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If you’re one of the anxious Americans who googled “how to become a Canadian citizen” on election night, experience in Hollywood could help grease the wheels. First, the bad news: It won’t be easy. “For those with the right skill sets, they can come,” says Vancouver immigration lawyer Zool Suleman. “Canada is very selective about who they take.”
The first step is to determine your eligibility according to Canada’s point system. There’s actually a calculator on the Canadian citizenship and immigration website that offers an at-a-glance estimate of your score based on the following criteria: age, education level, whether you have studied in Canada, English- and French-language proficiency, whether you have family already in Canada and your overall work experience.
The best way to jump to the head of the line? Have a Canadian partner (that includes same-sex and common-law marriages). You’ll immediately qualify for up to 100 points, moving you closer to the 450-point threshold that gets you on the fast track. But even if you get past that threshold, it still won’t ensure citizenship. Ultimately, your chances will hinge on work experience, and this is where being in the entertainment industry helps.
Thanks to Canada’s many tax credits, the government provides incentives for producers to hire local talent. So, in short, if you work in the entertainment industry and have dual citizenship, the benefits are twofold: The government covets your skills, and you could help producers save money.
For those lucky enough to have at least one Canadian parent or who were born in Canada, the process is much easier. New York-based attorney Jodi Peikoff, who reps Felicity Jones and Tilda Swinton, applied for a Canadian passport post-election and registered her children to be Canadian citizens. Altogether, the process cost Peikoff $4,206. “I looked into moving to Vancouver and opening up a branch of our office there,” she says, “but [decided] to stay and fight for change.”
This story first appeared in the Sept. 6 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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