How to Meet the Citizenship Test and Interview Requirement
Becoming a Canadian citizen entails more than just being presented a citizenship certificate after taking an oath. While it is the final step in immigrating to Canada which allows people to vote and carry a Canadian passport, change in the citizenship test has resulted in an increased failing rate among certain immigrant communities.
Citizenship test change
The Globe and Mail gives details to the citizenship test changes that have deepened the gap between successful and unsuccessful potential candidates for Canadian citizenship making it difficult for immigrants who have poor command of English or French or who are not familiar with Canadian customs and traditions to achieve their dream of becoming a real citizen of the country.
Included as a critic is University of Toronto politics professor Phil Triadafilopoulos who teaches immigration and integration. The professor claims that the exam plays the role of a gatekeeper or a barrier to people who would like to acquire Canadian citizenship but their efforts are being hindered due to a more challenging exam.
Old version vs. the new test version
The 2010 test version is based on a 68-page study guide which is longer than previous editions and it covers more ground. In order to pass the multiple-choice section, potential citizens must achieve a score of 15 out of 20 compared to the previous score of 12 out of 20.
According to Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney, the purpose of the new test is to reinforce requirements laid out in Canada’s Citizenship Act which requires potential citizens to meet residency, language, and civic-literacy requirements.
Kenney’s office commented that exam results are closely monitored and the differences between which countries has a lower passage rate does not mean that the playing field needs to be leveled.
Critics comment that the test functions as a de facto language exam which drives many immigrant-service groups to offer citizenship classes in addition to language classes which plays a strong emphasis on becoming familiar with Canadian names and vocabulary that are likely to be raised on the exam.
Who can take the test
The citizenship test is available to people who:
are between the ages of 18 and 54;
meet the eligibilities for citizenship; and
are applying to retain Canadian citizenship.
A Quick look on the test
Normally, the test is in written form, however you may be requested to appear before a citizenship judge for an interview.
Two things are evaluated in the test:
Knowledge of Canada
right to vote and right to run for elected office
procedures related to elections
rights and responsibilities of a citizen
Canadian social and cultural history and symbols
Canadian political history (including the political system and institutions)
Canadian physical and political geography
English or French language abilities – The knowledge test and your interaction with the personnel of the CIC will be used to evaluate whether you have an acceptable ability to communicate in English or French. CIC officials will take into account:
your ability to comprehend the basics of verbal statements and questions
your capacity to communicate critical information or to address a question
As part of transacting with the personnel of the CIC or as part of your written test or interview with a citizenship judge, they expect you to:
address an uncomplicated question related to a topic that is familiar to you;
establish that you can express yourself in English or French for daily communication
state a short story of your daily activities;
talk about anything you experienced in the past;
provide simple instructions or directions;
convey satisfaction or frustration.
Preparing for the Citizenship test
Do not be afraid of the test because prior to your test date, you have sufficient time to review thoroughly the materials. The questions will be based on the information summarized in the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) free study guide.
After taking the test
If you pass:
After passing the citizenship test, or if the citizenship judge decided that you meet the criteria for citizenship, you shall receive an invitation to attend the citizenship ceremony or the swearing-in where you will take an oath of citizenship and receive your certificate of Canadian citizenship.
If you failed:
You will receive the notice asking you to come for an interview, which will take about 30 to 90 minutes, with a citizenship judge. The interview serves as another opportunity for you to pass by demonstrating that you meet all the criteria. During the interview, the judge will use the test questions orally.
Before you become eligible for citizenship test, you will need to pass through several immigration procedures. Taking the test is not the only barrier to your dream of becoming real Canadian citizen. There are other requirements, criteria or qualifications that you need to pass or meet and you may need the assistance of an immigration lawyer on this part because doing the process all by yourself could cause your citizenship application some trouble.
If you like to experience a superb legal services to promote your immigration objective, Niren and Associates, an immigration firm existing for over 15 years, can certainly meet your needs. Do you have a quick question that you like to be addressed now? Call our dedicated team of immigration lawyers at 1-866-929-0991 or send your query to [email protected].
About Michael Niren
Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more
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