Oath of Citizenship
This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.
A person who has been granted citizenship must take the Oath of Citizenship, in either English or French, or in both languages if they so choose, by swearing or solemnly affirming before a citizenship judge or any person delegated by the Minister’s delegate.
For more information about delegated authorities for citizenship ceremonies, see Legal references related to citizenship: Delegations.
Taking the Oath of Citizenship is the final legal requirement that grant applicants who are 14 years of age or older must meet in order to become Canadian citizens.
About the Oath
Text and recording of the oath
Refer to Prepare for the citizenship ceremony for the actual text of the Oath and videos.
Invitation to take the Oath of Citizenship
Citizenship officials send the Notice to Appear to Take the Oath of Citizenship form [CIT 0024] to candidates who have met all the requirements for citizenship. It informs candidates that if they wish, they may bring a holy book of their choice on which to swear the oath.
See also the following sections:
Why we swear or affirm allegiance to the Queen
In Canada, the Queen is the Head of State; therefore, in order to become citizens, all applicants for citizenship who are 14 years of age or older must swear or affirm to be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors.
- Swearing accommodates those who wish to refer to their religious beliefs in the context of the citizenship ceremony.
- Affirming accommodates those who do not wish to use a holy book during a citizenship ceremony; instead, they make a solemn declaration without reference to any religious text.
The option to swear or affirm must be offered to the candidates, either during the preamble or immediately before the administration of the Oath of Citizenship. This can be done by the clerk of the ceremony or a citizenship judge. It should not be implied that one option is more desirable than the other, as both are equally valid. The citizenship judge should say “I swear”.
Guidelines on location
- Taking the Oath at a citizenship ceremony: Unless the Minister directs otherwise, the Oath of Citizenship must be taken at a citizenship ceremony. The Oath of Citizenship is a solemn and significant part of the citizenship ceremony.
- Taking the Oath in a private ceremony: See Types of citizenship ceremonies: Private ceremonies.
- Taking the Oath in remote areas: Administering the Oath over the phone is not in keeping with the legislation, the regulations, or the policy direction of the department. For more information about travelling to deliver citizenship ceremonies, see Regional itinerant services.
- Taking the Oath outside of Canada: If an applicant has been granted citizenship under subsection 5(2), 5(4) or 11(1) of the Citizenship Act [including a person who is serving or has served in or with the Canadian Armed Forces and who meets the service requirement found in subsection 11(1.1) or 11 (1.2)] and is located outside of Canada, the Oath of Citizenship may be administered by a foreign service officer—see paragraph 20(1)(b) of the Citizenship Regulations. These exceptional cases are treated as private ceremonies and require citizenship staff to seek approval from the Registrar to allow a foreign service officer to administer the oath outside of Canada. Citizenship staff email Cit-Operations requesting the approval—refer to Citizenship Program Manual for Service Delivery Abroad for more procedural information.
Taking the Oath
Who can take the Oath
All grant applicants 14 years of age or older who meet the requirements under the Act must take the Oath of Citizenship to become citizens.
A person who is granted citizenship under section 5.5 of the Act (grant of citizenship for stateless persons born to a Canadian parent) is not required to take the Oath of Citizenship.
A waiver from taking the Oath of Citizenship is possible for applicants who cannot understand the significance of taking the Oath because of mental disability. In such cases, applicants are required to submit evidence of their condition by completing the Request for Medical Opinion form [CIT 0015].
Who cannot take the Oath
A person shall not take the Oath if they have never met or no longer meet the requirements of the Act for the grant of citizenship. Citizenship will not be granted nor the Oath taken if the person is prohibited from either.
Administering the Oath
See Bilingual text for the clerk of the ceremony for the clerk’s speaking points during the administration of the oath.
The Oath is always delivered bilingually regardless of the language format of the ceremony. For ceremonies occurring outside of Quebec, the Oath is administered in English first and then in French. Within Quebec, the Oath is administered in French first and then in English.
Ensuring the Oath is taken
It is the responsibility of the presiding official and the clerk of the ceremony to ensure that all candidates take the Oath of Citizenship. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) officials must be satisfied that the Oath of Citizenship was taken. Refer to If there is doubt that a candidate has taken the oath for more information.
For large ceremonies (50 or more candidates), additional IRCC officials will be required to ensure that all candidates have taken the Oath.
Candidates wearing full or partial face coverings
For candidates who indicate before the ceremony that they are willing to remove their face covering for the Oath-taking portion of the public ceremony, an IRCC official must ensure that that candidate’s face is uncovered at the time they take the Oath. See the If there is doubt that a candidate has taken the Oath section below.
Candidates who are accommodated to take the Oath privately before the citizenship ceremony are not required to remove their face covering during the Oath-taking portion of the public ceremony, nor does an IRCC official need to ensure the Oath was taken during the ceremony.
Accommodation for candidates wearing full or partial face coverings
When a candidate indicates at check-in that they are not willing to remove their face covering during the public ceremony due to a sincerely held religious belief, the candidate can repeat the Oath of Citizenship with their face uncovered, in private, before proceeding to the public ceremony.
The private Oath-taking must be done in front of a female judge or presiding official. If a female citizenship judge or previously delegated presiding official is not available, a female IRCC official (who has been delegated to administer the Oath) is required to administer the Oath privately, as per the delegation instrument. The candidate then proceeds to the public ceremony, and is not required to remove their face covering during the ceremony.
If there is doubt that a candidate has taken the Oath
In some circumstances, it is difficult for a judge or presiding official or for IRCC officials to ascertain whether candidates are taking the Oath. When there is doubt that a candidate has taken the Oath, the following actions are taken:
- The clerk of the ceremony is notified immediately following the Oath-taking portion of the ceremony.
- The candidate’s certificate is removed from those to be presented.
- The candidate’s name is not called and the certificate is not presented.
Note: If there is doubt that a candidate took the Oath and a minor child is associated with that candidate’s application, that minor child will not be called nor will they receive a citizenship certificate, unless the child has another parent who is already a Canadian citizen or who takes the Oath on the same day. This will have to be ascertained following the ceremony.
Immediately following the ceremony, the clerk must explain to the candidate that
- officials cannot confirm that the Oath was taken
- they must repeat the Oath in front of the judge or presiding official before receiving their citizenship certificate
This also applies in cases where a candidate wearing a face covering indicates at check-in that they will remove their face covering but do not. If the judge or presiding official is male, accommodation is provided for Oath-taking (see the Candidates wearing full or partial face coverings section above).
If a candidate refuses to take the Oath
When a candidate advises IRCC officials, prior to the ceremony, that they will not take the Oath of Citizenship or sign the Oath or Affirmation of Citizenship form (e.g. for religious reasons or because they do not wish to swear allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second), or if, after the ceremony, there is doubt that a candidate took the Oath, the following applies:
- The citizenship officer must remind the candidate that under the Citizenship Act, taking the Oath is a mandatory requirement to become a Canadian citizen.
- Should the candidate decide to proceed, IRCC officials should ensure that the candidate does, in fact, take the Oath.
- If the candidate does not take the Oath, they cannot be presented with the Oath or Affirmation of Citizenship form to sign or their certificate and do not become a Canadian citizen.
- The candidate may choose to withdraw their application for Canadian citizenship. In that case, they will not become a Canadian citizen and the local office will follow the procedure for file closure.
Note: If there is a minor child associated with the application of a candidate who refused to take the Oath, that minor child will not receive a citizenship certificate, unless they have another parent who is already a Canadian citizen or who takes the Oath on the same day.
If a candidate leaves the ceremony venue and is unable to take the Oath
In these rare cases, usually due to an urgent situation, candidates will
- be scheduled to attend the next available citizenship ceremony;
- receive another Notice to Appear to Take the Oath of Citizenship form.
Failure to appear for the Oath
Applicants are advised in the Notice to Appear to Take the Oath of Citizenship form [CIT 0024] that they must contact IRCC within 30 days of the appointment if they cannot attend. If the applicant provides a reasonable explanation for why they are unable to attend, additional time may be given.
As described in paragraph A13.2(1)(b), if the applicant fails to appear at the citizenship ceremony and does not provide a reasonable explanation within 30 days of the appointment, their application may be abandoned. In such a case, the applicant will have to reapply for citizenship.
Signing the form
Persons who take the Oath of Citizenship sign the Oath or Affirmation of Citizenship form [CIT 0049] only after they have taken the Oath and received their citizenship certificates.
Note: The Oath or Affirmation of Citizenship form cannot be signed before the candidate takes the Oath.
Before the Oath or Affirmation of Citizenship form is signed, candidates should be made aware of the meaning of taking the Oath and should understand what they are about to sign (see the Signing the Oath of Citizenship form section).
A table should be set up where candidates can sign the Oath or Affirmation of Citizenship form. The forms should be in the same order as candidates receive their certificates from the citizenship judge or volunteer presiding official.
Refer to Accessibility at citizenship ceremonies—Candidates with a writing impairment for guidance on applicants who are unable to sign the Oath of Citizenship form.
Roles of the citizenship officer and clerk
The clerk (citizenship officer or case processing agent) of the ceremony will be the official who will countersign and date the Oath or Affirmation of Citizenship form. This can be done immediately after the candidate signs the form or following the ceremony. The citizenship judge or a foreign service officer can also countersign.
- The dates on the Oath or Affirmation of Citizenship form [CIT 0049] must be the same as the date the Oath was taken at the ceremony. If an officer applies their signature and date to the form the following day, it does not respect the date the Oath was taken and is therefore not acceptable.
- A parent or legal guardian must sign the Oath or Affirmation of Citizenship form for receipt purposes only for minors under 14 years of age. The parent or legal guardian must sign their own signature, not the name of the minor.
Data entry and returning forms to the CPC-S
Entering results in the Global Case Management System (GCMS)
When the citizenship certificate needs to be cancelled because of an administrative error identified prior to applying the results in the system, only officials with “Manager/Team Leader” GCMS access profiles (usually IRCC supervisors) can cancel, generate and print new certificates. This can be completed by the local office. If the applicant has not taken the Oath, the local office must enter the correction in GCMS and ensure that new clearances have been requested. New clearances are not required for applicants who have taken the Oath.
In a situation where the citizenship certificate needs to be cancelled because of an administrative error identified after applying the results in the system, only officials with “Manager/Team Leader” GCMS access profiles (usually IRCC supervisors) can cancel, generate and print new certificates by creating an administrative event in GCMS. This can be completed by the local office. Information about minors: the Citizenship Program Delivery should be informed that this has occurred in order to coordinate with the web validation portal.
The unused certificates must be shredded immediately. Local offices need to ensure that the reason for the cancellation of the certificate is recorded in the Case Notes at the time of rescheduling the candidate to a ceremony or at the time of returning the file to the Case Processing Centre in Sydney (CPC-S) for abandonment or withdrawal. The local office will record the decision in GCMS (i.e. abandonment or withdrawal). The CPC-S will only need to be informed that a refund is necessary, if applicable.
The Case Notes view should indicate "Destroyed and replaced" for the candidates who are rescheduled or when there is a correction in the GCMS record. For cases of abandonment or withdrawal, the Case Notes must read "Destroyed and not replaced." The reason for the Case Notes is that the only certificate status available in GCMS will be "cancelled."
After the Oath was taken and before the ceremony results are applied
If information comes to the attention of the local office that the applicant was prohibited from taking the Oath after the Oath was taken but before the ceremony results are applied in GCMS, certificates must not be cancelled. The applicant is considered a citizen and therefore ceremony results must be properly entered in GCMS. The file must be referred to Case Management Branch for possible revocation of citizenship.
After the ceremony results have been applied in the system
After the ceremony results have been applied for all candidates who became Canadian citizens, if the certificate must be cancelled and a new certificate generated and printed because of an administrative error, only CPC-S can perform these functions. Therefore, local offices must complete the Certificate(s) Returned for Correction(s) form [CIT 1-0048], put a strike across the certificate with a black marker, leave the certificate on file and transfer the file to the CPC-S for the correction, generating and printing of a new certificate. After the correction has been entered in GCMS, CPC-S will send the certificate to the new citizen by mail. CPC-S will place a Case Note indicating “Destroyed and Replaced” as the reason for the cancellation in GCMS.
If the applicant requests a replacement after the ceremony results have been applied in the system due to an administrative error, the correction must be made only by CPC-S since the case and file have been closed. There is no fee if the request is made within 90 days from the ceremony or after the certificate was mailed from CPC-S. After 90 days, the new citizen must submit a complete proof application and pay the appropriate fee.
For changes concerning the name or date of birth, the request will be approved only if CPC-S concludes there was an error in determining the applicant’s legal name or date of birth, in line with the name and date of birth policy.
Entering ceremony results into GCMS
Ceremony results must be logged into GCMS within two business days following the citizenship ceremony for validation of the citizenship certificate by our partners.
When travelling to remote areas, local offices are requested to enter ceremony results in GCMS in the same timeframe, either via Virtual Private Network (VPN) or by contacting a colleague in the local office.
If clients have an urgent need to travel, Passport Canada can request manual validation with CPC-S.
The entering of the results should not be postponed because the local office holds a new citizen's citizenship certificate until the permanent resident card has been returned or because it is discovered that the Oath or Affirmation of Citizenship form has not been signed. In both cases, the person is a Canadian citizen and the citizenship certificate is valid.
Granting of concurrent minors
For applications received before June 11, 2015
The grant decision should be completed in Part II of the minor's Citizenship Application Review form [CIT 0066] and entered in GCMS only after the parent has taken the Oath of Citizenship. See the Concurrent applications section.
For applications received on or after June 11, 2015
The grant decision should be completed in Part IV of the minor's Citizenship Application Record of Decision [CIT 0065] and entered in GCMS only after the parent has taken the Oath of Citizenship. See the Concurrent applications section.
Confirm dates before returning forms to CPC-S
When files are being reviewed by a citizenship officer before returning them to CPC-S after the ceremony, the officer should ensure that the dates are consistent with the date the oath was taken.
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