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 following:

  • the policy regarding the withdrawal of applications for a grant, proof, resumption, or renunciation of citizenship
  • how an applicant can withdraw an application
  • circumstances when withdrawals can be held in abeyance or denied
  • the refund policy for withdrawals

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Withdrawal policy

The Citizenship Act does not specifically address the withdrawal of citizenship applications. The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) policy is to permit applicants to withdraw their applications. In the event that a misrepresentation investigation is underway, IRCC may deny an applicant’s request to withdraw their application or hold it in abeyance until a formal decision has been made on their application, so as to not undermine the Act (see the “Misrepresentation cases” section below).

The option to withdraw an application exists 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 (for example, 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)
  • the applicant feels they may no longer be able to meet the requirements of the Act

It should be noted that while citizenship officials and citizenship judges are able to advise applicants of the option to withdraw, they should not recommend that an applicant do so, so as to avoid the perception that the decision was influenced or made for the benefit of IRCC or citizenship officials.

General rules for grant and proof withdrawals

An applicant can request to withdraw their citizenship application for any reason and at any time before taking the oath of citizenship.

Requests to withdraw an application must be done in writing by using the withdrawal request form [CIT 0027]. The withdrawal form is sent to the local office responsible for the processing of the file. All requests for withdrawal of a citizenship application should be reviewed and assessed by a level 2 decision maker or a citizenship supervisor.

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 withdrawal request, if possible. Before returning the file to the Case Processing Centre in Sydney for file retirement, the officer should review the file to assess if it needs to be referred to the Case Management Branch for review under section 29.

Misrepresentation cases

Requests to withdraw an application may be held in abeyance in any of the following cases:

  • a citizenship official is in the process of gathering information to determine if a referral for misrepresentation will be made pursuant to paragraph 22(1)(e.1) of the Citizenship Act
  • a citizenship official is in the process of preparing a referral for misrepresentation pursuant to paragraph 22(1)(e.1) of the Citizenship Act
  • a misrepresentation investigation has begun pursuant to paragraph 22(1)(e.1) of the Citizenship Act
  • a procedural fairness letter has been issued indicating that the misrepresentation provisions may apply to their case [paragraph 22(1)(e.1) of the Citizenship Act]

Note: If misrepresentation is suspected, cases should be suspended as per section 13.1 of the Citizenship Act as soon as possible.

Requests to withdraw an application may be denied once an investigation pursuant to paragraph 22(1)(e.1) of the Citizenship Act has led to a determination of misrepresentation.

This is to prevent applicants from circumventing the penalty of a 5-year prohibition on citizenship eligibility as a result of misrepresentation [paragraph 22(1)(e.2)]. The 5-year prohibition is meant to serve as a deterrent and to penalize those who attempt to induce an error in the administration of the Act.

As a reminder, in all cases where misrepresentation may have merit, the supervisor must send a procedural fairness letter to the applicant before rendering a decision. Refer to Procedure for determining misrepresentation.

Note: An applicant’s status as a permanent resident of Canada is not impacted by the misrepresentation provisions of the Citizenship Act.

Refund right of citizenship fee to grant withdrawals

Generally, the processing portion of the citizenship application fee cannot be refunded in the case of an accepted withdrawal request. The right of citizenship portion of the application fee can be refunded to grant applicants whose request to withdraw their application is accepted before a decision has been taken on their application.

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