The Canadian government has announced a significant milestone in implementing changes to the Canadian citizenship Act. New requirements will come into effect on October 11, 2017. The long-awaited changes will provide more flexibility to obtain citizenship.

Here are some of the changes that you need to know about before applying for your citizenship.

1. The amount of time applicants must be physically present in Canada is decreasing

Currently, permanent residents must have been physically present in Canada for four out of six years before applying for Canadian citizenship. As of October 11, 2017, applicants will instead need to be physically present in Canada for three out of five years before being eligible.

In addition, the requirement that applicants be physically present in Canada for 183 days in four out of the six years preceding their application is repealed. Applicants will no longer have to meet this requirement and can now travel for things such as work or education.

2. Physical presence will continue to be the test for meeting the citizenship residency requirement.

Prior to 2014, it was possible for permanent residents, who were not physically present in Canada but who had substantial ties to Canada, to meet the citizenship residency requirement.

In 2014, this was changed and only being physical presence in Canada counted towards the residency requirement. This will continue to be the case after October 11, 2017.

3. A portion of time spent in Canada before becoming a permanent resident will count toward residency requirements

Currently, time spent in Canada prior to becoming a permanent resident does not count towards the physical presence requirement for citizenship.

As of October 11, 2017, applicants may count each day they were physically present in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person before becoming a permanent resident as a half-day toward meeting the physical presence requirement for citizenship, up to a maximum credit of 365 days.

4. The age range for language and knowledge requirements is being reduced

Currently, applicants between 14 and 64 years must meet the language and knowledge requirements for citizenship. As of October 11, 2017, only applicants between 18 and 54 years will have to meet the language and knowledge requirements.