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Happy News!

We have some some happy news to share…

Jan became a Canadian citizen on Monday!

Way back in 2018, he became eligible to convert his permanent residency into citizenship. We did the paperwork and waited- finally in 2019, his application was approved, and he moved on to the next phase. In Canada, becoming a citizen involves demonstrating proof of language proficiency (honestly, J’s English is better than mine most days) and also showing knowledge of Canadian history.

Jan easily passed the English test, and we both studied for the written history test (man, grade six was a long time ago! I forgot a lot of those names and dates!). He got almost perfect, and then we were onto the last phase- scheduling the ceremony!

The citizenship ceremony involves going in front of a judge, saying the oath, and affirming your Canadian citizenship. It also involves giving up your permanent resident status (you can’t be both!), so you need to avoid travel for 4 weeks after the ceremony. Since we planned to be in Australia in early Feb, we booked the ceremony for the next available date- mid March.

Well, of course then COVID hit and there were large gatherings, so the ceremony was cancelled. We figured it wouldn’t happen until at least next year, when we have a vaccine and bigger groups are normal again. But! On Friday afternoon, Jan sent me a text at the office and asked if I could clear my Monday afternoon. The ceremony was on!

So, this past Monday, Jan and I, a judge, a clerk and a tech support person met on Zoom. Jan was welcomed to Canada, and got to share a little bit of the story that brought him here. The judge got us to take the oath together, in English and French, and then with a few signatures my Belgian became a Canadian as well.

Since it was so last minute, it was hard to plan much of a celebration, but we did our best! I decorated the front door with balloons and red streamers, and we hung our big Canadian flag. All our neighbours came out to the front lawn (I promise we stayed far apart, there’s only 8 of us) for prosecco and Tim Horton’s donuts. Some of our nearby friends stopped over as well, and then to cap off the day we ordered poutine for dinner. Way back when Jan wrote his tests, I had ordered a gift for him (thank goodness I still had it hidden away!): a Le Canadien t shirt and sweater from Province of Canada, plus his favourite Haribo gummie bears.

Pretty exciting, eh ;- )

7 Comments

  • Lindsay
    June 10, 2020 at 5:12 pm

    Congrats! I remember the day my parents became US Citizens (they are from England Originally), it was such a special day! I am sure that day will be one you never forget! I am a little jealous that canadian’s have access to Shreddies, Crunchies, and a few other British treats that we can’t get in the states! What would you say was the hardest part of getting citizenship in Canada??

    Reply
    • Alyssa Heuninck
      July 1, 2020 at 7:28 pm

      I asked Jan! He says it wasn’t that tough but he was nervous about both tests- the English proficiency (ed. note, J’s English is better than mine some days) and the Canadian history.
      I would add that it’s very helpful if you keep a spreadsheet of all your travel, as looking back to compile your travel history in the last five years is tedious! We spent sooo much time tracking down small trips into the states (that darn Trader Joe’s in Bellingham!)

      Reply
      • Lindsay
        July 2, 2020 at 5:55 pm

        Oh wow! Yes, that sounds quite involved. I am so happy for you guys and that he is now an official Canadian. I try to stay away from the news, if possible, so I must ask if you guys have crossed to the states since the start of COVID? I mean you guys must be missing the Trader Joe’s! ๐Ÿ™‚

        Reply
        • Alyssa Heuninck
          July 2, 2020 at 7:00 pm

          Ohh we definitely haven’t! We didn’t go down in January and shortly after we returned from Australia in mid Feb, I was already hearing lots of concerning things at work so we were pretty close to home. Then of course the borders closed to non-essential travel and so we’ve stayed put ever since! Between March and May I’d be very surprised if we were outside a 5km radius of our home! I miss the fun snack food for sure but it’s a small price to pay :- ).

          Reply
  • Rudi Heuninck
    June 11, 2020 at 8:16 am

    Congratulations Jan, we wish you a Good life in Canada (far from Belgium)

    Reply
  • Katie
    June 11, 2020 at 9:35 am

    Congratulations Jan! Very exciting!
    How long did he have to be a PR before he could become a citizen? My fiancรฉ will be in the same boat soon-ish and we canโ€™t wait!

    Reply
    • Alyssa Heuninck
      July 1, 2020 at 7:26 pm

      Oops! Slow reply! He’s been in Canada since 2011, applied for PR in 2012, got PR confirmation in 2013 and became eligible for citizenship in 2017. We started the citizenship application in 2018 and he passed all the tests by the end of 2019. Then ceremony made it official in 2020 :- ). There were definitely waiting periods between each step, but I’m not sure if you can pay rush fees etc to speed it up? Since he was going from PR to citizen, not much changed in our day-to-day life.

      Reply

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