Considered an honour, the reason why people enter Canada is to get citizenship. Their desire to pursue a new life by leaving their home country, language, relatives, culture, and beliefs eventually makes them Canadian on all fronts. People can become Canadians either by birth or through naturalization. Naturalization is defined as citizenship by way of a grant by the Canadian Citizenship Act.

Who is a Canadian By BIRTH?

A person is a Canadian by birth in two ways. First, if the person is born in Canada itself. However, if one of the parents is a foreign country employee or diplomat and the other parent is not a Canadian citizen or its permanent resident, that person isn't considered a Canadian by birth.

Second, if the person is born outside Canada but at least one of their parents is a first-generation Canadian. A first-generation Canadian is a person who is either born inside Canada or became a Canadian through naturalization.

Who is a Naturalized Citizen?

If you immigrated to Canada first and applied after a few years to become a Canadian citizen, you're considered naturalized.  For example, according to the existing Canadian regulations, if you are a landed immigrant and have spent at least three years in the past five years in Canada, you can apply for Canadian citizenship.

As the next steps, you usually have to submit some documents, pass a citizenship test, and eventually take the Oath of Citizenship or rather attend the Citizenship ceremony.

Children under 18-years of age could become naturalized citizens after their parents become Canadians.

What are the differences between naturalized and born citizens?

Both categories of citizens have the same duties and rights. The federal & provincial laws and courts deal with naturalized and born citizens equally. Hence, nobody can treat such citizens differently. Nonetheless, the following are certain differences between the two groups you should keep in mind.

  • The immigration authorities may cancel the citizenship of a naturalized citizen who receives their permanent residency or citizenship illegally.
  • A naturalized citizen can't be issued a Canadian birth certificate.
  • A naturalized citizen may be treated differently by other countries due to their place of birth regardless of their Canadian citizenship.


You must meet the following requirements to become a Canadian citizen.

However, there are additional/different requirements if:

Spouses of Canadian citizens

Marrying a Canadian doesn't make you a citizen of Canada. If you’re the spouse of a Canadian citizen, meeting the same requirements listed above (no exception) is important.

Children and grandchildren of Canadian citizens

You may be a Canadian citizen if your parents or grandparents are Canadian.


If your criminal record isn't clear in or outside Canada:

  • You are not eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship for some time.
  • Time spent in imprisonment, on parole, or probation doesn’t count towards your time spent in Canada.
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