Improving the Citizenship Application Process

Ottawa, June 3, 2013 — Citizenship applicants who  fail their first citizenship test will now have the opportunity to rewrite the  test rather than wait for an appointment with a citizenship judge, Citizenship,  Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today.

“The Government of Canada  remains committed to maintaining Canada’s tradition of high numbers of  permanent residents taking up full citizenship, and this is one of many recent  improvements that have been made to the citizenship process to ensure the  timely welcoming of new citizens,” said Minister Kenney. “Since 2006, Canada  has welcomed the highest sustained levels of immigration in Canadian history.  Accordingly, the demand for citizenship has increased by 30 percent, with  Canada averaging approximately 200,000 new citizens each year.”

In the past, individuals who  failed their knowledge test would be required to wait a number of months for an  appointment with a citizenship judge, who would make a final decision on their  case. However, as of today, applicants will be informed of their results  immediately following their test. Individuals who fail but have met all other  criteria will be provided with a date to rewrite the test a few weeks later.  Those who pass their test will be scheduled for a citizenship ceremony.

Moreover, individuals who are  currently waiting to see a citizenship judge because they had previously failed  the test will also be invited to rewrite the test.

Minister Kenney also announced  that all family members listed on one application no longer need to be approved  at the same time. Previously, there were cases where all family members who had  applied together were held up in obtaining citizenship when only one family  member had failed a knowledge or language test. Successful applicants will now  be informed that they may have their applications processed independent of other  family members. As such, fewer people will need to wait for their applications  to be processed and can proceed directly to being granted citizenship.

These changes means shorter  wait times for some citizenship applicants.

In addition, with the increase  in citizenship judges, there will be more decisions on citizenship applications  and more citizenship ceremonies. Eight additional citizenship judges  have been appointed since the beginning of this year.

Under Economic Action Plan  2013, the Government of Canada announced an investment of $44 million over two years to put toward improving citizenship  processing. These funds will enable CIC to better tackle the growing demand for  citizenship grants and proofs, and assist in processing the existing inventory.

“We know that newcomers look  forward to acquiring their Canadian citizenship and we are committed to helping  qualified applicants acquire this privilege in a timely manner,” said Minister  Kenney.  “Together, these measures  combined will result in faster processing of citizenship applications.”