Canada introduces changes to Citizenship Act

Ahmed Hussen

OTTAWA – Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed  Hussen, has announced changes to the Citizenship  Act which came into effect yesterday (October 11).

Hussen who made the announcement last week, said amendments to the Act are the fulfillment of a central Liberal election platform plank that promised to rid the Act of ” unnecessary barriers ” to citizenship faced by permanent residents.

A news release from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada  said  important changes to physical presence and the age required to meet language and knowledge requirements for permanent residents who are applying for citizenship, came into effect on October 11, 2017.

The new requirements give more flexibility to both younger and older eligible  immigrants to obtain citizenship,”  the news release noted.

The following are some of the changes:

  • Applicants must be physically present in Canada for three out of five years before applying for citizenship, instead of previous four out of six years.
  • Applicants no longer have to be physically present in Canada for 183 consecutive days in four out of the six years preceding their application, so they can now travel for things such as work or education.
  • Applicants may count each day they were physically present in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person before becoming a permanent resident as a half-day toward meeting the physical presence requirement for citizenship, up to a maximum credit of 365 days.
  • Applicants between 18 and 54 years must meet the language and knowledge requirements for citizenship instead of the previous 14 to 64-year-old age range.
  • Applicants must file Canadian income taxes, if required to do so under the Income Tax Act, for three out of five years, matching the new physical presence requirement.

More changes to the Citizenship Act are expected to take effect later this year and in early 2018.


The minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship noted that one of the strongest  pillars for successful successful integration into Canadian life is achieving Canadian citizenship and becoming part of the Canadian family.

“The Government encourages all immigrants to take the path towards citizenship and take advantage of everything that being a Canadian has to offer,” he said.