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Immigration in Canada: A Portrait of the Foreign-born Population, 2006 Census: Citizenship

Most immigrants held Canadian citizenship

To be eligible for Canadian citizenship, immigrants must meet several requirements, including at least three years of residency in Canada and knowledge of an official language. They may also be required to take a knowledge test.

The vast majority of foreign-born people who were eligible for Canadian citizenship chose to become Canadian. In 2006, 85.1% of eligible foreign-born people were Canadian citizens, a slight increase from 83.9% in 2001.

Those who had been in Canada the longest were the most likely to hold Canadian citizenship, as they had had more time to make the decision to apply for it. The vast majority (94.1%) who arrived before 1961 had Canadian citizenship. Similarly, 89.1% of those who came in the 1960s and 1970s had become naturalized citizens. The proportion of naturalized citizens was lower (84.1%) among those who arrived in the 1990s.

When asked about their citizenship intention six months after landing in Canada, the vast majority (91%) of the respondents in the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada expressed their intent to settle in Canada permanently and become Canadian citizens. Four years later, 15% of the newcomers who were interviewed once again had obtained Canadian citizenship.

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