We blinked our eyes and suddenly we’ve been here for 3 years already, and it was time to submit our Canadian Citizenship application.
Ideally, we would have applied at the beginning of July. However, due to personal circumstances, we were only able to submit our applications at the beginning of September. Yes, that’s right, we’ve already submitted our applications almost 2 months ago now. I was waiting for our AOR before writing about it, because I didn’t want to chance anything (like our applications being returned). Lol.
So. How does the Citizenship application work and how is it different from the PNP and EE applications?
Well, the biggest difference is that it’s much simpler. And compared to the mounds of documentation you need for the PNP and EE applications, the citizenship application requires around 7 documents, including the proof of payment for the application processing.
Also, the IRCC now allows you to submit your application online, if you are eligible. Currently, to be eligible to apply online, you must be a single applicant, or, if you are submitting a group application, everyone in the group must be an adult (older than 18). Otherwise, you will have to apply on paper. Note: The information and documentation required for both an online and a paper application is the same.
We chose to submit our application online because frankly, I don’t want to have to print out a whole lot of documents of which I already have digital copies of, and worry about whether or not our application would reach the CIC office in time and without anything missing (IMO Canada Post and its reliability is definitely not the greatest in the world).
I’ll go through the process step by step.
After verifying both things, I was directed to a terms and conditions page, which I read and accepted, before being able to continue to create an account.
After creating an account, and verifying my email address, I was able to start filling out the application. Just a note here, that even though we submitted a “group application”, Z and I needed to create 2 separate accounts and log in to fill in our information individually. To be able to submit the application as a “group”, I had to send him an invite to join the “group” once I had created my account.
The documents we needed to submit our application are:
- Passport Biometrics Page
- Proof of Language – we used our IELTS test results from our PNP/EE applications
- Citizenship photo – needs to be taken by a professional studio or any place that takes passport photos
- 2 Personal Identifications – we used our PR cards and driver’s licences (you can also use your Healthcare Card)
- Physical Presence Calculation
- Proof of Payment for the application processing
The above list is the minimum number of documents required for each person that is included in the application.
The application is divided into 11 sections:
- Tell us about yourself:
a. Your name, gender, height, eye colour
c. Place and country of birth
d. Marital status
e. Your UCI number
- Contact Information:
a. Your home address
b. Phone number
c. How you would like to be contacted by the IRCC
a. The digital citizenship photo
b. The name and address of the photographer/company that took the photo
c. The date the photo was taken
d. Scanned copies of the 2 personal identifications
- Residence and Tax:
a. All your addresses in the past 5 years (including any non-Canadian addresses) – so we included addresses of where we lived in the UAE before landing in Canada.
Note: You need to give the exact dates and there must be no gaps in the history. So even if you stayed at an AirBnB for 3 weeks when you first landed in Canada, you must include the dates and address for this.
b. Whether or not you filed taxes – for us, we only filed taxes for the past 3 years, since before that we lived in the UAE and it was not required
c. Your SIN number
d. Whether you have held citizenship/immigration status in any country other Canada (including your country of birth)
e. The biometrics page of any passport/travel document you hold
f. The physical presence calculation. – Remember, to be eligible for Canadian citizenship, you must have been physically present in Canada for at least 1095 days in the past 5 years.
Most people add at least another 10/20 days to this just to be sure. In our case, our physical presence in Canada was 1180 days.
Also, the end date for the calculation needs to be the day before you submit the application, otherwise, the step will show as incomplete in the application. So, for example, if you are submitting the application on 28th October, your physical presence calculation needs to be until 27th October.
Once you complete the calculation, you can save it as a PDF and upload the file in your application.
- Work, School and Activities:
a. All your work and education history for the past 5 years – again, we included our job history in the UAE since it fell within the 5 year eligibility period.
Here as well, there must be no gaps. Include any time you were unemployed, working part-time, studying, etc.
a. All answers here should ideally be ‘No’
- Language Proof:
a. Choose the proof of language you will be submitting (IELTS, TEF, etc.) – for us, it was our IELTS test records from 3 years ago (hope you guys still have yours! 😛 )
- Consent to disclose personal information after you acquire citizenship:
a. Up to you to choose ‘yes’ or ‘no’ for this
- Optional documents:
a. Here is where you would include any LoEs and/or supporting documents for your application
- Pay fee:
a. Pay your citizenship application fee online – it’s currently CAD 630 per adult, so for us, it was a total of CAD 1260.
Note 1: you must pay the fee online; there is no alternative for this.
Note 2: if you are submitting as a group, only 1 person needs to pay and upload the fee receipt. Everyone else on the application can indicate that the fee is being paid as part of a group.
b. Upload a copy your payment receipt – this will be sent to you via email as a PDF
a. Your digital signature confirming all information provided is correct.
Once everyone in your group has filled in their application (in our case, me and Z), the application will show as completed and ready for submission. Double and triple check everything before hitting submit, and make sure everyone in your group does so as well, since any mistake or missing information will cause ALL applications to be returned, and you will have to fill in everything again and resubmit.
We submitted our group application on 8th September 2022 and since it was an online application, it was marked as ‘Received’ the same day. We received confirmation via email and on our accounts to say that the application had been successfully submitted within 15 minutes of submitting.
After that, it was “Hello, the waiting game, my old friend” for us again for the AOR haha 🙂
As with our Provincial and Federal applications, some applicants who submitted their applications (whether online or on paper) at the same time or even after us, received their AORs while we were still sitting around, twiddling our thumbs, hoping that we hadn’t missed anything and that our applications would not be returned.
Anyway, after exactly 7 weeks of waiting, we finally received our AORs from CIC yesterday afternoon.
Now, we can relax a little (that at least our applications are complete and in process) and settle into the next round of waiting games while they process our applications. The current processing time show as 24 months ( 😮 ) but I have every hope in Sha Allah that it will not take that long. There is a tracker to check our application status, but currently we have been unable to create an account and log in to check. I’m not too worried, though (haha) since we have at least received our AORs and have completed at least the first step on our path to becoming Canadian citizens.
Alhumdullilah for all our blessings.