Handling changes of date of birth information on citizenship clients (documentation and GCMS)

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.

How the decision to change date of birth is made

The decision regarding a change to a date of birth will usually be made at the beginning of the process. This means that in most cases, the decision to change the date of birth for citizenship grant or proof applications rests with the Program Support Unit in the Case Processing Centre in Sydney (CPC-Sydney). It is an internal policy at CPC-Sydney to have two officers review a file and documents when a decision may result in a denial of services or a negative decision. The decision, however, rests with one officer.

When a case is referred to Case Management Branch (CMB), the case review officer makes the decision. Once a decision has been made regarding the date of birth, the decision will not be revisited by another officer in CPC, CMB or in the field unless there is evidence to show that the decision-maker was missing relevant information to render the initial decision.

If request to change date of birth is received mid-process

An application is considered in mid-process up until the time the oath is taken. As the objective of the policy is to ensure that citizenship records contain accurate information, citizenship applicants may request a different date of birth after submitting an application. However, when a client asks for a change to the date of birth in mid-process, the client will be advised that the application will be returned to CPC-Sydney for assessment and decision AFTER the client has submitted the information from Operations Support Centre (OSC) and the completed questionnaire (CIT 0464) with documents, if applicable.

Advise the client that regardless of whether the new date of birth is approved by OSC or for citizenship purposes, the citizenship application process will be delayed. In all cases where a client submits information about a different date of birth, new clearances will be required even where the client decides not to go forward with a change in the date of birth or where the request is made but the decision is not to change the date of birth.

Corrections to the certificate will be allowed after the oath was taken where there was an administrative error by the Department such as a typographical error.

Making a negative decision

When the decision is made to refuse a request for a change to the date of birth, the officer who makes the decision will write a letter to the applicant. The letter will explain why the request is refused and what the client’s options are.

Clients may provide further information or evidence to the decision-maker and continue with attempts to change the date of birth, or clients may drop the request to change the date of birth and simply proceed with the application using the date of birth on the IMM 1000, Confirmation of PR, PR Card or, if applicable (proof applications), in the original citizenship records.

When to approve a request for a change to the date of birth

There are some situations where it is reasonable to expect the decision-maker to approve a request to change a date of birth. The following are examples of such situations:

  • Decision of the Court: The applicant has had the date of birth corrected through a motion to a court within a province or territory of Canada. This is similar to a legal change of name. In these cases, the applicant will submit the copy of the judgement.

    The applicant does not have to submit an IMM 1436, nor does the client have to provide supplementary documents. In these cases, the CPC will inform OSC of the change so that OSC can update their records by entering an NCB in FOSS. The information collected through the questionnaire (CIT 0464) will assist OSC in determining whether an investigation is necessary.

  • Administrative error: (if CPC-Sydney issued the certificate with a typographical error). The error may have been as a result of incorrect data entry or because the client transcribed the date of birth incorrectly on the application form and the error was not caught during the application process. For example: Applicant’s date of birth per the IMM 1000 or Confirmation of PR is October 12, 1948. The client indicated 1948-12-10 on the application form and this was interpreted as December 10, 1948 on the certificate.
  • Date of birth as per IMM 1000, Confirmation of PR, or PR Card: The certificate was issued using a date of birth on a passport or other document and the subject applies to have a certificate with the date of birth as per the IMM 1000, Confirmation of PR or PR Card. For example: Applicant applied for grant of citizenship in 1994 and initially requested a date of birth as per the IMM 1000. The certificate was issued using the birth date on the passport, which was different. The applicant requests a replacement certificate with the date of birth that appears on the IMM 1000.

Factors to consider

Information and documentation

There is no one document or list of documents an applicant may use to substantiate the birth date change. In most cases, it is reasonable to expect the applicant will submit primary documents, including an original birth certificate or amended birth record from their country of birth. In other cases, the evidence submitted will consist of secondary documents such as birth or death notices, affidavits, entries in family records or census records. The decision-maker must review all the evidence submitted. The evidence includes documents and the completed questionnaire and, if applicable, the written decision from the OSC for why they refused the Request to Amend Immigration Record of Landing (IMM 1000) or Confirmation of Permanent Residence (IMM 5292). Some of the factors the officer should consider when reviewing documents include:

  • When were the documents issued? Were they issued before the date of landing? Before the acquisition of citizenship?
  • From where are the documents issued? Is it a country known for providing reliable documents or are most documents from this country considered to be unreliable?
  • Do the documents meet the standards for that country?
  • Are the answers to the questions in the Request to Correct a Date of Birth for Citizenship (CIT 0464) consistent with the evidence submitted?

Identity and misrepresentation

A change to a person’s biographical data can sometimes result in a change to the person’s identity. Changes to biographical data could also result in a person gaining an advantage to which they are not otherwise entitled. For example, a person may be changing the birth date in order to access pension benefits sooner than the person would normally be eligible. While the citizenship certificate is to reflect the true identity, the officer making the decision about a birth date change needs to be aware of the consequences of changing a person’s identity or biographical data. The following are factors to consider in order to determine whether there is an identity issue or whether the client may be misrepresenting the information for gain.

  • Is this applicant requesting a minor change or a major change to a date of birth?
  • Is this request accompanied by a request to change something else such as a person’s name or place of birth?
  • Did the applicant initially present a “primary” document from one country and is now presenting another “primary” document from a different country?
  • Is the applicant providing a document that they previously claimed was impossible to obtain? How did the applicant obtain this document?
  • Does the change affect the person’s initial category of immigration to Canada? Does it affect the eligibility for sponsorship (i.e., age for sponsorship)? These cases should be referred to OSC for possible immigration investigation.
  • Will the applicant receive benefits as a result of the change (e.g., is suddenly eligible for pension)?

Where the officer reviewing the file has any doubts regarding a person’s identity or where the officer suspects there may be misrepresentation, the officer will refer the case with information to CMB. In some cases, CMB will refer the case to OSC for possible immigration investigation where it appears the information may have affected the person’s initial right to enter Canada or initial right to sponsor or be sponsored.

Other considerations

The following list is not exhaustive but serves to provide the officer with some factors to consider when making a decision about a request to change a birth date. The factors are reflected in the Request to Correct a Date of Birth for Citizenship (CIT 0464) questionnaire.

  • Timing of application: Why is the client requesting to change the date of birth at this time? When was the error discovered? If the client discovered the error many years ago, why are they requesting a change at this time?
  • Date of issuance of documents submitted to support new date of birth: Can the client provide documents which predate the date the error was recognized? Are the documents issued as a result of the client recognizing that there was an error?
  • Representation made to other organizations: Has the client tried to change the date of birth with other Canadian organizations (e.g., driver’s licence, health care, pension benefits, school records)?
  • Decision made by OSC: What was the reason for the refusal by OSC? The information provided to OSC may be used in making a determination on the change of the date of birth.
  • Previous steps taken to modify the date of birth: What attempts have been made to modify the date of birth? Has the client made continuous attempts to modify the date of birth since the error was detected?
  • Motivation of the person: Are there benefits derived from the change of date of birth?
  • Number of requests made to modify the date of birth: Is this the first time the client has tried to modify his date of birth? Has the date of birth been previously changed, such as with an adjustment certificate?
  • Reliability/Validity of documents: Are there questions regarding the validity of the documents?
  • Minor change vs. major change: Is the applicant requesting a change of a few days or many years?
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