There are only five days left until the 45th US presidential election. Five. It's hard to believe we've actually survived the race long enough to get to this point. It's been a nauseating and turbulent ride; full of tense moments and horrific revelations that sent shockwaves through the country (and the entire planet). The sad part is, no one can escape its merciless wrath - the future of America affects everyone; so no matter how much we may want to ignore it, we can't help but stay closely tuned.
For those of you who live under a rock and have no idea what happened in the election so far, here's a quick, barebones highlight reel: Trump wants to build a wall. Mexicans are rapists. All illegals should be deported. Muslims should be banned. Clinton sucks at email. Trump fans are a basket of deplorables. Clinton is unhealthy. Alicia Machado is too fat. WikiLeaks, WikiLeaks, WikiLeaks. Trump grabs 'em by the p***y. Clinton started ISIS. Trump won't release his taxes. Clinton is a nasty woman. Trump will keep us in suspense. Clinton really sucks at email. Comey was out of line (twice). Megyn Kelly is obsessed with sex.
Crazy, right? It's no wonder why several Americans are threatening to move to Canada. A majority of them have claimed that they really will move if Trump wins, including a few celebrities. But it's not as easy as just packing a couple of bags and walking over a boundary line - Canada is very much semi-permeable, and as flattering as it is that they're considering our country over other places, they're going to have to go through the same process as everyone else who wants to get in.
If you're an American fearing a Trump or Clinton victory and are serious about moving to Canada, here's what you need to do to become a full-fledged citizen:
1. Don't move here.
Just kidding. As Canadians we're accepting of all people. Please kindly move to #2.
2. Be at least 18 years old
This one's pretty straightforward. If you're legally an adult, you won't need a parent or guardian to fill out your application for you.
3. Speak English or French, or both.
English and French are the two official languages of Canada. To become a Canadian citizen, you are only required to know at least one of the two, but it definitely helps to know both. Complete fluency is not an absolute necessity - you just need to know enough to be able to carry a conversation.
4. Become a permanent resident.
Aspiring Canadian citizens can choose to apply through a province or get sponsorship from a relative who already lives in Canada. Permanent residents are permitted to work, study and travel in the country, but are restricted from voting or running for government. Once you've lived in Canada for at least two to five years, you can declare your intent to stay Canadian. Only after three years of physical presence in Canada as a permanent resident (within a six-year period before the date of application) can one apply for citizenship. There are other requirements as well, but the main point is that you will need to spend a considerable amount of time within the borders before you can become a citizen.
5. Prove your employment legitimacy by filing your income taxes.
Permanent residents looking to become citizens must be able to provide at least four years of tax returns within a six-year period before the date of their application. This is to prove you actually have a job and are contributing to taxes.
6. Pass the Canada test.
Citizenship applicants who are 16 to 64 years of age will have to write an exam that tests their knowledge on Canada's history and values. Anything that can be found on this online resource is testable, but don't worry - it's not as bad as it seems. Canada's a really interesting place to learn about.
7. Take the fast-track route instead and apply as a skilled immigrant.
You could choose to apply for Canada's Express Entry program as an alternate way to get into the country. Applicants are scored based on their skills and aptitude for certain jobs, and those that are among the highest ranked are offered permanent residency into the country.
8. Buy a warm coat and start loving hockey
Okay, so this isn't an actual requirement for Canadian citizenship, but it may be just as important as any of the aforementioned points. The warm coat is for battling the spasmodic weather conditions of the country. Winters are especially harsh, so it's best to come prepared. The hockey part is to help you get a better grasp of the immensity of Canadian culture. Canadians have a colossal pride in their heritage, and it would be in your best interest to embrace it. You'll surely develop a greater fondness for what Canada represents, even if you end up not being into Tim Hortons or Justin Trudeau.
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