You may be eligible for Canadian citizenship if you were born outside of Canada and at least one of your biological or legal parents at birth were a Canadian citizen.
Proof of Canadian citizenship allows you to enjoy all the benefits of being a Canadian, including voting in federal elections, getting a social insurance number (SIN), access to universal healthcare, getting a driver’s license and holding one of the world’s most powerful passports.
In order to prove Canadian citizenship, you can submit a proof of Canadian citizenship application to the Canadian government. This is also known as applying for a Canadian citizenship certificate.
The Canadian citizenship certificate and a Canadian birth certificate are the only two documents accepted by Passport Canada as proof of Canadian citizenship.
You can apply for a citizenship certificate at any time and irrespective if your Canadian parent is alive or deceased.
How to apply for a Canadian citizenship certificate
You can apply for a Canadian citizenship certificate on Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) website.
You must provide evidence that at least one of your legal or biological parent at birth was a Canadian citizen.
Evidence can include:
- Your parent’s birth certificate
- Your parent’s Canadian citizenship card
- Your parent’s citizenship certificate
It is important to note that Canada limits citizenship by descent to the first generation born outside Canada or to a Canadian parent, so you will not be eligible if only your grandparents or other extended family is Canada.
In addition, if you were born abroad and adopted by a Canadian after your birth, you are not eligible to apply for a Canadian citizenship.
You can submit the application and evidence online provided that your Canadian parent was born in Canada on or after February 15, 1977, or was granted citizenship on or after April 17, 2009. Otherwise, you must submit a paper application.
Once IRCC receives your application, you will receive an “acknowledgement of receipt” and your file will be reviewed and processed. You may check the processing status of your application online, as processing times may vary based on individual circumstances. IRCC may also request additional information or documents.