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Citizenship tests, timelines, oaths, eligibility, application process, requirements

Applying for Citizenship 

ForumUser
ForumUser
Posts: 540


Posted On: 1/23/2023
ForumUser
ForumUser
Posts: 540
Good Morning Sir/Madam. I am permanent resident holder in Canada. I have met the physical presence requirements for Citizenship in Canada but I spent almost a year in prison in 2014. Will this affect my application? Would applying for a pardon help me? Please advise.
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Moderator
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 4093


Posted On: 2/8/2023
Moderator
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 4093
Hello,
Thank you for sharing your question with us.

You may be prevented from becoming a Canadian citizen if you were convicted of an indictable offence in Canada, or an offence under the Citizenship Act, and your application is submitted after June 11, 2015 and the conviction took place in the four years before you apply.

Eligibility for Citizenship with a Criminal Record
As a permanent resident holder applying for Canadian citizenship you must meet all eligibility requirements for citizenship the day before you sign the application. The eligibility requirements for citizenship for adults over the age of 18 are as follows;
• must be 18 years of age or older on the day you sign the application • must be a permanent resident (landed immigrant) of Canada
• must have been physically present in Canada for at least 1,095 days in the 5 years immediately before you apply
• may need to file personal income taxes for at least 3 years within the 5-year period • must demonstrate adequate knowledge of English or French (if you are between 18 and 54 years old when you apply)
• must demonstrate you have knowledge of Canada and of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship (if you are between 18 and 54 years old when you apply - this is assessed after you apply)
• can’t have any unfulfilled conditions relating to your permanent resident status • can’t be under a removal order (asked by Canadian officials to leave Canada) • can’t be inadmissible or prohibited on criminal or security grounds


You could be prohibited from receiving Canadian citizenship due to your criminal record on criminal or security grounds. Under the Citizenship Act, you could be prohibited from obtaining citizenship after being convicted of an indictable offence in Canada or another country. If you have been convicted of an indictable offence and served your sentence to completion, you may still be eligible for citizenship if at least four years have passed since you completed serving your sentence. You must include parole and probation in this calculation. Since you completed your sentence in 2014, you will likely quality for citizenship.


However, even if your criminal record does not disqualify you for citizenship, it would help your citizenship application to seek a record suspension for the best chance of obtaining citizenship.


Applying for a Record Suspension
If you were convicted and sentenced in Canada, you could apply for a record suspension at a fee of $50.00 to be assessed by the Parole Board of Canada. A record suspension allows people who have completed their sentence and demonstrated they are law-abiding citizens to remove their criminal record from the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database. Obtaining a record suspension helps people access more employment and educational opportunities and strengthen their citizenship application.


Waiting periods and eligibility requirements differ depending on when the offence was committed. Waiting periods are calculated from the completion of your sentence, including imprisonment, probation, and the payment of any fine(s).


If you committed your offence before June 29, 2010, your waiting period is
• 5 years for any offence prosecuted by indictment.
• 3 years for any offence punishable by summary conviction.


If you committed your offence between June 29, 2010, and March 12, 2012, your waiting period is
• 10 years for any serious offence as defined by s. 752 of the Criminal Code, including ◦ Manslaughter accompanied by a prison term of two years or more, or ◦ An offence referred to in Schedule 1 of the Criminal Records Act that was prosecuted by indictment.
• 5 years for any other offence prosecuted by indictment and an offence referred to in Schedule 1 of the Criminal Records Act that is punishable on summary conviction. • 3 years for an offence other than those mentioned above that is punishable by summary conviction.


If you committed your offence on or after March 13, 2012, your waiting period is
• 10 years for an offence prosecuted by indictment.
• 5 years for an offence that is punishable by summary conviction.


If you committed your offence on or after March 13, 2012, you are ineligible for a record suspension or discharge if you
• Have been convicted of an offence referred to in Schedule 1 of the Criminal Records Act; or
• Have been convicted of more than three offences prosecuted by indictment, each with a sentence of two years or more.


The Parole Board of Canada typically processes applications within six months for offences tried by summary conviction or twelve months for offences tried by indictment.


You can find the official Parole Board of Canada record suspension application guide and forms here.


You may wish to speak with a qualified criminal lawyer to assist you with your record suspension application or citizenship application or provide you with more detailed information.
We hope this information is helpful.
Sincerely,

Your Settlement.Org team
Disclaimer:
This document does not contain legal advice. This document was prepared with the assistance of PBSC University of Toronto law student volunteers. PBSC volunteers are not lawyers and they are not authorized to provide legal advice. This document contains general discussion of certain legal and related issues only. If you require legal advice, please consult
with a lawyer.
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