Accessing citizenship records
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.
Information in Citizenship Registration records is defined as "personal information" by the Privacy Act.
Citizenship Registration records cannot be released:
- without the written consent of the individual concerned; or
- unless release is under specific guidelines, as set out by the Privacy Act.
A person may access information about citizenship policies, guidelines, other records or personal information.
Depending on the nature of the request and information required, a person may file a search through:
- the Public Rights Administration Office;
- Access to Information and Privacy; or
- a Search of Citizenship Records held in the Case Processing Centre in Sydney, Nova Scotia.
Procedures to request citizenship information
Requesting information about citizenship records through an Access to Information request
Information about citizenship records is available through the Public Rights Administration Office.
Requests must be made in writing using the Access to Information and Personal Information Request Form. There is a $5 fee for each request.
Once the form is completed, the application and $5 fee for each request is sent to the Director of Information Management, Public Rights Administration Office.
If the search through the Access to Information finds a document, the applicant receives only a copy of that document.
Personal Information requests
A request by an individual for his or her own record can be made, in writing, under the Privacy Act. There is no fee for this service.
Requests must be made in writing, or by using the Personal Information Request Form. Send the completed application form to the ATIP Coordinator.
Obtaining Record Letter or No Record Letter
An Application for a Search of Citizenship Records can also be made.
The answer will provide the information contained in the citizenship records, but the applicant will not receive a copy of the record.
If a record is located, the applicant will receive a "record letter" which shows how and when an individual acquired citizenship or was naturalized. This letter is not proof of citizenship.
If no record is found, the applicant will be given a "no record" letter.
An applicant must submit an Application for Search of Citizenship Records. There is a fee for each request. See Fees and Refunds-Chapter 1.
The application can be sent to the Case Processing Centre in Sydney.
Third party requests
Information may be shared with third parties if:
- written permission by the individual whose record is requested has been given; or
- if the individual has been dead for more than 20 years; or
- if the request falls under the "consistent use" interpretation of the Privacy Act.
Questions about interpretation of "consistent use" should be directed to the Case Management Branch ATIP Liaison Officer before the information is released.
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