How to get proof of Canadian citizenship

If you have a Canadian parent, you may be a Canadian citizen and be eligible for a Canadian passport.

A citizenship certificate is an important document that proves Canadian citizenship for those who have Canadian parents. This certificate gives you the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as all Canadian citizens. It is one of only two documents accepted by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) as proof of Canadian citizenship.

You can obtain proof of Canadian citizenship if you were born outside Canada and at least one of your biological or legal parents was already a Canadian citizen at the time of your birth. To confirm that you are a citizen, you must follow the Government of Canada process and submit an application.

If you are eligible, there is no age limit or time window in which you need to apply. You can apply regardless of whether your Canadian parents are living or deceased, as long as you are able to prove that they were Canadian at the time of your birth. One way to do this is with their birth certificate.

It is worth noting that proof of Canadian citizenship can only be obtained by the first generation born outside Canada to Canadian parents. For example, if your Canadian mother gave birth to you in another country, you are likely to be eligible to receive proof of citizenship, but your children may not be born in Canada.

Benefits of getting your citizenship certificate

Having proof of Canadian citizenship means you are eligible to apply for a Canadian passport, one of the strongest passports in the world. In fact, it was recently ranked the eighth best passport by a recent Global Passport Ranking report by Henley & Partners. Apart from a Canadian birth certificate, a citizenship certificate is the only other proof of citizenship that is accepted.

If you have a passport, you can enter and leave Canada without any restrictions, visas or permits. You can also hold more than one passport as a dual citizen, provided your home country also allows it.

As a citizen you are also allowed to vote in elections, run for political office, and benefit from Canada’s universal health system.

Applying for citizenship certificate

The first step, if you think you are eligible for proof of citizenship, is to visit the IRCC website and download the application package.

Along with your form, you will need proof that your parents were Canadian citizens at the time of your birth. Proof may come in the form of a birth certificate, Canadian citizenship card or your parents’ citizenship certificate. You will also need your own birth certificate and proof of identity.

Once IRCC receives your application, you will get an acknowledgment of receipt and then you have to wait for the approval of IRCC. If you are approved, you will receive a Canadian Certificate of Citizenship.

Processing times

Currently, the IRCC Processing Time Tool estimates that a Proof of Citizenship certificate will be issued within 17 months of receiving a completed application.

IRCC will offer expedited processing in exceptional circumstances such as if an applicant needs to receive benefits for health care, a social insurance number or start a job, or in case of emergency travel to or from Canada.

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