What it Takes to Become a Canadian Citizen

Heather Saxon, Reporter

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In the wake of recent political events involving a new, controversial president, the biggest joke has become some people’s newest reality; moving to Canada.
Unfortunately for many Americans, moving to Canada is not as easy as it might seem. There is a difference between Temporary Residency and Permanent Residency, as well as dual citizenship and immigration, so let’s start there.Stories have been popping up more and more on the internet about Americans that have made the move to Canada due to the stressful political climate, and when one reads these articles it’s hard to find someone that regretted their move. So many more Americans are, likely, considering the move; if you are one of them, but know basically nothing about immigration, let’s hope this article can lay a foundation for you to build upon while you consider how, or if, you’re really going to permanently change your life.
Before I go on, let it be known there are reasons that someone can be deemed “inadmissible”, or barred from entering the country, even for a short visit. The reasons are listed below, and were found on the official website for the Government of Canada:
you are a security risk,
you have committed human or international rights violations,
you have been convicted of a crime, or you have committed an act outside Canada that would be a crime,
you have ties to organized crime,
you have a serious health problem,
you have a serious financial problem,
you lied in your application or in an interview,
you do not meet the conditions in Canada’s immigration law, or
one of your family members is not allowed into Canada.
Alright, first I’ll address Temporary Residency. Temporary Residency is as it sounds; you intend to be/live in the country for a limited amount of time, eventually returning to your birth country. You will need a Temporary Residency Visa, which can actually be obtained through the Government of Canada website, requiring a credit/debit card to pay the application fee (nonrefundable $200) and a scanner so you can provide the proper documents (I was unable to get far enough to see exactly what documents since I’m not applying myself). After obtaining the Visa, you can use this to apply for a permit, which lasts the length you specify that you intend to be in Canada- a week for a meeting, or a couple months for school, etc. If you want to get out of America for a period of time using a Temporary Residency permit, then the only way really is to get accepted to a Canadian college and go for the next 4 years, or find a job in Canada and keep it for the duration of this presidency.

Now, if you really want to get out of America for a while-say the next 4+ years-then you need to apply for Permanent Residency. This is different from becoming a Canadian Citizen; as a Permanent Resident you hold most the rights of a Canadian citizen, except you “cannot vote, hold office, or hold some jobs that require high-level security clearance” In order to be able to apply for Permanent Residency status you have to have lived in Canada for two out of the last five years. So as long as you own, or claim to live in a house located in Canada, you can eventually apply for Permanent Residency, and as long as you keep residence there at least part of the time, you can continue to claim residency in Canada and be an American citizen.

But if you’re completely done with America and being American on paper, you can completely renounce your claim to American citizenship by becoming a Canadian Citizen. This requires you to first become a Permanent Resident and then pass the Canadian Citizenship test. This allows you to vote, access Canadian health care, and to hold higher level jobs. Though if you do intend to become a citizen, you will have to learn to speak/understand at least conversational French. You also cannot have been convicted of a crime in the last 4 years, be on probation, or awaiting trial. Lastly you’ll have to teach yourself a reasonable amount about Canadian history, values, institutions and symbols used such as road signs or otherwise.

Now if you don’t like the idea of having to live in Canada a certain amount of time every five years, or don’t want to renounce your American citizenship (which you can never get back, by the way) there is one final option, but it is only available to certain individuals: Dual citizenship. Dual citizenship is where a person holds citizenship in two countries. Dual citizens can travel freely between the two countries, live and work in either country, get healthcare in either country, vote in both, and generally have to abide by the laws of both of them. Usually dual citizenship is granted at birth, and only available to someone who was born in one country and moved to the other. Due to the proximity of Canada to the United States, however, it is possible that, if one or both of your parents were born Canada or are dual citizens themselves, that you yourself could become a dual citizen. Whether or not you can depends largely on the laws about immigration/citizenship in place during your birth, so just put in some research and perhaps you’ll have an easy pass out of America when you need it.

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What it Takes to Become a Canadian Citizen