Pros and Cons to Getting Canadian Citizenship
This article discusses the practical benefits for permanent residents in Canada choosing to become a Canadian citizen.
This is in addition to the most important benefit, a sense of belonging and commitment to one's adopted country.
Your chance to participate in Canada's future.
- Retaining residency and avoiding deportation
Becoming a citizen is the only way to guarantee you have the right to remain in Canada. PRs are at risk of losing their status if they spend long periods of time outside the Canada or commit certain crimes. The citizenship of a naturalised Canadian citizen cannot be revoked for any crime committed after becoming a citizen.
You no longer have to obtain a Permanent_Resident_Card-Canada every five years (cost C$50 at March 2009) to prove your continuing right to remain in and re-enter Canada. It is a lot more hassle to obtain a PR Card compared to a Canadian passport.
- Immigration for family members
One difference which does persist is that Canadian citizens can sponsor spouses and children for migration while living outside Canada (provided there is a declared intention to return). Under the law, permanent residents are expected normally to be "usually resident" in Canada.
- Running for political office
Most types of elected positions require the officeholder to be a Canadian citizen.
- Federal jobs
Most federal government jobs, require the applicant to be a Canadian citizen.
If a security clearance is needed, with citizenship you can have a higher level, but don't forget that having ties to the UK via friends, family, property etc might still limit the level of clearance you may gain.
- Citizenship for non-Canada born children
As a naturalised Canadian, any children born to you outside Canada (after you become a citizen) will be a Canadian citizen. See also: Canadian_Citizenship_by_Descent.
- Canadian Passport
As an Canadian citizen you are entitled to a Canadian passport (which may have better visa-free travel) and to consular protection from Canadian missions overseas. However, Canadian consular protection is not normally available in any other country of which you are a citizen. **NB Canadian Citizens are required to travel into Canada using a Canada Passport - see also https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/visit-canada/dual-canadian-citizens-visit-canada.html#findOut **
- Simpler Tourist and Business Travel to the United States
The conditions for Canadians taking vacations or other short business trips in the United States are the same as for anyone else. However, many of bureaucratic formalities of the Visa_Waiver_Program do not apply to Canadians who are given the same access as those with U.S. tourist visas:
- admission may be for up to 180 days, not a 90 day limit
- Canadians may arrive in the United States on a private jet or yacht, or on a one-way ticket.
- Canadian citizens arriving for vacation or business trips do not need to fill out an I-94 or I-94W form, or be fingerprinted. This greatly reduces delays, especially on the land frontier.
- Only Canadian citizens will be able to obtain enhanced driving licences to allow passport-free travel to continue over the land frontier.
- Canadian citizens may seek admission to the United States as non-immigrants in most work and student categories (subject to normal approval from the U.S. authorities) without needing a visa in advance from a U.S. consulate.
- Treaty Rights
Canadian citizens have the right to seek employment in the United States and Mexico, if covered by the NAFTA provisions.
Canadian citizens with a United Kingdom born grandparent may be eligible for the United Kingdom Ancestry Visa.
- Dual citizenship
Citizens of some countries may lose their existing citizenship upon becoming Canadian citizens, which may or may not be a problem. British citizens do not lose citizenship upon becoming Canadian. Some holders of other kinds of British nationality may encounter issues.
- Consular Protection
If you keep your former nationality, the Embassy of your home country will no longer be able to intervene on your behalf with the Canadian authorities (since they can't get you out of jail anyway, this is a limited benefit).
- Jury Duty
You are obliged to serve on a jury, if called upon.
The following are generally not impacted by becoming an Canadian citizen, if one is already a permanent resident:
There is no impact on your Canadian tax obligations, under current law, unless in highly specific circumstances where you may be using the provisions of a double tax treaty.
- British pensions
Becoming a Canadian citizen does not in itself' impact the ability of a permanent resident to access British pension entitlements.