Get Your Citizenship Urgently

Immigrants wait to become Canadian citizens during PanAmania via

Citizenship Ceremony during the Pan Am Games in Toronto, 2015 by Harvey K / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Do you meet the residence requirement?

Did you know that you can request urgent processing of your citizenship grant from Citizenship and Immigration Canada? There are certain conditions, however, that you must fulfil:

  • You must be eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship in the first place.
  • You must meet the residence requirement. That means you must have lived the required number of days in Canada before applying for your urgent grant of citizenship.
    • For example, if you are 18 years of age or older, you must have been physically present in Canada for at least 1065 days during the 5 years immediately preceding your application for citizenship.
    • There are exceptions to this rule for certain government employees and members of the Armed Forces, but the above rule is the general rule of thumb.
    • Children under 18 years old do not have to meet this residency requirement as long as they apply with their parents. Minors applying on their own must meet the residence requirement.
    • Please note that this means you must already be a permanent resident of Canada.
  • There must be a valid emergency that requires you to become a citizen urgently. Examples of these emergencies are:
    • You are unable to apply for a job, or are about to be fired from a job, due to a lack of Canadian citizenship.
    • You cannot attend a Canadian school, college, or university, because you are not a Canadian citizen.
    • A death or serious illness in your family abroad means you need a Canadian passport to travel, because you cannot get a passport in your previous nationality for whatever reason.
    • You have successfully appealed to the Federal Court on a previous citizenship application.

Go here to check on citizenship application times. They can be as long as 36 months for non-routine applications. IRCC (formerly CIC) has stated that, by the spring of 2016, the backlog of citizenship applications would have been worked off, and average processing times would improve.  Officially, the average processing time is now 12 months though we hear that it's often longer. It is likely that any valid emergency you face will mean you need to apply for urgent processing, as normal case processing will not be finished in time.

If you have not yet sent your application for citizenship to (IRCC), you should take the following steps:

  • Go here to download your application for Canadian citizenship.
  • Complete the application and be sure to answer all questions. Incomplete applications will not be processed and will create frustrating delays.
  • Make sure you include in the envelope (package) with your application:
    • All required supporting documentation.
    • Official-sized photographs as per specified requirements. Go here for more information on photographs.
    • Correct fees: go here for more information; you can pay online or at Canadian financial institution.
    • A written explanation detailing what the reasons are for your urgent case. You should include any documentation that supports your specific reasons and explanation.
  • Write “Request Urgent Processing – Grant of Citizenship” in large, dark letters on the envelope where it can be clearly read.
  • Mail your application package (envelope with completed application, all documents, proof of payment of fees, photographs, letter stating why your case is urgent with supporting documents if applicable) to the following addresses:

    Mailing address:
    Case Processing Centre – Sydney
    Grant Adults
    P.O. Box 7000
    B1P 6V6

    Courier address:
    Case Processing Centre, Sydney
    Grant Adults
    49 Dorchester Street
    Sydney, Nova Scotia
    B1P 5Z2

If you have already mailed your application, and now require urgent processing, you must contact an agent at the IRCC Call Centre:

  • Telephone: 1 – 888-242-2100 - Agents are available Monday to Friday 8 AM to 4 PM YOUR LOCAL TIME
  • You must call the IRCC Call Centre from within Canada (If you are outside of Canada, read this)
  • For hearing impaired or those with speech impediments, TTY service is available Monday to Friday 8 AM to 4 PM YOUR LOCAL TIME, at the following number: TTY: 1–888-576-8502

The agent will speak with you and let you know if your case can be processed urgently or not, and if your case can be processed urgently, they will tell you what steps you must then follow.

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