In general, a person cannot become a Canadian citizen if they are serving a term of imprisonment, on parole or on probation. In addition, time spent serving a sentence for an offence in Canada cannot count towards physical presence for the purposes of becoming a Canadian citizen (i.e. you cannot count time spent serving a term of imprisonment, on probation, and/or parole as physical presence). There are, however, the following exceptions:
- Only the five (5) years preceding the date of your application are considered for calculating physical presence eligibility. Time spent serving a sentence outside of that five-year period does not have to be declared.
- Time on probation as a result of a conditional discharge may count towards physical presence 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 physical presence calculator.
- Time spent serving a term of imprisonment 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.
You may want to wait and check your eligibility to apply for citizenship again when you have finished your term of imprisonment, parole or probation.