Dress code for citizenship ceremonies

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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Citizenship judges

Citizenship judges should refer to the Judges’ Handbook for the full uniform policy.

Citizenship judges are encouraged to wear the insignia of any official honours that they may have received, such as the Order of Canada, and should wear them so that they are visible.

Clerks

The clerk of the ceremony wears a barrister’s robe and a white barrister tab for all ceremonies and for all ceremony-related moments, that is, during the preamble, ceremony and reception. This makes it clear that the ceremony is about to start and minimizes delays between the preamble and the start of the ceremony. The black vest or waist coat is optional. No other clothing accessories should be worn.

The cost of the robe and barrister tab is the responsibility of the local citizenship office.

Under the robe, the dress is business attire; however, it is recommended that the clerk wear the following items:

  • black pants or skirt
  • white or black shirt
  • black, closed-toe dress shoes

The dress for all other citizenship staff is business attire.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers

The RCMP officer wears the formal attire, known as the Red Serge, for the ceremony.

Volunteer presiding officials (VPO)

In most situations the VPO wears a black barrister robe, similar to a formal academic gown or the robe worn by the clerk of the ceremony. This is done to ensure it is clear that the VPO is representing the department. The local citizenship office lends the VPO a barrister’s robe to wear during the ceremony and covers the cost for the robe. The ceremonial robes with the maroon facings (usually worn by citizenship judges) can be worn only if the office has no other robe available or if the clerk’s robe does not fit the VPO. The VPO should not wear any type of barrister robe other than the one provided.

Some exceptions to the wearing of the barrister robe are permitted, such as traditional dress for Indigenous participants or a uniform for members of the Order of Military Merit and recipients of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces. For members of the Order of Military Merit who are serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), uniform 1A with decorations should be worn; the headdress is not worn for indoor events but is appropriate for outdoor events. Active members of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces should wear either their ceremonial police uniform (if they have one) or their regular police service uniform.

Retired citizenship judges who are recipients of one of the eligible honours, such as the Order of Canada, can wear their ceremonial robe with the maroon facings and white barrister’s tab.

Under the robe, the dress is business attire. VPOs are encouraged to wear the full-size insignia of any official honours that they may have received and should wear them so that they are visible. No other clothing accessories should be worn.

Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and veterans

The dress for active CAF members is uniform 1A (without headdress indoors) with medals and, for veterans, veteran blazer or business attire with medals.

Citizenship staff

The dress for citizenship staff at all citizenship ceremonies is business attire.

At large ceremonies, citizenship staff (excluding the clerk and volunteer presiding official) should wear name tags for identification purposes. The name tags should include affiliation, for example, Jane Smith, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

Volunteers

The dress for volunteers is business attire. Citizenship staff should provide volunteers with a name tag, so clients can recognize them as volunteers. The volunteer name tags should include affiliation, for example, George Jones, Anytown, Chamber of Commerce.

Candidates for citizenship

A citizenship ceremony is a dignified and meaningful event. Therefore, the appropriate dress is business attire. Candidates can wear traditional or religious dress and head coverings.

Local citizenship staff and volunteers who notice candidates or guests wearing casual hats should approach them before the ceremony to ask them to remove their hat. A reminder can be given during the preamble if necessary.

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