There is no specific requirement that applicants for grant of Canadian citizenship (naturalisation) should intend to reside in Canada after becoming citizens. Hence it is theoretically possible to leave Canada after submitting application for citizenship and still become a citizen.
- Firstly, it is necessary to remain legally a permanent resident of Canada (under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act definition) until sworn in as a Canadian citizen. This is less of an issue than it was before the 2002 reforms to the immigration law, but is still relevant.
- Secondly, and importantly, CIC citizenship division will apparently not send correspondence to a non-Canadian address. Nor is it possible normally to sit for the citizenship test, and take the oath of citizenship, at a Canadian Embassy or High Commission.
- Hence, if you leave Canada before becoming a citizen, you will need to leave a reliable contact address and be prepared to return at short notice for the test and ceremony (usually two separate dates). If you do not respond to communications from CIC, they will assume you are no longer interested in becoming a citizen and can close your file.
- CIC don't like people doing this and if they decided to put your application on hold indefinitely, you would not be able to do much about it. Or they could refuse you anyway and it would be your problem to work out how to fight it in court.
In practice, it is almost unknown for anyone to successfully become a Canadian citizen by grant (through the normal process requiring 3 years residence) if such person leaves Canada before becoming sworn in as a Canadian citizen.