Updated: Feb 25, 2020
In this blog post, we would like to share the most common mistakes made when applying to become a naturalized Canadian citizen (grant of citizenship application). So if you are in the process of applying for your citizenship, we hope that you will find this information useful.
1. The physical presence in Canada of 1095 days in the past five years should be completed the day before you sign your citizenship application. It is not the case that a submitted file that is accepted into processing by IRCC, will still accumulate physical presence in Canada up to the day a final decision is made. In fact, the physical presence calculation that will be applied will be from the past five years up to 1 day before you sign the application form. In other words, if you are planning to sign the application on February 4, 2020, your physical presence will be calculated up to February 3, 2020 and not a day past even if your application is in processing with IRCC. If you are short even 1 day of the 1095 days presence in Canada, your entire application will be returned by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
2. Do not forget to include your fee payment receipt. Although you may have paid with a credit card on your name or you know you have paid the fees, IRCC will not call you for a missing payment receipt. They must enter a receipt number into GCMS notes and confirm payment which they cannot do if you do not send an actual confirmation of payment from the payment portal or a financial institution.
3. Do not miss inputting passport or travel document information and photocopies for the past five years exactly. For most people, that will mean 2 or more passports. If you did not have a passport or travel document during this time period, you must write an explanation. Simply omitting this fact and/or providing only your current passport will result in an incomplete application being returned.
4. The personal history section is requesting not just your employment history during the eligibility period but also your education history and unemployment history. All three, if applicable, should be noted. Any period on EI (Employment Insurance) could be considered an unemployment period.
5. For inland refugees, only the period that you spent in Canada after your refugee claim was approved by the Refugee Protection Division (RPD), will count towards the 1 year maximum prior to becoming a permanent resident. In other words, although you may have had a work permit as a refugee while waiting for a refugee hearing, this time does not count towards the physical presence calculation. Refused refugee claimants similarly should not count any time spent in Canada while on refugee claimant status. Each day spent in Canada on temporary resident status for non-refugees will count as half day towards the physical presence calculation up to a maximum of 1 year. In other words, workers, students and visitors who were not refugee claimants, can accumulate two years in Canada as permanent residents plus two years as temporary residents minus any time spent outside of Canada.
6. A Canadian permanent resident card does not count as an ID on a citizenship application. The kind of IDs that we typically see people using are: drivers license, ID card from a registry office for those who do not drive but do apply for a provincial ID card, health card, foreign passport. You need at least two valid IDs to apply for citizenship. Ensure that neither of the two is a PR card.
7. Language proof is necessary for applicants between the ages of 18 and 54. Academic IELTS or CELPIP which students typically use to gain admission into Canadian universities and colleges are not eligible for a citizenship application and will result in the whole application being returned back to the applicant as incomplete. If you are going to provide language test results to meet this requirement, ensure that you provide the general test version not the academic version. CELPIP has also launched an abbreviated version of the general test called CELPIP-LS which is shorter in length, less expensive and does meet the citizenship application criteria.
8. For women who do not carry their maiden name and may have changed their surname when they got married or whose name appears different then in their birth certificate, do not forget to note previous names. Similar is the case for both genders who may have applied for a legal name change and/or who have an alias or nickname.
We hope that our tips will be useful in your upcoming application for Canadian citizenship.