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What to Know About the Canadian Citizenship Test

Becoming a Canadian citizen has several advantages over permanent resident status. Unlike permanent residents, citizens can vote and work for the federal government. More importantly, however, citizenship demonstrates that an individual has embraced Canadian life and is invested in furthering the nation’s future. Passing the Canadian Citizenship Test is a requirement for immigrants who wish to become citizens.

Who Must Take the Test?

If you have lived in Canada for at least three of the last four years and wish to become a citizen, you must pass the Canadian Citizenship Test. Applicants between the ages of 18 and 54 must pass a written exam. If you are 55 and over, you can choose to sit for the written exam, but it is not required. Instead, your test can be conducted through a verbal interview.

About the Canadian Citizenship Test

The Canadian Citizenship Test takes place over 30 minutes and consists of 20 multiple choice questions. Applicants must answer at least 15 out of 20 questions correctly to obtain a passing score. Although it is a relatively short exam, it is not a test to be taken lightly. Since the test was revised in 2010, failure rates have spiked much higher than those associated with earlier versions.

Each question on the test is gleaned from the content of the test’s official study guide, Discovery Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship. This 63-page guide is accessible for free at the link above or online at the website of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Additionally, there are a number of practice tests available on the Internet, which give test-takers an idea of what to expect on testing day.

The test contains questions that cover the two main requirements for Canadian citizenship. One, applicants must display adequate knowledge of at least one of Canada’s two official languages, English or French. Two, potential citizens must demonstrate knowledge of Canada and the rights and responsibilities of its citizens.

What Happens after You Pass?

You will know the results of your test the same day you take it.

Once you pass and a citizenship judge confirms that you satisfy all the other citizenship criteria, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will send you a letter with information about your citizenship ceremony. In some cases, CIC assigns successful applicants a ceremony date the same day of the test.

Citizenship ceremonies generally occur within six months of passing the test. During the ceremony, applicants recite the Canadian Oath of Citizenship and receive their citizenship certificate.

If You Fail

According to statistics published by The Toronto Star in 2013, the failure rate for the citizenship test is roughly 30 percent.

If you fail your test, you are immediately scheduled for a retake examination. If you fail this second test, you must meet with a citizenship judge for a verbal interview. During this interview, which lasts between 30 to 90 minutes, the citizenship judge will ask you a series of questions that appear on the Citizenship Test. You must correctly answer at least 15 of these questions to pass. Upon passing, you will receive a time and date for your citizenship ceremony.

If you have questions about the citizenship test or any other aspect of the process involved in becoming a Canadian citizen, consult with an experienced immigration lawyer who can assist you.


The materials provided on this site are for information purposes only. These materials constitute general information relating to areas of law familiar to our firm lawyers. They do NOT constitute legal advice or other professional advice and you may not rely on the contents of this website as such.

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