Establishing parentage for citizenship purposes

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.

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Establishing parentage for minor 5(2) grant applications

Acceptable documents

The following documents (photocopies) can be accepted to establish parentage between the child and a parent who was a Canadian citizen at the time of the child’s birth or adoption, became a Canadian citizen after the child’s birth or adoption, or has a concurrent application for citizenship in process:

  • the child’s birth certificate showing the name of the child and the name of the parent.
  • the child’s adoption order showing the name of the child and the name of the adoptive parent.
  • the parent’s passport, if the child is listed on the passport.
  • the child’s passport, if the parent is listed on the passport.
  • the child’s Record of Landing (IMM 1000), Confirmation of Permanent Residence (IMM 5292), FOSS notes, CAIPS notes or other immigration records showing the name of the parent. Should none of the above documents be available or if there is doubt as to their authenticity, DNA test results demonstrating a genetic link between the child and the parent can be accepted if requested by a departmental official.  See the section on DNA below.
  • statutory declaration from the parent applying on behalf of the child only if all the following conditions apply:
    1. According to immigration records,
      • parentage has been established with the child’s other parent (if there is another parent) who is not applying for citizenship at the same time as the child; and
      • the parent who is applying for citizenship on behalf of the child has been identified as the spouse or the common-law partner of the child’s other parent (if there is another parent).
    2. There is no information or evidence indicating that the parent-child relationship does not exist.
    3. There is a reasonable and objectively verifiable explanation related to circumstances in the child’s country of birth for the inability to obtain a birth certificate or other documents indicating parentage as stated above, for example:
      • the central authority that normally issues birth records in the place where the child was born was not recording birth information at the time the child was born;
      • the central authority is unable to issue birth records at the time the citizenship application is made;
      • the child’s birth record information was never registered for other reasons (e.g. the child may have been excluded from the registration process due to the child’s nationality);
      • the child or one of their parents is a protected person who may be unable to obtain a birth certificate for the above reasons or for reasons related to their need for protection.
    4. The statutory declaration is made in person before a citizenship officer.
    5. The citizenship officer is satisfied that the parent-child relationship exists.

Statutory declaration

The statutory declaration should include as much information as possible, including the reasons why a birth certificate for the child is unobtainable.

As a minimum requirement, the declaration made by the parent applying on behalf of the child should include the following:

  • file number and/or case ID;
  • child's name, date of birth, city/town and country of birth;
  • parent's name, date of birth, city/town and country of birth;
  • parent's reason(s) for being unable to obtain a birth certificate for the child;
  • signature of parent;
  • name and signature of the citizenship officer witnessing the declaration;
  • date of the declaration;
  • acknowledgment that the parent making the declaration understands that if they make a false declaration, the child's Canadian citizenship could be taken away, the citizenship certificate could be recalled and the parent could be charged under section 29 of the Citizenship Act.

Where parentage cannot be established from the information on file or through available immigration information, the Case Processing Centre in Sydney (CPC-S) will request that the applicant submit one of the following documents:

  • the child’s birth certificate showing the name of the child and the name of the parent
  • the child’s adoption order showing the name of the child and the name of the adoptive parent
  • the parent’s passport, if the child is listed on the passport
  • the child’s passport, if the parent is listed on the passport

If the parent indicates that they cannot obtain a birth certificate for the child and the parent does not have any of the other documents listed above to demonstrate parentage, the CPC-S will

  • refer the file to the local office under a covering memo indicating that it appears one or more of the criteria for accepting a statutory declaration may apply; or
  • inform the parent of the option to provide DNA test results, if the case does not meet the criteria for accepting a statutory declaration.

If the file is referred to the local office for a statutory declaration, the local office will schedule the parent to make a statutory declaration before a citizenship officer and will request that the parent bring any documents in their possession that may help demonstrate that the parent is the child’s mother or father (e.g., school records, medical records, photographs, etc.).

Parentage may need to be established with other parent (if there is another parent)

Where parentage was only established with one parent at the CPC-S and that parent’s application is non-approved, withdrawn or abandoned, or they are not a Canadian citizen and do not have a citizenship application in process, the local office will determine if parentage can be established with the other parent (if there is another parent), providing the other parent is a Canadian citizen or has a concurrent application for citizenship in process.

Minor applying under subsection 5(1)

Minor 5(1) applicants do not need to provide evidence to establish parentage. They do have to evidence that the person applying on their behalf has custody or is empowered to act on their behalf. See Minor applying under subsection 5(1) and the application guide (CIT 0403)

General establishment of parentage

Assisted human reproduction including surrogacy arrangements

Children born abroad through assisted human reproduction (AHR), including surrogacy arrangements, undertaken by Canadian intending parents are not eligible for Canadian citizenship by descent when no genetic lineage or gestational connection to a Canadian parent who is eligible to pass on citizenship can be established. Learn more.

DNA testing

For information on when DNA testing could be suggested, the process for the collection of DNA samples, and the list of accredited laboratories, see DNA testing

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