Date of birth procedures
This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has specific procedures for identifying and recording a client’s known date of birth as accurately as possible. Should a client have an existing IRCC record under a different birth date, the date of birth on the primary document submitted with the most recent IRCC application may take precedence over the previous date, subject to the procedures and document requirements outlined in this page.
On this page
Conflicting date of birth records
In cases where the applicant presents documents with conflicting dates of birth, the officer should record the date of birth that appears on the client’s primary document. See Documents used to establish date of birth.
In cases where the client’s personal documents have conflicting dates of birth, the officer should use oral evidence to identify the cause of the discrepancy and identify the applicant’s primary date of birth. Once the primary date of birth has been identified, the reason for the chosen date should be well-documented in the Global Case Management System (GCMS). All applicable physical and electronic files should be updated accordingly. All dates of birth that appear on the applicant’s other documents must be recorded as date of birth type AKA (alias) or “other” in GCMS.
Accepting oral evidence
In cases where the client has no documentary evidence showing their date of birth, or if the client’s personal documents have conflicting dates of birth, the officer should use oral evidence, during the interview process, to identify a complete or incomplete date of birth.
Before accepting oral evidence, the applicant must demonstrate one of the following:
- an effort was made to obtain documentary evidence of their identity
- it must be apparent to IRCC that there is a lack of infrastructure in the applicant’s country of birth to obtain documentary evidence of their identity
- the applicant is unable to return to their country of origin on grounds listed in the Refugee Convention and they would be unable to obtain documentary evidence of identity, or consistent documentary evidence of identity
At the interview
If the client knows their birth date, but has no documentation showing the correct date, the officer should ask the client how they established the date. The officer should document in GCMS whether the selected date of birth is semi-plausible or was picked at random by the client.
In cases where the officer is assured that the client knows their real date of birth, the officer should write that date on the application.
In cases where the client chose the date of birth at random, the officer should use asterisks (****/**/**) to fill in unknown date of birth values on the application and in the IRCC system of record. If a complete or incomplete date of birth is not available, an arbitrary birth date should not be created and recorded in the IRCC system of record.
If the client does not know their birth date, the officer should ask the applicant to estimate the year of birth based on major events that happened near the year of birth or who the head of government or religious leader was at the time, etc.
After accepting oral evidence
In cases where oral evidence for the date of birth record is accepted, a statutory declaration must be signed by the client certifying the information provided is complete, truthful and correct, and it must be witnessed by the interviewing officer.
Once a complete or incomplete date of birth is identified, the reason for the chosen date should be well-documented in GCMS and all applicable applications should be updated accordingly.
If a complete or incomplete date of birth is not available, an arbitrary date should not be created and recorded in the IRCC system of record.
When ‘observations’ override the MRZ
Some foreign passports or travel documents will contain an official amendment in the ‘Observations’ section of the document. In such cases, the amendment will be relied upon to establish the date of birth and the date of birth in the Machine Readable Zone of the passport must be recorded as the former date of birth in IRCC’s system of record.
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