CIC announces changes to citizenship applications

Applicants for Canadian citizenship who fail their first citizenship test will now have the opportunity to rewrite the test rather than wait for an appointment with a citizenship judge, Citizenship and Immigration Canada announced yesterday.

Citizenship Tests

Citizenship Tests

In the past, individuals who failed their knowledge test would be required to wait a number of months for an appointment with a citizenship judge, who would make a final decision on their case. However, applicants will now be informed of their results immediately following their test. Individuals who fail but have met all other criteria will be provided with a date to rewrite the test a few weeks later. Those who pass their test will be scheduled for a citizenship ceremony.

“The Government of Canada remains committed to maintaining Canada’s tradition of high numbers of permanent residents taking up full citizenship, and this is one of many recent improvements that have been made to the citizenship process to ensure the timely welcoming of new citizens,” said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney. “Since 2006, Canada has welcomed the highest sustained levels of immigration in Canadian history. Accordingly, the demand for citizenship has increased by 30 percent, with Canada averaging approximately 200,000 new citizens each year.”

Moreover, individuals who are currently waiting to see a citizenship judge because they had previously failed the test will also be invited to rewrite the test.  

Minister Kenney also announced that all family members listed on one application no longer need to be approved at the same time. Previously, there were cases where all family members who had applied together were held up in obtaining citizenship when only one family member had failed a knowledge or language test. Successful applicants will now be informed that they may have their applications processed independent of other family members. As such, fewer people will need to wait for their applications to be processed and can proceed directly to being granted citizenship.

These changes means shorter wait times for some citizenship applicants.

“We know that newcomers look forward to acquiring their Canadian citizenship and we are committed to helping qualified applicants acquire this privilege in a timely manner,” said Minister Kenney.  “Together, these measures combined will result in faster processing of citizenship applications.”

In order to be eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship, an immigrant must be classed as a permanent resident and must have resided in the country for at least three years (1,095 days) in the past four years prior to applying.

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