5 benefits of becoming a Canadian citizen

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Thinking about applying for citizenship? Or are you planning on renewing your PR card?

One would think that the eventual goal of any permanent resident would be to become a full-fledged citizen. But if you are still weighing the pros and cons, let us tip the scales for you. Here are the five major benefits of becoming a Canadian citizen:

  1. Participation in nation-building

    Citizenship allows you to participate fully in shaping Canada’s future.

    First, you get voting rights. As a citizen, you are allowed to cast your vote in federal as well as in provincial and municipal elections. Second, you can run for public office. You can choose to enter politics if you want to have a direct impact on how the country/province/city is run. Third, you can be called to serve jury duty. This is a great way to serve your country and help maintain order and the rule of law.

  2. Security

    You can sleep soundly at night without the thought of having to meet residency requirements or the fear being deported. As a citizen you won’t have a limit on the duration of your stay should you need to live abroad for some time. Also, (not that you are planning on committing a crime), citizens cannot be deported if they are convicted of a crime.

    Once you’re a citizen, you also don’t have to renew your citizenship or worry about losing your status. Not having to renew your PR card saves you the $50 (every five years) processing fee. Processing time is another issue. The current waiting time for the processing of PR cards is 99 days. This can be inconvenient if you are a frequent traveller. Don’t forget to factor in additional costs and time if you need to renew your passport from your home country. Meanwhile, getting a Canadian passport costs $120 (as of 2018) and it is processed within 10-20 days. It’s valid for five years. You can also choose a validity of 10 years but it will cost a little bit more ($160).

  3. Easy travel and consular support

    The Canadian passport is among the top 10 passports in the world (CTV News). As a citizen, your Canadian passport is a key to more than 150 countries with no visa required upon arrival (as of 2018).

    Canada also has more than 270 diplomatic and consular offices in more than 180 countries all over the world. These offices can readily assist you whenever you need it while you are abroad. Here’s a list: Embassies and Consulates.

  4. More job options

    As a citizen, you will now be able to compete in jobs that require high-level security clearance as well as for federal jobs that are open only to citizens. Government jobs are among the most stable and well-paying jobs in Canada. Read: Top 10 reasons to join Canada’s public service.

  5. Your children will be Canadians

    Whether born in Canada or abroad, your kids will become Canadian citizens without having to go through all the steps you went through to get yours. They will be the next generation of Canadians who will benefit from the limitless opportunities this great country has to offer.

In addition to all these, you will retain most of the benefits that you were enjoying as a permanent resident. Examples are free basic healthcare and public school education, as well as social services like employment insurance and student government loans.

So what’s not to like? It looks like a win-win situation to me. If citizenship is an emotional choice for you and you don’t want to renounce your original citizenship, check with your home country’s policies. You may have options for dual citizenship.

If you are interested in applying for citizenship but don’t know how to start, read: Applying for citizenship: A step-by-step guide.

 
Sources: Benefits of Canadian citizenship, CitizenshipCounts.ca; Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. Retrieved May 8, 2018.

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