The third test is a qualitative analysis of the applicant’s ties to Canada. To determine whether an applicant has settled in Canada or demonstrated intent, several factors are assessed by the judge, including:

  • Was the individual physically present in Canada for a long period before the application for citizenship?
  • Where are the applicant’s immediate family and dependents?
  • Do traveling patterns demonstrate a traveling person or a person interested in living in Canada?
  • What is the extent of physical absences?
  • Is their physical absence from Canada caused by a temporary situation such as employment, attending university, accepting travel abroad opportunities, or accompanying a spouse who has accepted temporary employment elsewhere?

Recent attempts by the Federal Court to mitigate the three tests have remained futile. At present, case law requires that a citizenship judge chooses between any of the three tests in assessing a citizenship application.

However, the law also dictates the application of the qualitative analysis test when the requirements for the physical presence test are not met. The Federal Court has consistently held that citizenship judge document which of the three tests was applied.


It’s unsure whether Parliament will intervene to finalize this confusing interpretation of the residency requirement. Applicants who have not been physically present in Canada for the full 3 years and want to increase their chances of success are advised to ensure their application identifies some or all of the factors of the third analysis test.

Failed applicants are free to re-apply when their circumstances regarding physical presence are more favorable during the three year reference period.

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