How to Obtain Canadian Citizenship by Descent: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Obtain Canadian Citizenship by Descent: A Step-by-Step Guide

1. Overview of Canadian Citizenship by Descent

Obtaining Canadian citizenship by descent is a process that allows individuals who were born outside of Canada to claim citizenship if they have at least one Canadian parent. This process is governed by the Citizenship Act and regulated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). By claiming citizenship through descent, eligible individuals can enjoy the numerous benefits and privileges that come with being a Canadian citizen.

Importance of Canadian Citizenship

Canadian citizenship grants a range of benefits, including the right to vote in federal, provincial, and municipal elections, access to healthcare, education, and social benefits, as well as the opportunity to travel on a Canadian passport. Becoming a Canadian citizen also fosters a sense of belonging and civic participation, promoting cultural diversity and shared values within the country.

2. Eligibility Criteria for Citizenship by Descent

Definition of a Canadian Parent

To be eligible for Canadian citizenship by descent, at least one parent must be a Canadian citizen at the time of the applicant’s birth. A Canadian parent can be a natural-born citizen, a naturalized citizen, or a citizen through descent themselves, provided they obtained their citizenship before the applicant’s birth.

Birth Outside of Canada

Individuals born outside of Canada to a Canadian parent are eligible for citizenship by descent, provided they meet the eligibility criteria. It is essential to note that children born in Canada are automatically considered Canadian citizens, regardless of their parents’ citizenship status.

Adopted Children

Adopted children can obtain Canadian citizenship by descent if their adoptive parent(s) were Canadian citizens at the time of the adoption, and the adoption complies with the relevant international and domestic adoption laws. More information on international adoptions can be found on the IRCC’s website.

Second Generation Born Abroad

Individuals who were born outside of Canada to a Canadian parent who also obtained their citizenship by descent are considered second-generation born abroad. As of April 17, 2009, second-generation born-abroad individuals are generally not eligible for Canadian citizenship by descent, with some exceptions. More information on the limitations for second-generation born-abroad individuals can be found on the IRCC’s website.

Citizenship Lost and Regained

Individuals who lost their Canadian citizenship due to the amendments in the Citizenship Act before April 17, 2009, may be eligible to regain their citizenship through the special provisions in the Act. More information on regaining Canadian citizenship can be found on the IRCC’s website.

3. Documentation and Application Process

Gathering Necessary Documents

  • Proof of Parent’s Citizenship

To apply for Canadian citizenship by descent, you must provide proof of your Canadian parent’s citizenship. Acceptable documents include:

  • A Canadian citizenship certificate or card

  • A Canadian passport

  • A Canadian birth certificate (if the parent was born in Canada)

  • Birth Certificate

You will need to submit your original birth certificate or a certified copy as proof of your birth outside of Canada. The birth certificate must include your full name, date and place of birth, and the names of both parents.

  • Proof of Identity

Applicants must provide proof of identity, such as:

  • A valid foreign passport

  • A national identity card

  • A driver’s license

  • Additional Supporting Documents

Depending on your situation, you may need to provide additional supporting documents, such as:

  • Adoption papers (for adopted children)
  • Legal name change documents (if applicable)
  • Marriage certificate (if the parent’s citizenship is based on marriage to a Canadian citizen)

Application Form (CIT 0001)

  • Completing the Form

To apply for Canadian citizenship by descent, you must complete the Application for a Citizenship Certificate (CIT 0001). Ensure you provide accurate and complete information, including your personal details, your Canadian parent’s details, and any previous Canadian citizenship applications.

  • Signing and Dating the Form

After completing the form, ensure you sign and date it in the appropriate sections. Unsigned or undated applications will be returned without processing.

Application Fees and Payment Methods

There is a non-refundable application fee for obtaining Canadian citizenship by descent. As of September 2021, the fee is CAD 75. You can find the most up-to-date fee information on the IRCC’s website. Payment can be made online using a credit card or a valid prepaid card.

Submitting the Application Package

Once you have completed the application form and gathered all the necessary documents, you can submit your application package by mail to the appropriate IRCC office. Detailed mailing instructions can be found in the CIT 0001 application guide.

Application Processing Time and Tracking

Processing times for citizenship by descent applications can vary, but on average, they take around 5 to 8 months. You can check the status of your application and current processing times on the IRCC’s website. Remember that providing complete and accurate documentation can help speed up the processing of your application.

4. After Approval of Citizenship by Descent

Receiving the Citizenship Certificate

Once your application for Canadian citizenship by descent is approved, you will receive a citizenship certificate. This document serves as official proof of your Canadian citizenship and can be used for various purposes, such as obtaining a Canadian passport.

Obtaining a Canadian Passport

As a Canadian citizen, you are eligible to apply for a Canadian passport. To do so, you must complete the Adult General Passport Application (PPTC 153) and submit it along with the required supporting documents, including your citizenship certificate, proof of identity, and two passport-sized photos. More information on applying for a Canadian passport can be found on the Government of Canada’s website.

Registering for Social Benefits and Healthcare

As a Canadian citizen, you are eligible for various social benefits and healthcare services. To access these benefits, you will need to register for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) and a provincial health card. The process for obtaining a SIN and health card varies by province, so it is essential to consult your province’s government website for specific instructions.

5. Possible Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Incomplete or Incorrect Documentation

Incomplete or incorrect documentation can result in delays or even rejection of your citizenship application. To avoid these issues, ensure you carefully review the document requirements and provide accurate and up-to-date information in your application.

Delays in Processing

Processing times for citizenship applications can vary, and delays can occur for various reasons. To minimize delays, ensure your application is complete and accurate, and respond promptly to any requests for additional information from IRCC.

Appeal Process for Denied Applications

If your application for Canadian citizenship by descent is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. Appeals must be made within 30 days of receiving the decision, and you must provide valid reasons and supporting documents for your appeal. More information on the appeal process can be found on the IRCC’s website.

6. Conclusion and Additional Resources

Applying for Canadian citizenship by descent can be a complex process, but with the proper guidance and attention to detail, eligible individuals can successfully obtain their Canadian citizenship and enjoy the numerous benefits and privileges that come with it.

While this guide provides an overview of the citizenship by descent process, it is essential to consult with an immigration lawyer or consultant familiar with Canadian citizenship laws for personalized advice and assistance. Legal professionals can help ensure your application is accurate, complete, and tailored to your specific situation.

Contacting the Canadian Embassy or Consulate

For further assistance or inquiries, you can contact the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate. They can provide guidance on the application process, document requirements, and other relevant information. A list of Canadian embassies and consulates can be found on the Government of Canada’s website.

Online Resources and Support Groups

There are numerous online resources and support groups available to assist individuals in navigating the Canadian citizenship by descent process. Some helpful resources include:

  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC): The official government website provides up-to-date information on the citizenship application process, forms, fees, and more.
  • CanadaVisa Forum: An online community where individuals can ask questions, share experiences, and connect with others going through the citizenship application process.
  • Facebook Groups: Many Facebook groups are dedicated to Canadian citizenship by descent, where members can exchange information, advice, and support.

By leveraging these resources and seeking professional guidance, applicants can successfully navigate the Canadian citizenship by descent process and become proud Canadian citizens.