Some people may think they have Canadian citizenship when in fact they do not.
While there are a few ways to become a Canadian citizen, if you are unsure, you may want to get proof of citizenship.
This document provides definitive proof that you are a citizen of Canada, and can be used to apply for a Canadian passport.
You likely are not a Canadian citizen if you:
- were born in Canada to foreign diplomats;
- had your citizenship taken away (revoked);
- renounced your Canadian citizenship and never applied to get it back;
- marry a Canadian citizen;
- are adopted by a Canadian citizen;
- have your refugee claim accepted;
- live in Canada as a permanent resident for many years; or
- were born outside Canada to Canadian parents on or after April 17, 2009, but neither parent was born or naturalized in Canada.
However, if any of these situations apply to you, there may still be a chance for you to immigrate to Canada through one of the country’s many immigration programs. Once you are a permanent resident, you may become eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship.
Conversely, you likely are a Canadian citizen if one of the following points describes you:
- were born in Canada (except to foreign diplomats);
- became a citizen because of changes to the Citizenship Act;
- applied for and received your Canadian citizenship;
- received Canadian citizenship as a minor when a parent or legal guardian applied for your citizenship;
- were born outside Canada and at least one of your parents (biological or legal at birth) either was born in Canada or became a naturalized citizen before you were born.
The first-generation rule explained
You may only be eligible to become a Canadian citizen from birth outside of Canada if your parent was a first-generation Canadian citizen. Citizens who were born in Canada or naturalized (that is, applied for citizenship) are considered first-generation Canadians, within the context of this rule. Therefore, if you were born outside Canada to first-generation Canadians after April 17, 2009, then you would get citizenship.
If you were born outside Canada before this date to a Canadian citizen, regardless of the first-generation rule. However, if this applies to you and you did not get proof of citizenship before, you may have difficulty getting it now.
How to apply for proof of citizenship
To apply for proof of citizenship, you need to prove that at least one of your legal or biological parents at birth was a Canadian citizen. You can submit the application online on IRCC’s website.
Once IRCC receives your application, you will get an “acknowledgment of receipt” and your file will be reviewed and processed.
A lawyer can help you discuss your options for obtaining proof of citizenship.
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