Canadian Immigration introduces new citizenship documentation

From 1 February 2012 Canadian Immigration and Citizenship (CIC) has started issuing new citizenship documents to new citizens in an effort to cut down on fraud. CIC will no longer produce the current plastic wallet-sized citizenship certificate or the commemorative certificate and will instead provide new citizens with a letter-sized paper citizenship certificate. The new paper certificate features information that can be validated through a new electronic validation system.

According to CIC, the new certificate contains a unique number and basic information about its holder, such as names, date of birth and gender. This allows other government departments to validate citizenship information via an electronic validation system, reducing the possibility of citizenship fraud.

It is important to note that the certificate is a legal status document, not an identity document or a travel document. Also, Canadian citizenship certificates issued before 1 February 2012 are still valid. Holders do not need to apply for a replacement.

In order to apply for Canadian citizenship, you must meet the following requirements:
  • Age: You must be at least 18 years old to apply for Canadian citizenship, unless your parent or guardian is applying on your behalf.
  • Permanent resident status: To become a Canadian citizen, you must have permanent resident status in Canada. This can be gained through different immigration programs such as the Provincial Nomination Program or Skilled Worker Immigration.
  • Time lived in Canada: You must have lived in Canada for at least three years in the past four years before applying. Children under the age of 18 do not need to meet this requirement. You may be able to count time you spent in Canada before you became a permanent resident if that time falls within the four-year period.
  • Language abilities: You need to have adequate knowledge of English or French in order to become a Canadian citizen.
  • Criminal history: You cannot have been convicted of a crime in the three years prior to your application submission date.
  • Knowledge of Canada: To become a citizen, you must understand the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, such as the right and responsibility to vote in elections.
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