Want Canadian dual citizenship or nationality? Read this guide.

21.12.17
5 minute read
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Moving to Canada? Or perhaps you’re a Canadian living abroad. Either way, you might be looking into taking the next step and confirming your allegiance to your new home. Here’s a guide on how to do that if you’re interested in taking this step.

Can you have dual citizenship in Canada?

Yes, you can, as long as you meet the requirements. If both Canada and your other country will recognize your dual citizenship, then you can go for it.

Of course, you’ll only be able to do this if you’re eligible for Canadian citizenship. You’re probably eligible if you were born there or have a Canadian parent, or if you’re a permanent resident who has lived in the country for most of the past five years, and you meet a few other criteria as well - the Canadian government website has full information on citizenship eligibility.

Which major countries don’t allow dual citizenship with Canada?

Canada itself recognizes dual citizenship, but it’s not necessarily a two-way street. And there are some countries that don’t permit their citizens to assume a second nationality. If you’re from Austria, India, Japan, China, the Netherlands or Norway - or various other countries - you might have to give up that citizenship if you want to become a Canadian.

And vice versa: if you’re a Canadian hoping to assume citizenship of one of those countries, you'll probably have to give up your Canadian citizenship.

Which major countries do allow dual citizenship with Canada?

On the other hand, many other countries do let you assume a second citizenship with countries including Canada. These include Australia, France, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, the UK and the US to name a few. You should always check the nationality laws of the country in question, though, as it can get complicated.

Can you get triple citizenship in Canada?

Yes - it’s legal for Canadians to hold other citizenships in general. It’s not restricted to just one or two but you may be limited by the restrictions of the other countries involved.

How many nationalities are you actually allowed to have?

There’s no actual limit. Simply put, Canada doesn’t require you to give up any other citizenships that you hold, if you become a Canadian citizen. So, theoretically, the sky’s the limit.

How can you lose Canadian citizenship?

If you want to become a citizen of a country that doesn’t allow multiple citizenships, you’ll have to give up your Canadian citizenship first. You can only do this legally if you have another citizenship waiting for you, and you’re an adult, living abroad. There are a few other catches too - the Canadian government website has full details on renouncing your citizenship.

What are the actual steps to becoming a citizen of Canada?

The first thing to do is to find out if you’re eligible for Canadian citizenship. Assuming that you’re not eligible for citizenship by birth or parentage, you’ll need to meet the following conditions:

  • You’re a permanent resident of Canada - that is, a foreign national who has the right to stay in Canada permanently.
  • You’ve lived in Canada for at least 1095 days in the past 5 years - any days spent in the country on a non-permanent visa count as half-days.
  • You’ve filed your taxes as required by law for at least three years.
  • You can get by in English or French.
  • You pass a citizenship test.
  • Your criminal record doesn’t prevent you from becoming a citizen.

There are full details on citizenship eligibility on the government website.

If you think you’re eligible, take the following steps:

  1. Get an application package. Make sure it’s the right one, as they’re different depending on your age and status.
  2. Fill in the application package and compile all the necessary documents.
  3. Pay the fees online - for an adult they total CA$630.
  4. Submit your application.

How long does it take to become a Canadian citizen?

They should process your application within 12 months - but don’t discount the time it will take you to fill out the application too. It’ll pay to plan well ahead. In truly urgent situations, it might be possible to do it in less time.

If I’m obtaining dual citizenship, do I need to inform both countries of my new citizenship, or do the countries themselves do that?

This depends on both countries involved, not just Canada. Canada is comparatively relaxed about permitting dual citizenship, but you should find out all the relevant information from the other country involved as well, and inform them as necessary.

Juggling lives between two nations? Want to save money? TransferWise borderless multi-currency accounts could help.

Living a life across borders is hard enough. Trying to manage your finances internationally can be just as hard as sorting out visa and citizenship issues - especially if you often need to make transfers into other countries, whether to your own bank accounts internationally, or to others for work or personal reasons. If you transfer money internationally using a bank, you’ll find yourself at the mercy of high exchange rates and horrific fees.

A borderless multi-currency account from TransferWise can make things a lot easier. It allows you to hold money in multiple currencies without paying costly conversion fees each time, and you can make international transfers anytime you like at the same exchange rate the banks use to trade between themselves. The low fee for transfers is always stated upfront, so you also cut back on the unexpected hidden costs that banks often charge. What’s more, from early 2018 there will be consumer debit cards, making it even easier to use money internationally.

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Good luck with getting a dual Canadian citizenship!

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