residency offers a comfortable and fulfilling life in Canada, Canadian citizenship elevates your status to a whole new level. It transcends the concept of residence and grants you a powerful passport that unlocks a world of freedom, security, and political participation.

The Top 5 Benefits of a Canadian Passport

The Canadian passport consistently ranks among the most powerful in the world, offering many advantages that extend far beyond travel. Here are the top 5 Canadian passport benefits that unlock many possibilities for Canadian citizens.

Having the World as Your Oyster

Imagine exploring the world with minimal restrictions. The Canadian passport grants visa-free access to over 180 countries, including popular tourist destinations like the United States, Europe, and Asia. This opens doors to incredible travel experiences, allowing you to explore new cultures, embark on life-changing adventures, and forge unforgettable memories.

Boosting Your Career Prospects

A Canadian passport can be a game-changer in the global job market. Many international companies value the mobility and security that Canadian citizenship provides. This gives you a competitive edge when applying for jobs abroad, opening doors to exciting career opportunities and higher earning potential. Learn more about the top in-demand jobs in Canada.

Shaping Your Nation's Future

Canadian citizenship empowers you to participate in Canada's democracy actively. You gain the right to vote in elections, hold elected office, and have your voice heard on important issues. This allows you to contribute to shaping the future of your new home and make a positive impact on your community.

Building a Secure Future with Enhanced Social Benefits

Canadian citizenship grants access to a wider range of social programs than permanent residency. This includes top-notch healthcare, high-quality public education for your children, and social security benefits that provide a safety net and support a secure future for you and your family.

Peace of Mind With Unwavering Global Protection

Canadian citizenship offers invaluable security and protection when traveling or living abroad. The Canadian government provides consular assistance to its citizens, ensuring you have access to help in case of emergencies, legal issues, or unexpected situations. This peace of mind allows you to confidently explore the world, knowing that support is always available.

Who Can Apply For Canadian Citizenship?

With so many Canadian passport benefits, who would miss out on the chance to become a Canadian? To meet the criteria for Canadian Citizenship, you must tick the following boxes:

  • Be a permanent resident of Canada
  • Meet residency requirements: live in Canada for three out of the last five years (1,095 days)
  • File your Canadian income taxes if required (applies to most applicants)
  • Demonstrate proficiency in English or French (meeting the Canadian Language Benchmarks)
  • Pass the Canadian citizenship test
  • Take an oath of Canadian Citizenship

Let us break down each requirement.

Canadian Permanent Residency

To apply for Canadian citizenship, you must hold permanent resident (PR) status. This means your immigration status is current and free of any issues, namely:

  • No Ongoing Reviews: You should not be under investigation for immigration violations or fraud.
  • Valid Status: You cannot have a removal order in place requiring you to leave Canada.
  • Conditions Met: All requirements associated with obtaining permanent residency, such as medical checks, must be fulfilled.

Meeting Residency Requirements

To become a Canadian citizen, you must demonstrate sufficient ties to the country through residency. This means physically being in Canada for at least 1,095 days (3 years) out of the five years immediately preceding your citizenship application.

Applying With More Than 1,095 Days

Immigration Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recommends exceeding the minimum residency requirement. This provides a buffer in case of any miscalculations during the application process.

Counting Additional Qualifying Days

You might be able to include some additional days towards your residency requirement by adding:

  • Time spent in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person.
  • Time spent outside Canada while working as a Crown servant or being a family member of a Crown servant.


  • Only the five years before your application signing date are considered.
  • Double-check your calculations to meet the minimum residency requirement.

Submitting Your Tax Returns

Before applying for Canadian Citizenship, the IRCC may expect you to file a tax return for at least three years during the five years right before your application date. Learn more about taxes in Canada.

English or French Language Skills

When signing your citizenship application, the IRCC will ask you to demonstrate basic proficiency in either English or French. This applies to applicants between the ages of 18 and 54 years old. You must be able to:

  • Converse on everyday topics: Engage in simple conversations about common situations.
  • Understand basic information: Comprehend instructions, questions, and directions with ease.
  • Communicate effectively: Use essential grammar structures and tenses to express yourself clearly.
  • Build vocabulary: Possess a sufficient range of words and phrases to answer questions and participate in discussions.

The above-mentioned speaking and listening skills are equivalent to Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) level 4 for English or Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadien (NCLC) level 4 for French.

How IRCC Assesses Your Language Skills

IRCC considers your language ability through the following methods:

  • Submitted Proof: IRCC reviews language test results or completion certificates included in your application.
  • Application Process Interaction: IRCC assesses your spoken communication skills during any interactions with a citizenship officer throughout the application process.
  • Citizenship Test: In some cases, you may take a citizenship test with an official to gauge your language proficiency.

Acceptable Proof of Language Skills

IRCC accepts a variety of documents as proof of language ability. This includes:

  • Certificates
  • Diplomas
  • Approved language tests

The Canadian Citizenship Test

Applicants between 18 and 54 on the application signing date must take the Canadian citizenship test. This multiple-choice test assesses your knowledge of:

  • Canadian Values and Identity: You must understand the rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship.
  • Canadian Society: You must know Canada's history, geography, economy, and government structure.
  • Canadian Symbols: You must be familiar with significant Canadian laws and national symbols.

Your Citizenship Test Invitation

After submitting your application, you will receive an invitation to schedule your citizenship test. Here are some tips to prepare for your Canadian Citizenship Test.

The Oath of Citizenship Ceremony

The final step towards becoming a Canadian citizen is taking the oath of citizenship at a formal ceremony. You will be eligible to participate in the ceremony if:

  • You were at least 14 years old when you signed your application.
  • Your citizenship application is approved.

How to Apply For Canadian Citizenship

Most applicants can now apply online to become a Canadian citizen. If you cannot apply online, you can submit a paper application. Here are the steps you need to follow.

Step 1: Find the Right Application Package

The first step to becoming a Canadian citizen is obtaining the appropriate application package. This package includes everything you need to get started, including

  • Instruction Guide:This guide provides step-by-step instructions for completing the application process.
  • Application Forms: These forms need to be filled out accurately and submitted with your application.

Matching Your Situation

We offer different application packages depending on your circumstances. Choose the one that best applies to you.

Package Description
Adults (18 or Older) This package is for individuals applying for citizenship independently.
Parents/Guardians for Minors (Under 18) This package is for parents or legal guardians applying for citizenship on behalf of a minor child.
Minors (Under 18) Applying Alone (Without a Canadian Parent) This specific package caters to minors applying independently without a Canadian parent.
Adults who Served in Canadian Armed Forces This applies to individuals who served honorably in the Canadian Armed Forces.
Adoption by a Canadian Citizen This package is for individuals adopted by a Canadian citizen.
Stateless Person Born to a Canadian Parent This applies to stateless individuals born to a Canadian parent.

Step 2: Citizenship Application Fees

The application fees for Canadian citizenship vary depending on your age:

  • Adult (18 and Over): This fee typically includes a processing fee and a right of citizenship fee.
  • Minor (Under 18): The fee for minors is generally lower than the adult fee.

Application fees must be paid online through a secure government website. You are advised to wait until you are ready to submit your application before paying the fees.

You must print a copy of your payment receipt and include it with your completed application package. If you are submitting applications for several individuals simultaneously, you can choose to pay the fees all together (one receipt) or pay for each application separately (multiple receipts).

Step 3: Submit Your Canadian Citizenship Application

You must send the completed application form along with all required documents in the application package by mail or courier. Before sending it, remember that you must qualify for Canadian citizenship the day before you sign the application.

Here are some tips for your Canadian Citizenship application.


Will I Qualify for Canadian Citizenship if I Marry a Canadian?

No. Marrying a Canadian does not make you a Canadian citizen. To become one, you must do the same things as everyone else. There is no special process for spouses of Canadians.

You must meet some rules to apply for citizenship. You must have been in Canada for at least 1,095 days in the five years before you apply. This will include time as a permanent resident, temporary resident, or protected person. If you don't live in Canada or are not a permanent resident, your Canadian spouse can help you become one. But this does not automatically make you a citizen.

Once you are a permanent resident and have been in Canada long enough, you can apply for citizenship if you meet all the requirements.

I have Citizenship From Another Country. Can I Keep it When I Gain Canadian Citizenship?

Canada welcomes dual citizenship, meaning you can be a Canadian citizen and hold citizenship from another country.

Note that while Canada embraces dual citizenship, other countries may have different policies. Some nations might require you to renounce your existing citizenship if you become a citizen of theirs.

To confirm whether your other country of citizenship allows dual citizenship with Canada, contact their consulate or embassy. They can provide you with clear and up-to-date information.