Canadian Citizenship Eligibility: Physical Presence and Day Count

Citizenship day count and physical presence.

Chukwudi is a Nigerian national and a permanent resident in Canada for the past two years. Previously a foreign worker, he now aspired to become a Canadian citizen. Gazing at his citizenship application, he was unsure if his physical presence in Canada, including those initial working years, met the 1,095-day requirement for eligibility. This was more than just a formality for Chukwudi. It was the culmination of his journey towards fully embracing the Canadian dream.

The basic requirements for citizenship applications

When you apply for Canadian citizenship, you must show the following:

  • Hold Permanent Resident Status: Ensure you have legal status as a permanent resident in Canada. Moreover, avoid immigration or fraud investigations and fulfill all conditions of your PR status.
  • Meet Physical Presence Criteria: Be physically present in Canada for at least 1,095 days during the five years before you apply. However, it is wise to exceed this minimum to avoid any miscalculations.
  • Count Temporary Residency and Protected Person Status: You can count days spent in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person. Nonetheless, each day counts as half, up to 365 days.
  • File Income Taxes: File Canadian income taxes for at least 3 of the five years before applying.
  • Demonstrate Language Proficiency: If you are 18 to 54, prove your English or French skills. It would be best if you met the level 4 Canadian Language Benchmarks. However, the focus is on listening and speaking only.
  • Pass the Citizenship Test: Applicants aged 18 to 54 must pass a test about Canadian citizens’ rights, responsibilities, and knowledge areas.
  • Commit to the Oath of Citizenship: If approved and aged 14 or older, take the Oath of Citizenship.
  • Ensure No Prohibitions Apply: Check if any legal issues, like crimes committed in or outside Canada, might affect your eligibility. Furthermore, serving a term of imprisonment, parole, or probation does not count as residence.

These are general guidelines, and individual circumstances might lead to additional requirements. Moreover, the current article focuses on residency requirements only.

The bare minimum physical presence to initiate the citizenship application

Do not initiate the citizenship application if you fall short on any of the following:

  • At least 730 days of being a permanent resident in the past five years
  • At least 1095 physical presence in Canada in the past five years

If you do not meet any of the above criteria, you may not apply. However, if you meet them both, continue reading.

You have legal status as a temporary resident in Canada if you have been one of the following.

To be more precise, the following people do not hold valid legal status in Canada.

The qualifying period for physical presence calculations

The qualifying period ends one day before submitting your application and starts five years before that date. Here is a hypothetical example:

  • Citizenship application submission date: Jan 1, 2025
  • End date for physical presence calculations: Dec 31, 2024
  • Start date for physical presence calculations: Jan 1, 2020

In this scenario, you may only calculate your physical presence between Jan 1, 2020, and Dec 31, 2024. Do not apply if you do not meet the residency requirements within the qualifying period. Moreover, applying only if you exceed the minimum standards is in your best interest.

When did I become a permanent resident?

You need to look at one of the following documents to identify the date you became a permanent resident:

  • The back of your PR card
  • Box 45 of the Record of Landing (IMM 1000)
  • Box 45 or 46 or the specified date on COPR (IMM 5292 or IMM 5509)
  • The specified date on eCOPR

How to calculate the physical presence dates

IRCC has an online calculator that helps you calculate your dates, but consider the following:

  • Only consider the qualifying period. Therefore, you must know the date you will apply.
  • For every day as a permanent resident in Canada, add one day.
  • If you had legal temporary status in Canada, add half a day for every day you were present in Canada. However, you may not exceed 365 days.
  • To avoid future disappointments, do not consider those days that you are in doubt. For example, if you travel from or to Canada, do not count the days you were in the airport or crossed the border.
  • Do not count the days that you spent outside Canada for any reason.
  • Do not count the days that you spent in prison, penitentiary, or other forms of penal confinement.

Only apply if you exceed 1,095 days of physical presence in the qualifying period.

Let us help!

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    Al Parsai

    This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.