It is the goal of many individuals around the world to settle permanently in Canada. Although Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has not yet announced anything to this effect, with the disruption caused by the coronavirus, it is not certain that the processing of permanent residency applications will continue uninterrupted. Therefore, alternative options should be explored and pursued.
One of the easiest, and very often surprising manners in which Canadian citizenship may be obtained applies to those individuals who are fortunate enough to have at least one Canadian parent. In many cases, and often without them knowing it, such individuals might already be Canadian citizens simply by virtue of their parent’s nationality.
Recognition of this fact, and eligibility for the benefits it entails, is accomplished through an application called “Proof of Citizenship”. In this application, the individual must demonstrate that he or she has a parent who is a Canadian citizen. This means that even if they were born outside of Canada and have never set foot in Canada, that individual could be a Canadian citizen. In such scenarios, the process of acquiring permanent residency, which is usually a pre-requisite for citizenship and can pose many challenges, is bypassed.
This process provides a facilitated and expedited route through which an individual might reap the benefits of Canadian citizenship. This is not a status that is granted lightly and therefore, these cases are usually scrutinized closely in order to ensure eligibility and that the required supporting documentation has been provided.
Having a parent who is a Canadian citizen does not guarantee that an individual will qualify to apply for Proof of Citizenship as factors such as the process through which citizenship was acquired as well as when the parent(s) became a Canadian citizen play a role in determining eligibility for this application.
Since the application process can be problematic if the appropriate paperwork is not submitted, would-be Canadian citizens are often best served by seeking professional guidance in the context of this application. IRCC has yet to announce any disruption in the processing of these applications. Eligible applicants are therefore encouraged to start the process as soon as possible.
Confirming eligibility: As noted above, there are many nuances as it concerns who is eligible for this application and who must pursue other options. Determining definitively that the applicant is eligible for proof of citizenship is essential and can avoid false hopes, wasted time, and wasted application fees.
Acquiring the correct documentation: Collecting and submitting the correct documentation, in the appropriate format is of the utmost importance for any application that confers status in Canada. There are many documents that can attest to proof of eligibility for this particular process but IRCC provides guidelines for the specific documents that are required. These guidelines must be followed to ensure a successful application. Key documents include birth certificates and proof that one of the parents was a Canadian citizen at the time of the applicant’s birth.
Submitting the application in the correct manner: Different applications provide for different methods of submission to which the applicant must adhere if the process is to run smoothly. Some applications may be submitted at the border, while others must be submitted either online or by mail. Knowing how and where to submit your application is key to ensuring the process runs smoothly.
If an applicant has any doubts with regard to the application, it is in his or her best interest to consult qualified and competent Canadian immigration attorneys to ensure that the process is as smooth and problem-free as possible.
Stephen Sherman is a Canadian immigration attorney with the Campbell, Cohen Immigration Law Firm in Montreal. He specializes in assisting foreign nationals to work legally in Canada and resolving issues relating to criminal inadmissibility to Canada.
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