3. Learn about asking for a waiver

I can't pass the citizenship test or speak and understand English or French well enough. Can I become a citizen?
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3. Learn about asking for a waiver

Some people know that they won't be able to meet the language or knowledge of Canada requirements to become a citizen. If this applies to you, you can ask Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for a waiver.

This means that you ask IRCC to excuse you from one or both of these requirements for “compassionate” reasons.

Asking for a waiver so you don't need to show language skills

If you're between 18 and 54 years old, you have to include proof that you can speak and understand spoken English or French well enough when you apply for citizenship.

If you don't include documents that prove this, IRCC will usually say that your application is not complete and send it back to you. To stop this from happening, you need to include a request for a waiver with your application.

Asking for a waiver so you don't need to show knowledge of Canada

If you're between 18 and 54 years old, to become a citizen you have to show that you know enough about Canada. You do this by passing the citizenship test.

If you know that won't be able to pass the test, you can ask IRCC for a waiver so you don't have to take it. You can also ask for the waiver if taking the test would be so stressful for you that it will harm your health.

Showing that you tried to meet the requirements

It can be important to show that you've tried to learn enough English or French. For example, getting letters from instructors in language programs can help show that you tried but failed to reach the language level that IRCC says you need for citizenship.

And you might have to take the citizenship test at least 2 or 3 times before IRCC considers giving you a waiver so you don't have to show knowledge of Canada.

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Reviewed: October 9, 2018

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