Mar 21, 2023Citizenship
How to Acquire U.S. and Canadian Citizenship?
A comprehensive guide on U.S. and Canadian citizenship
U.S. CitizenshipAcquiring U.S. citizenship can be a lengthy and challenging process, but it is worth the effort for many individuals. Becoming a citizen of the United States provides a wealth of benefits, including the right to vote, access to certain government benefits, and the ability to travel with a U.S. passport. If any of the following situations apply to you, you are likely a U.S. citizen:
- You possess a birth certificate issued by a U.S. state.
- You were born in a U.S. territory and have a birth certificate issued by that territory. If you don't have a birth certificate from your birth territory, you may be able to establish your citizenship status using alternative documentation.
- You were born outside of the U.S. to at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen, and your birth was recorded by the U.S. Embassy or consulate in that country.
- Hold a Permanent Resident (Green) Card for a minimum of five years or for at least three years if you're applying as the spouse of a U.S. citizen.
- Be 18 years of age or older at the time of application.
- Possess the ability to read, write, and speak basic English.
- Exhibit good moral character.
- Complete the 10-step naturalization process, which involves determining your eligibility for American citizenship, filling out Form N-400 (the naturalization application), attending a biometrics appointment, completing an interview, and passing a civics and English language test.
Canadian CitizenshipBecoming Canadian citizenship is a significant step towards making Canada your permanent home, enjoying all the rights and benefits of it, such as voting, healthcare, and social services. There are various methods of acquiring a Canadian citizen. Even if you may be born as a Canadian, it’s always important to obtain and keep your proof of citizenship. Moreover, there may be situations where you believe you automatically became a Canadian citizen, but in reality, you have not. In such cases, you may be qualified to apply for citizenship. If any of the following conditions apply to you, you are probably a Canadian citizen:
- You were born in Canada.
- You acquired citizenship under the exceptions of the Citizenship Act. (Example: Indigenous people of Canada)
- You applied for and were granted Canadian citizenship, also known as naturalization.
- You received Canadian citizenship as a minor when your parent or legal guardian applied on your behalf.
- You were born outside of Canada, and at least one of your parents (either your biological or legal parent at birth) was born in Canada or became a naturalized citizen before birth.
- You were born in Canada to foreign diplomats.
- Your citizenship was revoked.
- You voluntarily renounced your Canadian citizenship and did not pursue the process of reacquiring it.
- Marry a Canadian citizen.
- Are adopted by a Canadian citizen.
- Have a successful refugee claim.
- Reside in Canada for a prolonged period of time as a permanent resident.
- Were born outside of Canada on or after April 17, 2009, to Canadian parent(s) who were neither born nor naturalized in Canada.
- You must be a permanent resident of Canada.
- You must have resided in Canada for at least three out of the last five years.
- You must have filed your taxes, if applicable.
- You must pass a citizenship test.
- You must demonstrate your proficiency in language skills.
Birth TourismBirth tourism refers to the practice of travelling to a foreign country, such as the USA or Canada, for the purpose of giving birth so that the child born there can obtain citizenship of that country. As we mentioned, birthright citizenship is guaranteed by their respective constitutions in both the USA and Canada. Children born in these countries are automatically considered citizens, regardless of the nationality or legal status of their parents. However, birth tourism is a controversial practice and is not explicitly illegal in either country as of today. In the USA, it is legal to enter the country on a tourist visa and give birth, but if authorities suspect that a person has lied about the purpose of their visit, their visa may be revoked. In Canada, it is also legal to give birth while on a tourist visa.