How foreign-born children of Canadians get citizenship

Shelby Thevenot
Published: August 13, 2020

Canadian parents automatically pass on citizenship to their children, no matter where they’re born.

At least one biological or legal parent needs to be Canadian at the time of the baby’s birth. If you can prove your citizenship status to the Canadian government your children will benefit from the perks that come with being Canadian, and you are exempt from coronavirus travel restrictions.

It also works if your parent is Canadian and you were born abroad. However, Canada limits the ability to pass on citizenship to the first-generation born outside Canada only. So it cannot be passed down to grandchildren, for example.

Contact an immigration lawyer

In order to get citizenship status for you or your child, you have to apply for a Proof of Citizenship, which is also called a Canadian citizenship certificate. It costs about $75 CAD and can take around five months to process, according to the Canadian immigration department's website. There may be an option for expedited processing in urgent cases.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) provides the forms on its webpage for people to download and complete. If the documents are not in English or French you will need a translation of the documents and the translator will need to supply an affidavit. Translations from family members are not accepted.

Documents will need to be clear, easy-to-read, and in colour. IRCC will ask for the original birth certificate that displays the name of the Canadian parents.

You will also need proof that at least one parent was a Canadian citizen at the time of birth. This could include the parent’s birth certificate, citizenship document, or any other evidence to prove the parent’s Canadian status.

If, for some reason, the parent's name is not listed on the birth certificate, IRCC will accept birth records and documents confirming the name of the Canadian parent. These could be pre-birth orders, court orders, surrogacy agreements or hospital records among others. Adoption orders are not accepted in this case.

IRCC also asks for an explanation as to why the Canadian parent's name is not listed on the applicant's birth certificate, or why the birth certificate was changed or replaced. If you are not sure, explain why.

Once IRCC receives your completed application they will send and “acknowledgement of receipt.” If they find your application to be incomplete they will send it back and you will have to fill in the missing elements. If they are satisfied with your application then they will send the citizenship certificate and you will have your proof of citizenship. Welcome to Canada.

Get help applying for Canadian citizenship

© 2020 CIC News All Rights Reserved

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