ARCHIVED – Operational Bulletin 102 – February 26, 2009 (expired)

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Implementation of Bill C-37, an Act to Amend the Citizenship Act

This Operational Bulletin has expired.

Background

Bill C-37, an Act to amend the Citizenship Act, S.C. 2008, c. 14, will come into force on April 17, 2009. Bill C-37 will:

  • restore citizenship to many individuals who have lost it due to former legislation;
  • give citizenship to certain individuals who have never been Canadian, and who are of the first generation born outside Canada to a Canadian parent;
  • expand the eligibility of adopted persons applying for a grant of citizenship to include persons adopted between January 1, 1947, and February 14, 1977;
  • limit citizenship by descent to the first generation born outside Canada to a Canadian parent; and
  • limit citizenship by adoption to the first generation born or adopted outside Canada to a Canadian parent.

It is unknown how many individuals will obtain citizenship as a result of these amendments. However, given that the largest group of persons who lost their citizenship did so because they naturalized in the United States between 1947 and 1977, it is assumed that the majority of persons who will be restored or given citizenship under Bill C-37 currently live in the United States.

It is important to note that Bill C-37 will not take citizenship away from any person who is a citizen when the bill comes into force. As such, individuals born outside Canada in the second or subsequent generation, who are currently subject to the retention rules and who will turn 28 years of age on or after April 17, 2009, will no longer need to retain their citizenship as this requirement is repealed by Bill C-37.

Who will become a citizen on April 17, 2009

Bill C-37 restores citizenship (retroactive to the date of loss) to the following individuals because of the rules in effect under former legislation:

  • People who became citizens when the Canadian Citizenship Act took effect on January 1, 1947, including people born in Canada prior to 1947, war brides, and other British subjects who had lived in Canada for at least five years before 1947 and who then lost citizenship through automatic operation of the law;
  • People who were born in Canada or who became Canadian citizens on or after January 1, 1947, and who then lost their citizenship through automatic operation of the law; and
  • People born outside Canada, on or after January 1, 1947, in the first generation born outside Canada, to a parent who was a Canadian citizen at the time of the birth, and who then lost their citizenship through automatic operation of the law.

Bill C-37 gives citizenship (retroactive to the date of birth) to the following individuals who have never been citizens:

People who were born outside Canada on or after January 1, 1947, in the first generation born outside Canada to a parent who was a Canadian citizen at the time of the birth.

Who will not become a citizen on April 17, 2009

The following individuals will not become citizens under Bill C-37:

  • People who did not become citizens when the Canadian Citizenship Act took effect on January 1, 1947;
  • People born in Canada who are not citizens because at the time of their birth, one of their parents had diplomatic status in Canada and neither parent was a permanent resident or citizen of Canada;
  • People who were born to a Canadian parent in the second or subsequent generation outside Canada, who are not already citizens or who lost their citizenship in the past (including people who did not take the steps needed to retain their citizenship);
  • People who renounced their citizenship as adults with the Canadian government; and
  • People whose citizenship was revoked by the government because it was obtained by fraud.

Adoption

The legislative changes that came into effect in December 2007 that allowed persons born outside Canada and adopted after February 14, 1977, to become Canadian citizens without first becoming permanent residents will be extended to people adopted on or after January 1, 1947. For the adopted person to be eligible for citizenship, certain requirements must be met, including the submission of an application.

Details on first generation limitation

As of April 17, 2009, citizenship through a parent (referred to as derivative citizenship or citizenship by descent) is limited to the first generation. This means that individuals born outside Canada to a parent who was a Canadian citizen at the time of the birth will only be Canadian at birth if:

  • the parent was born in Canada;
  • the parent became a Canadian citizen by immigrating to Canada and being granted citizenship.

The first generation limitation will also apply to foreign-born individuals adopted by a Canadian parent. The adopted children of Canadian citizens will be considered to be the first generation born outside Canada if they are granted citizenship under the adoption provisions of the Citizenship Act.

The first generation limit will mean that a child born outside Canada to a Canadian parent will not be a Canadian citizen at birth if:

  • the Canadian parent was also born outside Canada to a Canadian parent (i.e. Canadian parent is first or subsequent generation citizen born outside Canada); or
  • the Canadian parent was born outside Canada and was granted citizenship under the adoption provisions of the Citizenship Act (i.e. Canadian parent did not obtain citizenship under the regular grant process after becoming a permanent resident).

The first generation limit will also mean that a child born outside Canada will not be eligible to obtain citizenship under the adoption provisions of the Citizenship Act if:

  • the Canadian parent was born outside Canada to a Canadian parent (i.e. Canadian parent is first or subsequent generation citizen born outside Canada); or
  • the Canadian parent was granted citizenship under the adoption provisions of the Citizenship Act.

Exception to the first generation limitation

The first generation limitation to citizenship by descent will not apply to children born or adopted outside Canada in the second or subsequent generation if, at the time of the child's birth or adoption, their Canadian parent is working outside Canada for the Canadian government, a Canadian province or serving outside Canada with the Canadian Forces.

Permanent residence option for children born or adopted outside Canada in the second or subsequent generation

Children born outside Canada in the second or subsequent generation to a Canadian parent may be eligible to be sponsored for permanent residence in the family class under provisions in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations, provided that immigration requirements are met. Once they become permanent residents, they will be able to apply for a grant of citizenship under the existing provisions. The permanent residence avenue remains open to foreign-born children adopted by Canadian parents as well.

Statelessness – bloodline connection

The new first generation limit on citizenship by descent creates the possibility that a person born outside Canada to a Canadian parent on or after April 17, 2009, could be stateless. This would only occur if the person born outside Canada to a Canadian parent who was also born outside Canada to a Canadian parent, did not acquire any other citizenship by birth through either parent, and did not acquire another citizenship by birth on soil because of the laws of the country in which they were born.

Once Bill C-37 comes into force, individuals who are born outside Canada to a Canadian parent and who are and have always been stateless, will be able to apply for a grant of citizenship. The permanent residence avenue also remains an option.

Proof of citizenship

People born in Canada, who lost their citizenship, and who will regain it under Bill C-37 should be able to use their Canadian birth certificate as proof of citizenship for most purposes. Individuals who were not born in Canada and whose citizenship will be restored or who will become Canadian when Bill C-37 comes into force, will need to apply for a certificate of Canadian citizenship (if they do not already have one) as a proof of citizenship prior to applying for a passport.

The current law still applies

Until Bill C-37 comes into force, the current law will apply. This means that people who will become citizens under the bill, are not citizens yet. Once Bill C-37 comes into force, these people may apply for proof of citizenship or for a Canadian passport.

Individuals subject to the retention requirement

The retention requirement under section 8 of the Citizenship Act will be repealed as of April 17, 2009.

This means that Canadian citizens who are of the second or subsequent generation born outside Canada to a Canadian parent, who are subject to the current retention provisions, and who will turn 28 before April 17, 2009, must continue to apply to retain their citizenship before turning 28. Bill C-37 will not restore citizenship to individuals who turned 28 before C-37 comes into force and who did not retain citizenship under section 8. However, those who are subject to the current retention provisions, and who will turn 28 after the new law comes into force (i.e. on or after April 17, 2009) will remain citizens and are not required to submit a retention application.

Individuals who lost citizenship as minors between January 1, 1947, and February 14, 1977

Individuals who lost Canadian citizenship as a minor (under the age of 21) on or between January 1, 1947, and February 14, 1977, may currently resume Canadian citizenship without first obtaining permanent resident status (exception under subsection 11(1.1) of the Citizenship Act). Bill C-37 will only restore citizenship to these individuals if they were previously a citizen because they were born in Canada, naturalized, or were born in the first generation outside Canada to a Canadian parent.

As Bill C-37 will repeal the exception under subsection 11(1.1), individuals in this situation born in the second or subsequent generation outside Canada, who wish to resume Canadian citizenship without obtaining permanent resident status first, must apply to resume citizenship before April 17, 2009. Former citizens who do not obtain citizenship under Bill C-37 and who apply to resume citizenship on or after April 17, 2009, must meet all the resumption requirements including being a permanent resident and meeting the residence requirement.

Former citizens who will not obtain citizenship under Bill C-37 and who wish to resume their Canadian citizenship using the exception provided in 11(1.1) must submit a resumption application with the required fees and documentation, on or before April 16, 2009. Applications mailed by the applicant to the Case Processing Centre (CPC Sydney) or to the Canadian embassy, high commission or consulate must be postmarked on or before April 16, 2009. Alternatively, applications may be submitted in person at a Canadian embassy, high commission or consulate on or before April 16, 2009. An application form will be accepted if the applicant has, at a minimum, completed and signed the form and paid the correct fees. CPC Sydney will process these applications and contact the applicant to request any further documents.

Individuals under enforcement action who may automatically acquire or reacquire citizenship on April 17, 2009

When the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) becomes aware that an individual under enforcement action may benefit from Bill C-37, an e-mail containing the details of the case should be sent to Citizenship Case Review (CIC). The subject line should state “Possible Bill C-37 case, under enforcement”. All available identity documents which would help to establish the identity of the individual and their claim to citizenship should be scanned and attached, including the birth certificates of the individual and the Canadian parent, along with any other relevant information. CIC has committed to responding within 48 hours to advise that either:

  1. the individual will likely not benefit from Bill C-37;
  2. the individual will likely benefit from Bill C-37; or
  3. more time is required to make this determination.

CBSA will ensure that such individuals are not removed until CIC has responded.

If CIC confirms that the individual will benefit from Bill C-37, the CBSA will only proceed with enforcement action if proof of citizenship cannot be obtained by the individual. The individual will be counselled to apply for proof of citizenship and request urgent processing due to an active enforcement file.

For persons seeking entry, the current law applies.

Citizenship certificates with an expiry date

From January 2007 to May 2008, citizenship certificates for persons subject to the retention requirements included an expiry date (the person’s 28th birthday), at which time citizenship would be lost unless the necessary steps to retain it had been taken. A decision was made that, although the expiry date is no longer relevant to persons who turn 28 after implementation of Bill C-37 and they will remain Canadian, the card itself will expire on that date and the holder will be required to apply for a new certificate.

Transition Guidelines

Proof of citizenship (application for a citizenship certificate)

Proof applicants who are currently not citizens but will acquire citizenship once Bill C-37 comes into force will be advised in writing that a decision will not be made on their application until after April 17, 2009.

Proof applications where the individual is subject to the retention requirements and who will turn 28 years of age on or after April 17, 2009, will receive a citizenship certificate that does not contain an expiry date. To the extent possible, persons who need to retain before April 17, 2009, will be advised to submit a retention application before April 17, 2009, even if they cannot meet the residence requirement.

Adoption applications

Persons who were adopted between January 1, 1947, and February 14, 1977 (inclusive), who have submitted an application for citizenship, and who do not meet the requirements for a regular grant of citizenship, will be advised that their applications will be processed under the adoption provisions of the Citizenship Act after April 17, 2009. Cases that are currently in Case Management Branch and that have not been submitted to the Governor in Council to be considered for a discretionary grant, will be processed after April 17, 2009, unless the client demonstrates a need for urgent processing.

Grant and resumption applications

Where it is evident that a grant and/or resumption applicant will automatically acquire or reacquire citizenship on April 17, 2009, the file will be held by, or returned to, CPC Sydney for processing after April 17, 2009, unless the client demonstrates a need for urgent processing.

Resumption applicants who lost citizenship as minors (11(1.1) exception) and who are in the second or subsequent generation born outside Canada to a Canadian parent will not reacquire citizenship under Bill C-37. Therefore, these applications will be processed as usual.

Retention applications – individual turns 28 before April 17, 2009

Retention applications for individuals who will turn 28 years of age before April 17, 2009, will be processed as usual.

Retention applications – individual turns 28 after April 17, 2009

CPC Sydney will return applications already received with a full refund if the individual will turn 28 years of age on or after April 17, 2009, and the individual has a valid citizenship certificate with no expiry date. CPC Sydney will hold retention applications already received and process them after April 17, 2009, if the individual will turn 28 years of age on or after April 17, 2009, and the individual does not have a valid certificate (includes lost or stolen certificate) or if the individual has a certificate with an expiry date.

For new retention applications where the individual will turn 28 after April 17, 2009, CPC Sydney will return the complete application package to the client and advise them to apply for proof of citizenship if the client requires proof of citizenship or an updated certificate.

Training

A computer based training module is being prepared for consular (DFAIT), enforcement (CBSA), and CIC staff. In-class training is being prepared for Call Centre and CPC-Sydney staff, directly involved in the delivery of the citizenship program, as well as, citizenship officers across Canada who have successfully completed the proof delegation course.

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