Residence Calculator


Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents

A. RULES OF CALCULATION

Q1: How long do I have to live in Canada before I am eligible for Canadian citizenship?

A1: You must live in Canada for three (3) years (1,095 days) within the four (4) years (1,460 days) immediately before applying for citizenship.


Q2: How is the residence requirement for citizenship calculated?

A2: Only the four (4) years preceding the date of your application are taken into account. Within that four-year period:

  • Every day you spend in Canada as a permanent resident counts as a full day.
  • Every day you spend in Canada before you become a permanent resident counts as a half-day.
  • Time spent serving a sentence in Canada does not count towards the residence requirement (i.e. you cannot count time spent in a prison, penitentiary, jail, reformatory, on conditional sentence, probation and/or on parole as residence). See Question 12 for exceptions to this rule.
  • Absences from Canada may have an impact on your residence. Only a citizenship judge can determine if you meet the residence requirements with fewer than 1,095 days of physical presence. See Question 8 for information on applying with fewer than 1,095 days of physical presence.

Q3: The residence calculator calculates up to three (3) different kinds of residence. What is the difference?

A3: Basic residence in Canada is the minimum time required to be eligible for a grant of citizenship (1,095 days). The calculation of basic residence does not include absences from Canada. However, any time spent serving a sentence in Canada must be deducted from the calculation of basic residence. If you apply with fewer than three (3) years (1,095 days) of basic residence, your application will be returned to you by the Case Processing Centre in Sydney, Nova Scotia (CPC Sydney).

Basic residence taking into account time spent serving a sentence (or basic residence less time served) is calculated by subtracting time spent serving a sentence in Canada (i.e. time spent in a prison, penitentiary, jail, reformatory, under a conditional sentence, on probation, and/or parole) from basic residence. Section 21 of the Citizenship Act states that any time spent imprisoned, on probation or on parole cannot be counted as a period of residence for the purpose of acquiring citizenship (please see Question 12 for exceptions). Your application will be refused if after examination of your court documents, it is determined that you have fewer than 1,095 days of basic residence less time served.

Physical presence in Canada is the amount of time you have lived in Canada within the relevant four-year period, minus time spent serving a sentence, and minus the days you have been physically absent from Canada. If you have fewer than three (3) years (1,095 days) of physical presence but at least three (3) years of basic residence less time served, the citizenship judge will evaluate the nature of your residence in Canada. However, your application will take longer to process and may be refused. See Question 8 for more information on applying with fewer than 1,095 days of physical presence.


Q4: When I try to calculate my absences, I get different numbers than the residence calculator. How does the residence calculator determine the number of days for each absence?

A4: The calculator uses the following rules to determine the number of days absent for each absence declared:

  • When calculating an absence, either the day you leave Canada or the day you return is considered an absence, but not both. For example, an absence between July 1, 2003 and July 15, 2003 equals 14 days of absence.
  • If you leave Canada and come back the same day, you do not have to declare an absence.
  • An absence on February 29 (leap day) is not counted as an absence, nor is it credited as a presence. See Question 5 for more information on leap days.
  • Total residence days ending in .5 are rounded up in your favour.
  • The total number of days absent includes all absences from Canada within the four-year period immediately preceding the date of your application. Because the time spent in Canada before you became a permanent resident is only credited as half-time, absences from Canada before you obtained permanent resident status are divided by two before they are included in the total number of days absent.

Q5: Why is February 29 (leap day) not counted as a presence?

A5: The Citizenship Act states that an applicant for citizenship must have accumulated three years of residence. Three years has been interpreted in the jurisprudence as 1,095 days, which is why leap days are neither counted as a presence nor an absence.


Q6: I think the residence calculator is making a mistake on my eligibility date. Looking at the number of days of residence I have, I think I should be eligible sooner than indicated.

A6: In general, if you are missing a number of days to reach the 1,095 days requirement, you have to wait that same number of missing days before you are eligible. For example, if the calculation indicates you have 1,080 days of residence and you put today's date as the application date, then you would normally be eligible 15 days after today.

However, in some situations, you may have to wait longer to apply than simply the number of missing days. Following are some examples:

  1. You have resided in Canada for the whole four-year period immediately before your application, but for the initial part of the four-year period you were not a permanent resident.

    As any time spent in Canada before you were a permanent resident is counted at half-value, dropping a half day at the start of your residence period and replacing it with a full day at the end brings you towards meeting the requirement more slowly than simply adding a full day at the end—for every day you gain you lose another half day.

    For example, you entered Canada on 2001-07-01 and obtained permanent resident status on 2004-07-01. You indicated you would apply for citizenship on 2006-06-01. You have no absences from Canada and spent no time in jail, under a conditional sentence, on probation or on parole.

    The calculator will state that you have 1,080 days of residence but that you will be eligible to apply only on 2006-07-01—30 days after the indicated application date—even though you are only missing 15 days.

    Note: Because of this, it is not mathematically possible to meet the residence requirement until you have at least two (2) years of permanent residence, no matter how long you have spent in Canada before becoming a permanent resident.

  2. You have spent time serving a sentence or you have absences totalling greater than a year.

    For example, you entered Canada on 2001-01-01 as a permanent resident. You indicated you would apply for citizenship on 2006-01-01. You have one absence from Canada when you spent 18 months in the United States for studies, from 2003-01-01 to 2004-07-01.

    The calculator will state that you have 914 days of physical presence and that you will accumulate 1,095 days of physical presence on 2007-07-01—365 days after the indicated application date—even though you are only missing 181 days.

    If you redo the calculation and change the application date to 2006-07-01, 181 days after the original application date, the physical presence count is still at 914 days. This is occurring because you are only applying six (6) months later, and the four-year residence period is also shifting. As you added six (6) months time, you lost the six (6) months time you had previously accumulated. Only if you apply on or after 2007-07-01 can you accumulate 1,095 days of physical presence.


Q7: There appears to be inconsistencies between the 'Time spent serving a sentence' in the final calculation summary and the 'Total # Days' in the table that lists all declared sentences or there appears to be inconsistencies between the 'Days absent' in the final calculation summary and the 'Total # Days' in the table that lists all declared absences. Why is this?

A7: The summary absences or sentences in the final calculation count the number of days in the listed absence or sentence that fall within the four-year period. However, because time spent in Canada before you became a permanent resident counts as half-time (half day counted for each day living in Canada), the final calculation subtracts absences or sentences before you became a permanent resident as half-time (half day). Because the table with the declared sentences or absences count the number of days within each period regardless of whether the absence or sentence occurred before or after you became a permanent resident, sometimes the numbers might be different.


B. APPLYING WITH FEWER THAN 1,095 DAYS OF PHYSICAL PRESENCE

Q8: I have more than 1,095 days of basic residence (or basic residence taking into account time spent serving a sentence) but fewer than 1,095 days of physical presence. Should I apply now or wait until I have 1,095 days of physical presence?

A8: Only a citizenship judge can determine if you meet the residence requirements with fewer than 1,095 days of physical presence. If you apply with fewer than 1,095 days of physical presence, a citizenship judge will evaluate the nature of your residence in Canada. You will be asked to complete a residence questionnaire and provide evidence that establishes residence in Canada, and you might be asked to appear in person before a citizenship judge. When you apply with fewer than 1,095 days of physical presence, your application will take longer to process and may be refused by the citizenship judge.

Deciding to apply with fewer than 1,095 days of physical presence is a personal decision that should be made carefully and take into account your personal circumstances.


C. WHAT ABSENCES TO DECLARE

Q9: Do I have to declare day trips to the United States?

A9: No, not if you come back the same day.


Q10: I travel often to the United States and don't remember the exact dates. What do I do?

A10: To use the residence calculator, you must enter exact dates. If you do not know the exact number of days you were absent, try to calculate an estimated number and after you have printed your absence sheet, attach a hand written note to it indicating that the dates are approximate.

Q11: I travel often because of my work (truck driver, employee for an airline company, etc.). Do I have to declare those absences?

A11: Yes. All absences from Canada, regardless of the reason, must be declared. The only trips you do not have to declare are those where you left and came back to Canada on the same day.


D. TIME SPENT SERVING A SENTENCE FOR AN OFFENCE

Q12: I have heard that some time spent imprisoned, on parole or on probation can still be counted as residence. Is this true?

A12: In general, time spent serving a sentence for an offence in Canada cannot count towards residence for the purposes of becoming a Canadian citizen (i.e. you cannot count time spent in a prison, penitentiary, jail, reformatory, under a conditional sentence, on probation, and/or parole as residence). There are, however, the following exceptions:

  • Only the four (4) years preceding the date of your application are considered for calculating residence eligibility. Time spent serving a sentence outside of that four-year period does not have to be declared.
  • Time on probation as a result of a conditional discharge can count towards residence if the probation was completed successfully (i.e. you were not charged with a breach of probation or a failure to comply during that probation). This time does not have to be declared for the purposes of the residence calculator.
  • If you received a pardon for the conviction in question, time spent imprisoned, on parole or on probation because of that conviction does not have to be declared.
  • Time spent imprisoned or on probation does not have to be declared if:
    • you were convicted under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, received a youth sentence, and successfully completed that sentence; or
    • you were convicted under the previous Young Offenders Act and successfully completed that sentence.

Q13. When I try to calculate the number of days spent serving a sentence, I get different numbers than the residence calculator. How does the residence calculator determine the number of days for each sentence?

A13. The calculator uses the following rules to determine the number of days spent for each sentence:

  • When calculating a sentence, all days are included. For example, a sentence between July 1, 2003, and July 15, 2003, equals 15 days.
  • Time spent serving a sentence on February 29 (leap day) is not counted as part of the sentence since it was not credited as a presence. See Question 5 for more information on leap days.
  • The total number of days spent serving a sentence includes all sentences served within the four-year period immediately preceding the date of your application. Because the time spent in Canada before you became a permanent resident is only credited as half-time, time spent serving a sentence before you obtained permanent resident status is divided by two before it is included in the total number of days spent serving a sentence.

Q14. My probation order does not state the exact dates I am under probation. Instead it states a period of time (e.g. 6 months, 1 year, etc.). What do I enter?

A14. When entering time spent serving a sentence, the start date is generally the date of the probation order unless otherwise specified. To calculate the end date, use the following example as a guide:

For example, if the probation order starts on June 15, 2003, a 3 three-month probation will end September 14, 2003, a 6 six-month probation will end December 14, 2003, and a one-year probation will end June 14, 2004.


E. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Q15: What do I do if I want to apply now?

A15: You can print the calculation and attach a copy to your Application for Canadian Citizenship - Adults. If you attach a copy, you do not need to fill in sections 6(A) and 6(B) of the application. Simply check the option 'Online Residence Calculator' in question 6(G). Make sure that the date of application used in this calculation and the date of signature on the application form and on the calculation printout are the same.

Please note that if you apply with fewer than 1,095 days of basic residence, your application will be returned to you by the Case Processing Centre in Sydney, Nova Scotia (CPC-Sydney).

If you meet basic residence but it is determined after examination of your court documents that you have fewer than 1,095 days of basic residence less time served, your application will be refused.

If you meet basic residence and/or basic residence less time served but apply with fewer than 1,095 days of physical presence, your application will be referred to a citizenship judge and your application will take longer to process. See Question 8 for more information on applying with fewer than 1,095 days of physical presence.


Q16: What do I do if I want to apply later?

A16: The calculator will give you a date when you should be eligible to apply. You can print the results for your records. When you are eligible to apply, you should redo the calculation before sending in your application. Your circumstances might have changed. For example, you might have more absences and this could impact your eligibility.

If you want to save this calculation, you will need to register with an e-mail address. Don't forget to review all dates including the application date when you retrieve a saved calculation.


Q17: I did not apply when I first did my calculation and my situation has not changed (no new absences or time spent serving a sentence). Why should I redo the calculation before applying?

A17: If you decide to apply at a later date, you should redo the calculation to confirm that you are eligible before applying. You might have made a mistake the first time you used the calculator or you could have forgotten an absence. The law might have changed and the requirements could be different. Or, how residence is interpreted might have changed due to changes in policy or case law.

Also, if you would like to attach the results of the residence calculator to your application, the application date used in the calculation should reflect the true date you are applying.


Q18: I have used the residence calculator to determine if I am eligible to apply for citizenship. I am completing the application form and the form asks the same questions. Do I have to answer all the questions on the application form?

A18: If you print the results of the residence calculator, you can attach a copy to your Application for Canadian Citizenship - Adults. If you attach a copy, you do not need to fill in sections 6(A) and 6(B) of the application. Simply check the option, 'Online Residence Calculator' in question 6(G). All other questions should be answered. Make sure that the date of application used in this calculation and the date of signature on the application form and on the calculation printout are the same.


Q19: Why is it important that the application date used in the calculation and the date of signature on the application form and the calculation printout be the same?

A19: This is important so that there is no confusion on your application date because your eligibility for citizenship is based on that date. If there is confusion, there could be delays in processing your application while we try to clarify the situation, especially if one of the dates makes you ineligible for citizenship. If the confusion cannot be resolved, the information appearing in your application form will be taken as the correct information and used to determine eligibility.


F. ERROR MESSAGES

Q20: When I try to list my absences from Canada or time spent serving a sentence, I get an error message. What am I doing wrong?

A20: The following mistakes when listing absences or time spent serving a sentence will generate error messages:

  • Missing information: from, to, destination or reason for absence, type of sentence served; or
  • Absences that overlap.

Please remember:

  • The following months have 31 days: January, March, May, July, August, October and December;
  • The following months have 30 days: April, June, September and November; and
  • February normally has 28 calendar days. Do not count February 29 in leap years.

G. TECHNICAL AND SECURITY QUESTIONS

Q21: Why doesn't the 'Print' button work when I try to print the final result?

A21: If the 'Print' button doesn't work, you either don't have access to a printer or you don't have a printer set up with your browser. If you do not have access to a printer, select 'File -> Save as' and save the html file to your hard drive or floppy. You can open the html file from there to view your final result. If you have access to a printer and still wish to print, select 'File -> Print' and follow the browser's instructions.


Q22: Why do I need to clear my browser cache?

A22: When you visit a Web site, information, such as the location of the page, or the URL, is retained in your browser's memory. In order to protect the privacy of your information, you should empty your browser's memory by clearing your cache. This will ensure that your information remains private.


Q23: What does it mean when my session times out?

A23: The On-line services keeps track of periods of inactivity. If you leave your computer for a long period of time while using this service, you may be asked to log in again. This is a security feature to verify your identity and to protect your information.


Q24: What browsers are supported by On-Line Services?

A24: At this time, you may use the four most common Internet browsers. They are Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Chrome.

  1. Internet Explorer
  2. Firefox
  3. Chrome
  4. Safari

If you use another type of browser software you should check with your software supplier to ensure that your browser has 128-bit secure socket layer (SSL) encryption capability.


Q25: What does encryption mean?

A25: Encryption is a way of covering important information with a code before it is sent over the Internet so that other machines and people cannot read it. Your encrypted application information will be uncovered or decoded on our protected server once it reaches us.

This on-line service uses encryption to make sure that no illegal person or group will see your personal information. Information from your computer is encrypted before being sent. This changes your information into a format that can be safely sent to us over the Internet. Once the information is encrypted, it cannot be read until it reaches its destination and is decoded, using an encryption key.


Q26: What is Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)?

A26: Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a secure way to transmit personal information from your computer to our Web server. SSL uses encryption, which helps make information sent through the Internet more secure. 128-bit SSL encryption is often used for Internet services, like on-line banking or shopping, for which security of information is important. When you access the personal information part of this on-line service, our server will check your browser's encryption capability.


Q27: What is Hypertext Transfer Protocol over Secure Socket Layer (HTTPS)?

A27: HTTPS is a Web protocol built into browsers. It encrypts and decrypts user page requests. It also encrypts and decrypts information that is returned by Web servers.


Q28: How do I upgrade my browser?

A28: Citizenship and Immigration Canada has tested four web browsers that are proven to work with this service. You can link directly to these sites to download or upgrade your version of browser software.

  1. Internet Explorer
  2. Firefox
  3. Chrome
  4. Safari

If you use another type of browser software you should check with your software supplier to make sure that your browser has 128-bit secure socket layer (SSL) encryption capability.


Q29: How do I logout?

A29: When using this on-line service, you will see a link to logout on the top of the page that you must select to end your session. After selecting the logout link, you will see a screen that tells you about other steps to take to make sure that your information stays private.


Q30: Why am I getting a "The page cannot be displayed" message?

A30. Check your SSL browser settings. They must be configured to accept SSL 3.0 with 128-bit encryption. See our Security Disclaimer page for instructions.