Procedure: Withdrawal of applications

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.

This section provides guidance on:

  • the process to withdraw an application for a grant, proof, resumption, or renunciation of citizenship;
  • how an applicant can withdraw an application; and
  • the refund policy for withdrawals.

Withdrawal Policy

The Citizenship Act does not specifically address a situation where an applicant decides to voluntarily withdraw their citizenship application. However, because the citizenship legislation does not constrain the applicant’s discretion to withdraw their application, CIC’s policy is to permit the applicant the opportunity to withdraw their application should they decide it is in their best interest to do so. Since it is the applicant who may decide to withdraw their citizenship application, at their discretion, citizenship officials should advise the applicant of this available option but should also avoid recommending that an applicant withdraw their application to avoid the perception that the decision to withdraw was influenced or made for the benefit of CIC or citizenship officials.

Whether an application is withdrawn or non-approved, the client is refunded the $100 Right of Citizenship fee. By withdrawing, the applicant loses an opportunity to be counseled in an in-person setting on when they will be eligible to re-apply, and also forfeits the opportunity to have their application assessed against the legislative requirements, which may help the applicant identify areas where the applicant is weak and could be better prepared for the next time they apply.

It is possible that an applicant is not aware that withdrawing their application is an option available to them. Therefore, there may be situations where CIC officials may suggest a withdrawal, such as in the following circumstances:

  • the applicant informs the citizenship office that they will not be available to pursue their application and will continue to be unavailable for the foreseeable future (e.g., for the next six months or longer);
  • the applicant has changed their mind about becoming a Canadian citizen (for example, the applicant has just realized that they will lose their current citizenship, or they no longer wish to give up their current citizenship);
  • Following a test session, local office staff will communicate to the applicant the results of their test. Providing test results will allow the applicant to gauge their performance, consider the option to withdraw and prepare in consequence for the retest. Officers are also to explain that clients can withdraw their application for citizenship. Officers are not to recommend withdrawal of applications, but rather inform the applicant that if they do not feel that they can meet the knowledge requirement that the option to withdraw exists.

If the applicant has a significant shortfall of physical presence in Canada (usually less than 900 days), CIC may suggest a withdrawal as well.

Related topic, see Refunds.

General rules for grant and proof withdrawals

An applicant can withdraw an application for any reason and at any time before the person becomes a citizen by taking the oath of citizenship.

Withdrawals of applications must be done in writing either by using the withdrawal form, or by sending a letter to citizenship authorities requesting withdrawal of the application.

Withdrawals on behalf of minors must be done by a parent or legal guardian. If the concerned minor is older than 14, the minor should countersign the request for withdrawal, if possible. Before returning the file to the CPC-S for file retirement, review the file to assess if it needs to be referred to the Case Management Branch for review under Section 29.

When refunds are paid to grant and proof applicants

Refund the Application Processing fee only if:

  • CIC is able to confirm the applicant received incorrect information about applying from either a CIC official or a foreign service officer;
  • the applicant dies before a decision is made or a proof certificate issued. The request for the refund must come from a spouse, parent, or executor and include a copy of the death certificate. The refund is paid to the applicant’s estate.

Note: If parents and a minor applied at the same time, and the parents were non-approved, the processing fee for the child’s application will not be refunded even if the application is withdrawn.

Refund Right of Citizenship fee to grant withdrawals

Refund the Right of Citizenship portion of the application fee to grant applicants who withdraw their applications before the date the person becomes a citizen.

All applicants may apply again

All applicants who withdraw an application may reapply.

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