Who is a Canadian citizen?

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.

Sections 3 and 4 of the Citizenship Act describe persons who are and who are not citizens.

In general a person is a Canadian citizen if:

  • They were born in Canada.

    Note: A child born in Canada to an accredited foreign diplomat is not Canadian at birth unless the other parent is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident at the time of the child's birth (3(2) of the Act).

  • They became a citizen through the naturalization process in Canada (i.e., they were a permanent resident before they became a citizen);
  • They were born outside Canada and one of their parents was a Canadian citizen at the time of their birth because the parent was either born in Canada or naturalized in Canada. Then this person in this case is the first generation born outside Canada;
  • A person may be a Canadian citizen if they were born outside Canada from January 1, 1947, up to and including April 16, 2009, to a Canadian parent who was also born outside Canada to a Canadian parent (in this case, the person is the second or subsequent generation born outside Canada).
  • A person may be a Canadian citizen if they were adopted outside Canada by a Canadian parent on or after January 1, 1947.

Note: A child born abroad through Assisted Human Reproduction (AHR), including surrogacy arrangements may be a Canadian citizen if a genetic link exists with the Canadian parent and if the parent is not of first generation born abroad.

See the Administration section for more information.

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