USA and the UK
- What Is the Canadian Citizenship by Birth About?
- For Those Born in Canada
- For Those Born Outside Canada
- When Can Canadian Citizenship be Passed to the Second-Generation Children Born Abroad?
- How To Prove or Check Your Canadian Citizenship
- How to Apply for the Canadian Citizenship Certificate
- Can I Be a Dual Citizen?
- How IAS Can Help You?
What Is the Canadian Citizenship by Birth About?
Familiar with the term “Jus Soli”? Jus soli, meaning “right of the soil,” commonly referred to as birthright citizenship, is a policy in many countries that dictates that one acquires citizenship by being born on the country’s territory. It is the right of anyone born on Canadian soil to become a Canadian citizen automatically. This is regardless of whether their parents are Canadian citizens or not.
It doesn’t matter what your parents’ nationality is – if you’re born in Canada, you’re a Canadian citizen. This is true whether or not your parents ever become Canadian citizens themselves. There are a few exceptions, such as children of diplomats, but for the most part, being born in Canada means automatic citizenship.
It is also possible in some cases for a child, even when not born in Canada, to gain Canadian citizenship automatically. However, this situation largely depends on the time the child was born. Another factor determining if a child born outside Canada automatically becomes a citizen of Canada is the circumstances surrounding the parents’ status at the time of the birth. It is essential to know that a child born in Canada under certain circumstances might not automatically gain Canadian citizenship.
For Those Born in Canada
According to the Canadian Citizenship Act, any child born in Canada has the automatic right to become a citizen of Canada. According to this citizenship act, the residency or citizenship status of the child’s biological parent does not matter. As a result, foreign nationals or non-Canadian can travel to and give birth in Canada to give the child Canadian citizenship.
In situations where the parents are foreign nationals, despite the child technically having the right to stay in Canada, the child usually returns to the home country of the parents, except when the parents decide to remain in Canada on an electronic travel authorization (eTA) or a temporary resident visa. The child, however, can travel to Canada later in the future and would get all the benefits of being a Canadian citizen.
There is also a situation where a child born on Canadian soil does not gain Canadian citizenship automatically. If one or both parents of the child were employed in Canada as foreign diplomats of a foreign government, the child, though born in Canada, will not be granted automatic Canadian citizenship.
Those born before 2009
Certain factors will determine if a child born outside Canada before 2009 will be granted Canadian citizenship. Receiving Canadian citizenship can be dependent on:
- If one or both parents at the time of the birth of the child were citizens of Canada.
- How the parents became Canadians if at all they are citizens.
- If the child was born before April 1, 1949, and was a British subject.
- If the childbirth was registered with the Canadian government and whether the child received the Registration of Birth Abroad certificate.
A child born outside Canadian soil between February 15, 1977, and April 17, 2009, will be a citizen of Canada if one or both parents were citizens of Canada at the time of the child’s birth.
Those born after 2009
For those born outside Canada after April 17, 2009, it is only possible to pass Canadian citizenship down by a generation. What this means is that if by April 17, 2009, a child born outside Canada is yet to become a Canadian, they won’t become Canadian citizens if their Canadian parents were:
- Received Canadian citizenship under section 5.1- the adoption provisions of the Citizenship Act
- Also born outside Canadian soil to a Canadian parent.
That implies that a second-generation child born abroad to Canadian parents who were also born outside Canada is not entitled to Canadian citizenship. Instead, Canadian citizenship would be granted to the child born outside Canada if at least one of the biological parents or legal parents either:
- Was born in Canada, or
- became a Canadian citizen by naturalization before the birth of the child.
From July 2020, it became possible for non-biological parents to pass their Canadian citizenship down to their children who were born outside Canada if the non-biological parent were the legal parent of the child at birth. Legal parent at birth means the birth certificate of the child carries the name of the non-biological parents. If you were born outside of Canada and only one of your parents was a Canadian citizen at the time of your birth, you became a Canadian citizen on April 17, 2009. For children born to parents who are not Canadian citizens, conferral of citizenship depends on several factors, including the date of birth and whether the child was born in or outside of wedlock.” Before 2009, there were different requirements for those born in and out of wedlock – namely, before 1978, those born outside of wedlock needed to have had a Canadian father to gain citizenship. The rules changed in 2009 such that any person who was born outside Canada and only one parent was a Canadian Citizen at the time of their birth became a Canadian Citizen on April 17, 2009.
These changes meant that children who were born to unwed mothers and fathers who were Canadian Citizens no longer needed to prove paternity to become naturalized citizens. In addition, any person who was adopted by a Canadian Citizen before 1982 also gained citizenship provided they met certain conditions. Therefore, the topic of citizenship for those born before 2009 is complex and depends on many factors. Despite this complexity, the current system is designed to ensure that as many people as possible who have ties to Canada can become naturalized citizens.
When Can Canadian Citizenship be Passed to the Second-Generation Children Born Abroad?
The popular first-generation limit rule also has some exceptions. It is possible for children born outside Canada in the second generation or later to be entitled to Canadian citizenship if:
- At the time of birth, the Canadian parent of the child was employed outside Canada with (asides from crown servants):
- the Canadian Armed Forces
- the federal public administration
- the public service of a province or territory
- When the Canadian parent of the child was born or adopted, the Canadian grandparent was outside Canada and employed with:
- the Canadian Armed Forces
- the federal public administration
- the public service of a province or territory
It is not applicable to crown servants as well.
How To Prove or Check Your Canadian Citizenship
If you want to quickly know if you are a citizen of Canada or not, you can use the government “Am I a Canadian?” questionnaire tool. The questionnaire will ask various questions, from your birth circumstances to your parents’ marriage, birth, citizenship, and immigration status.
However, you can’t use the result of the tool as proof of Canadian citizenship because it is just for reference. If you want to prove your citizenship status officially, you must apply to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for a citizenship certificate.
You should apply for the Canadian citizenship certificate if:
- You want to be sure that you are a citizen of Canada.
- You want to present a document that authenticates your Canadian citizenship. For example, if you need to apply for a social insurance number, pension, job, passport, and many more.
- You want to pass your Canadian citizenship down to your child, born outside Canada.
To get that done, you need to provide the necessary documents, including some about your parents, to receive the citizenship certificate, which will cost you CAN$75.
How to Apply for the Canadian Citizenship Certificate
Application for the Canadian citizenship certificate usually takes about 17 months from the date of application till you receive your citizenship certificate.
You might be able to put in an application for urgent processing if you need to get your certificate quickly because of some unique circumstances.
Some of the situations that allow urgent processing are:
- You need to access benefits like your social insurance number, healthcare, and pension.
- You need to travel from or to Canada due to serious illness or death in the family.
- You need to prove that you are a citizen of Canada to get a job.
Alongside your application, you must provide the following:
- Letter of explanation
- Supporting documents like a death certificate, a doctor’s note, a letter from your school, a letter from your employer, or your plane ticket or your itinerary alongside proof of payment.
You should note that there is no guarantee of receiving your Canadian citizenship certificate on time, even if you meet the qualification for urgent processing.
Can I Be a Dual Citizen?
As a citizen of Canada, you can be a citizen of other countries as Canada permits dual and multiple citizenships. It means you can take up citizenship status in other countries without giving up your Canadian citizenship. However, you should check if the country you plan to take up citizenship permits multiple or dual citizenship.
2015 Changes to Citizenship by Birth
In 2015, the government of Canada made a different change to the Citizenship Act. With the changes, people became citizens of Canada if:
- They were Canadian-born children or naturalized before January 1, 1947, but they stopped being British subjects and did not become citizens on that date. The same is applicable in Labrador and Newfoundland, but the date is April 1, 1949,
- They were first-generation births outside Canada before January 1, 1947, or April 1, 1949, for Labrador and Newfoundland to a parent that gained Canadian citizenship on that day while the child did not become a citizen on said date.
- They were born in other countries and adopted on or before January 1, 1947, or April 1, 1949, for Labrador and Newfoundland, and one or both of the adoptive parents gained Canadian citizenship on said date, and it is possible for the said parent to pass down citizenship via descent.
How IAS Can Help You?
Canadian citizenship via birth can be tricky due to the many changes in the laws in the past few decades.
The rules surrounding citizenship by birth are complex and can be difficult to navigate on your own. If you need help with issues on the status of your Canadian citizenship or have any concerns, questions, or queries on your status in Canada, we are here to help you.
We have extensive experience assisting clients with all aspects of their Canadian citizenship status. We can help you to determine your legal status in Canada and assist you with all steps of the application process for citizenship, from start to finish.
We will ascertain where you stand, considering your parental history and genealogy. Whether you are applying for citizenship as a Canadian permanent resident via naturalization or are looking to renew your existing citizenship, we can help.
Call us on +1 844 290 6312 for immediate help and assistance with your Canadian citizenship, or reach us online.
Last modified on March 31st, 2023 at 10:57 am
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