Questions & Answers

  • Q. What are the requirements to apply for Canadian citizenship?
  • Q. Can I get my citizenship application (grant of citizenship) processed urgently?
  • Q. Can I work in Canada?
  • Q. What is a Labour Market Impact Assessment?
  • Q. What are the recent changes to the spousal sponsorship program?

A. In order to become a Canadian citizen, you must meet a minimum set of requirements to apply for citizenship depending on your situation:

  • You must be an adult, 18 years of age or older, a permanent resident of Canada applying for yourself or for your minor (under 18) child;
  • A current or former member of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) applying under the fast-track process;
  • Someone who used to be a Canadian citizen, including current and former CAF members, and wants to get your Canadian citizenship back; or
  • A Canadian applying for citizenship for their adopted child who was born outside Canada.

Please note that there are no special requirements for spouses of Canadian citizens to apply for citizenship. Spouses of Canadians must meet the same requirements as other adults. You do not automatically become a citizen when you marry a Canadian.

A. Yes, in some cases and limited situations, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) can process applications for citizenship urgently. In order to apply for urgent processing, you must meet all the following three conditions:

  • You must be eligible to apply for citizenship;
  • You must have been a permanent resident living in Canada and have been in Canada for the required number of days (meet the residence requirement) before you submit your application; and
  • There must be some emergency situation that requires you to become a citizen quickly, such as, the inability to apply for a job or could lose your job because you are not a Canadian citizen; the inability to go to a Canadian school, college or university because you are not a Canadian citizen; if you need to travel because of death or serious illness in the family or your own serious illness and cannot get a passport in your current nationality; or if you received a decision on a previous application for citizenship that you successfully appealed to the Federal Court.

Please note that even if you qualify, IRCC can’t guarantee that they will process your application urgently. It is highly recommended that you submit a letter explaining the reason for the urgency along with your citizenship application as well as a proof of urgency (e.g. a doctor’s note, death certificate, or letter from your employer).

A. This depends on a few factors, such as, the job you want to do and the program and the category under which you are applying. In most cases, you will need any number of the following:

  • A positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), which is a document from Employment and Social Development Canada that says the employer is allowed to hire you, if your job requires an LMIA;
  • A proof that your employer has submitted an offer of employment through the Employer Portal if your job does not require an LMIA;
  • A proof that you are certified, accredited or qualified to work in the specific occupation;
  • A visa to travel to Canada;
  • A work permit letter of introduction from a Canadian visa office; and
  • A work permit issued at the border and usually stamped into your passport.

A. A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document that an employer in Canada may need to get before hiring a foreign worker. If the employer needs an LMIA, they must apply for one.

A. positive LMIA will show that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job. It will also show that no Canadian worker is available to do the job. A positive LMIA is sometimes called a “confirmation letter”.

Once an employer gets a positive LMIA, the foreign worker can apply for a work permit. The foreign worker will need the following in order to apply:

  • A job offer letter,
  • A contract,
  • A copy of the LMIA, and
  • An LMIA number.

A. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has recently made changes to help reducing processing times for both in-Canada and overseas sponsorship applicants. These changes include the following:

One application package for all spousal sponsorship applicants: All applicants, both in Canada and overseas, can now use the same application package and checklists.

New basic guide: Applicants can prepare their application using a shorter, more basic guide.

Personalized document checklist: Applicants can use one of four checklists (based on who is being sponsored) to find out which forms and documents they need to submit.

Simplified relationship questionnaire: The new questionnaire is easier to understand and has fewer questions.

Medical exam: Applicants no longer need to submit medical exams up front with an application. Instructions will be sent to the applicant when a medical exam is needed.

Police certificates: Applicants need to provide only the police certificates from:

  • The country where they currently live; and
  • The country where they have spent most of their adult life since the age of 18 (if different from the country where they live).

IRCC will request other police certificates only if needed.

Express Entry:

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) chooses skilled immigrants as permanent residents based on their ability to settle in Canada and take part in Canada’s economy. There is a system to manage how people with skilled work experience apply to immigrate to Canada. It is called Express Entry.

The Express Entry is used to manage applications for permanent residence under these federal economic immigration programs:

  • The Federal Skilled Worker Program,
  • The Federal Skilled Trades Program, and
  • The Canadian Experience Class.

Provinces and territories can also recruit candidates from the Express Entry system through their Provincial Nominee Programs to meet their local labour market needs.

The Express Entry system has two steps:

Step 1) Potential candidates complete an online Express Entry profile:

If you are a potential candidate, you will need to complete an online Express Entry profile. This is a secure form on the IRCC website that you will use to provide information about your skills, work experience, language ability, education, and other details that will help us assess them.

Those who meet the criteria of one of the federal immigration programs listed above will be accepted into a pool of candidates.

Anyone who does not already have a job offer supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) (if you need one), or a nomination from a province or territory, must register with Employment and Social Development Canada’s (ESDC) Job Bank. Job Bank will help connect Express Entry candidates with eligible employers in Canada. Candidates are also encouraged to promote themselves to employers in other ways, such as using job boards, recruiters etc.

For a job offer to be valid in Express Entry and receive points, employers will usually need an LMIA from ESDC (there are a few exceptions). Please note that if you meet the above-listed criteria for the Express Entry pool, you are not guaranteed an invitation to apply for permanent residence. All applicants for permanent residence also need to meet eligibility and admissibility requirements under Canada’s immigration law (Immigration and Refugee Protection Act).

Please note that Candidates can stay in the pool for up to 12 months. If they do not get an invitation to apply for permanent residence within 12 months of submitting an Express Entry profile, they may submit a new profile. If they still meet the criteria, they can re-enter the pool. This will prevent backlogs and ensure quick processing times.

Step 2) The highest-ranking candidates in the pool will be invited to apply for permanent residence:

Candidates will be ranked against others in the pool using a point-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System. Points are awarded using the information in their profile.

Candidates with the highest scores in the pool will be issued an invitation to apply. Candidates will be awarded points for a job offer, and/or a nomination from a province or territory, and/or skills and experience factors. A candidate can get additional points for qualifying education in Canada, a valid job offer, or a nomination by a province or territory.

These additional points can make a candidate rank high enough to be invited to apply for the next eligible round of invitations. If someone is invited to apply, they will have 90 days to submit an online application for permanent residence.

Based on previous experience, IRCC will process the majority of complete applications (meaning those with all the necessary supporting documents) in six months or less.