Foreign nationals with at least one parent, whether biological or legal, who was a Canadian citizen at the time of their birth are eligible for Canadian citizenship themselves through proof of citizenship.
In other words, Canadian citizenship is attainable even for some foreign-born individuals who may have never been to Canada before, although it is important to know that eligibility for obtaining proof of citizenship (also known as a Canadian citizenship certificate) as a foreign national involves meeting strict criteria.
Note: To be eligible for proof of citizenship as a foreign national, you must be a direct descendant (child) of a Canadian citizen
In other words, you are ineligible for proof of citizenship if your Canadian citizen relative, for instance, is a grandparent or some other extended family member. You are also ineligible for proof of citizenship if you are a foreign national who was adopted by a Canadian citizen after birth.
Proof of eligibility
Verification of an individual’s eligibility for proof of citizenship begins with filling out the appropriate Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) application.
Note: Eligible foreign nationals can apply for proof of citizenship at any time, whether their Canadian citizen parent is still living, or they have passed away
At this time, IRCC will request evidence, which can be provided using any of the following documents belonging to your parent(s), that at least one of them was a Canadian citizen at the time you were born.
- A birth certificate
- A Canadian citizenship card
- A Canadian citizenship certificate
If your Canadian citizen parent was born in Canada on or after February 15, 1977, you may submit your proof of citizenship application online. This also applies if your parent was granted citizenship on or after April 17, 2009. Should neither date apply to your situation, a paper application must be submitted to IRCC.
In either situation, applying for proof of citizenship includes a $75 fee. Successful applicants will receive a Canadian citizenship certificate upon IRCC approval, which can take approximately 10 months according to the department’s latest available processing time estimates at the time of writing.
What is the point of obtaining proof of citizenship?
Becoming a Canadian citizen provides you with access to all the same benefits that are currently available to those born in Canada.
One example is access to a Canadian passport, ranked as the 7th strongest passport in the world earlier this year by Henley and Partners based on the ability of its holders to access 186 without needing a visa.
Click here to learn more about the benefits of holding Canadian citizenship, including the right to vote in federal elections, the ability to get a social insurance number (SIN) and more.