What I learned becoming Canadian

Recently, I proudly became a citizen of Canada. It was the first in person ceremony since the Covid-19 pandemic. I, along with 22 other immigrants from 15 different countries around the world, raised our right hands and recited the oath that would enact our Canadian citizenship. This journey for me started over 10 years ago when my wife and I decided to stay in Canada after the birth of our first child. It wasn’t always an easy path, so I wanted to share a few things I have learned along the way.

Here are the top three:

  1. The most time consuming and challenging step was becoming a permanent resident (PR) and obtaining my PR card. The documentation and steps involved going back and forth with Immigration Canada was nearly a full-time job for a month. We did a spousal application within Canada, but I would check this thread for the up to date processing times to help determine the fastest way to apply.
  2. Having the PR card was great, I could live, study, and work freely throughout Canada like anyone else, and included access to healthcare. However, being a PR must be maintained and the process for renewing was not as easy as I expected. There were also more mundane issues like not being able to vote, or how during the pandemic citizens were given priority over permanent residents for repatriation. 
  3. Applying for citizenship after the mandatory 1,095 days as a permanent resident was an easier process than my PR renewal. Covid threw a wrench in the application processing times but given that my PR card was still valid for another 5yrs it was no big deal. 

I did not take the personal decision to become Canadian lightly and am keeping my US citizenship. Canada has provided me with opportunity and welcomed me with open arms and like many new immigrants I am forever grateful. My Canadian flag & pole are already enroute from Amazon.ca, and going forward the only downside will be remembering to bring both passports when I travel.