How the Pandemic Has Impacted the Canadian Citizenship Process
Updated: Jul 24
Before the pandemic, Canada aimed to welcome approximately 340,000 permanent residents on a yearly basis. Now, the Immigration Levels Plan intends on welcoming about 450,000 each year by 2024—starting with the 431,645 permanent residents who will be entering Canada in 2022!
Naturally, many of these permanent residents will apply for Canadian citizenship once they are eligible. Canadian citizenship has seen some big delays due to COVID-19, which has sparked some concerns in terms of processing times and how COVID regulations might affect the success of one’s application.
Before You Apply
To become a Canadian citizen you must:
Have permanent residency
Have lived in Canada for 3 out of the past 5 years
Have filed your taxes (if applicable)
Prove language proficiency
Successfully complete a citizenship test
The first step is to ensure that you meet all the requirements for the application package that fits your case. Then, you must decide whether you will apply online or using a paper application. Please keep in mind that, although the Canadian government is working toward giving more applicants the opportunity to apply online, only those who meet the criteria outlined here will be able to.
Longer Processing Times
The processing time for Canadian citizenship is approximately 27 months, as it is taking longer for applications to be marked as complete and for applicants to subsequently receive their acknowledgement of receipt (AOR) letter or email with their application number. Although the time for processing an application is about 27 months as noted above, as a trend, our clients are seeing applications processed in about 1 year, as was the case before the pandemic. The approximate time for processing is 27 months as mentioned above, as a trend, our clients are seeing applications being processed in about 1 year, as was the case pre-pandemic. Receiving your AOR is important because you need it in order to check the status of your application online. Although processing times can vary depending on the nature of your application, it is in your best interest to stay updated and informed about your application here.
Citizenship Events: Moving From In-Person to Online
In addition to processing times, COVID-19 has impacted the format of citizenship events and tests. All in-person interviews and tests have been cancelled until further notice, so citizenship tests are now being offered online. If you would not like to take the test online, you have the option of waiting until in-person tests resume. In lieu of an in-person citizenship ceremony, applicants are invited to attend video oath ceremonies to commemorate such a special moment in a virtual setting. Please keep in mind that you must receive an invitation before participating in any citizenship events.
After You Apply
Once your application has been received, an immigration officer will assess if it is complete. If it is complete, you will receive your AOR, which includes your unique client identifier (UCI). If it is incomplete, you will be informed if any documents or fees are missing and the next steps that will be required of you so that you can resubmit your application.
While you may leave Canada after submitting your application be sure that you:
Maintain your permanent residency
Can receive mail, parcels and emails regarding your application
Can reply to received mail and emails within the designated time (usually within 30 days)
Will be available to attend your citizenship test, interview, and ceremony in person
(Note: you may take your citizenship test online outside of Canada as long as you email the address in the Eligibility section of your invitation. The subject line should be: “Outside Canada - Citizenship Test” and the body should include: your full name, application, and the start and end date of your test).
Let’s Navigate the Process Together
When applying for Canadian citizenship, it is important to remain patient, hopeful, aware of any changes in the process, and to ensure that you have completed your application entirely to prevent any unnecessary delays. We understand that navigating the pandemic has been a challenge for our world at large and for individuals, such as yourself reading this blog post. Therefore, we take pride in offering insight and empathetic support to those applying for Canadian citizenship.
Calver Immigration Consulting Inc. is rated Canada's number one boutique immigration consultancy. We serve clients across Canada and internationally. Our Registered Canadian Immigration Consultant has over 10 years of experience in Canadian Immigration law and over four years of experience serving those in Canada and abroad.
We can assist with applications for both temporary and permanent residency in Canada. We handle applications for study permits, permanent residency, family class sponsorship, visitor visas, work permits, and Canadian citizenship. We also handle criminal inadmissibility cases by developing remedies for refusal.
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