Types of citizenship ceremonies

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

There are 4 types of ceremonies. Each type of ceremony can be held either in person or by video.

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Standard ceremonies

A standard in-person ceremony occurs in a ceremony room at the local office or an off-site location selected when a local office ceremony room is unavailable or inadequate. A standard video oath ceremony occurs online using video conference meeting software.

Special elements can be added to a standard ceremony. Examples of special elements include the following:

  • Invite children who are present to come to the front of the room to sing the national anthem or to receive appreciation for their role as future leaders of Canada (in-person ceremony).
  • After the oath of citizenship, invite new citizens to congratulate each other (in-person ceremony).

Note: Additional elements, such as the participation of children described above; special-themed speaking points for the presiding official; or the presence of 1 or more of the following guests do not make the ceremony enhanced:

  • elected officials (federal, provincial, municipal)
  • veterans
  • Indigenous guest speaker
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) members
  • Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members
  • media

Enhanced ceremonies

An enhanced ceremony is held when 1 or more of the following elements are featured:

  • 1 or more external partners or host organizations, such as
    • non-profit organizations (for example, Institute for Canadian Citizenship)
    • educational institution or service organization (for example, Lions Club of Toronto)
    • any level of government (for example, Parks Canada)
  • special guest appearances, such as
    • the president of a host organization
    • a school principal
    • special performers (poetry readers, singers, dancers, Indigenous performers [for example, Indigenous dancer, drummer or singer; this is different from an Indigenous speaker offering a prayer, words of welcome and congratulations])
  • high-ranking officials, such as
    • the prime minister of Canada
    • the minister of IRCC
    • the governor general
    • a lieutenant governor
    • a commissioner of the territories
  • a designated speaker, excluding elected officials, veterans, members of the RCMP, members of the CAF and Indigenous speakers
  • a reception (in-person ceremonies only)

Note: If a local office staff member is unsure if a ceremony can be deemed enhanced, they should contact National Headquarters (NHQ) (available internally only) for guidance.

Local offices must clearly identify and notify their regional communications representative of special events and enhanced ceremonies, as the profile of the ceremony may attract the interest of the Minister’s Office.

Private ceremonies

Private ceremonies may be held in certain circumstances. Such circumstances include the following:

  • a special grant under subsection 5(4) (special cases) of the Citizenship Act
  • terminally ill candidates who are unable to travel
  • other urgent or extenuating circumstances

To administer the oath and present certificates at a private citizenship ceremony, the approval of the Registrar of Canadian Citizenship is required in advance. Citizenship staff must contact NHQ (available internally only) to request approval.

Reaffirmation ceremonies

A reaffirmation ceremony is a formal event where Canadian citizens repeat the oath of citizenship to express their commitment to Canada. Anyone can organize a reaffirmation ceremony in their community, place of work or school. The person who leads the group in the oath of citizenship does not require the approval of the Registrar of Citizenship to perform this function.

This person can be a citizenship judge, a recipient of the Order of Canada, a school principal or a community group leader. For more information on how a reaffirmation ceremony can be organized, see Participate in a reaffirmation ceremony.

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