Proof of citizenship: overview

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.

Government departments and agencies accept the following documents as proof of citizenship to provide services and benefits:

  • a provincial or territorial birth certificate
  • a certificate of citizenship

Note: The Canadian passport can be used as secondary evidence of Canadian citizenship. However, just having a passport is not enough to prove you have Canadian citizenship.

For persons born outside Canada to a Canadian parent

  • proof of citizenship is a certificate of citizenship.

For those subject to retention under section 8 who have turned 28 years old between February 15, 2005  and April 16, 2009

  • a citizenship certificate is not proof of citizenship unless accompanied by a retention certificate.

For those registered between January 1, 1947 and February 14, 1977

  • a Registration of Birth Abroad certificate is accepted as proof of citizenship. Also, the certificate of retention issued between January 1, 1947 and February 14, 1977 is accepted as proof of citizenship.

For persons who acquired citizenship through naturalization

  • a certificate of naturalization or a certificate of citizenship is accepted as proof of citizenship.

There are ways persons born or naturalized in Canada or born outside Canada to a Canadian parent could lose citizenship. See the Loss and acquisition section.

See also: Citizenship Certificates.

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