Program delivery update: Definition of “parent” for determining citizenship by descent

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

July 15, 2020

The interpretation of “parent” for the purposes of determining citizenship by descent under subsection 3(1) of the Citizenship Act now includes children born abroad in the first generation who have a legal parent–child relationship at birth but no biological link to the Canadian parent.

Under the former interpretation of parent under paragraph 3(1)(b) of the Citizenship Act, applicants who were children born in the first generation to a Canadian parent(s) may have faced refusal of Canadian citizenship by descent if there was no biological link (genetic or gestational) between the applicant and their Canadian parent(s). This sometimes resulted in the differential treatment of children of Canadians abroad who rely on assisted human reproduction to build their families, particularly LGBTQ2+ Canadians.

This new interpretation of parent will allow applicants who may have otherwise been refused for lack of biological linkage to their Canadian parent(s) to be approved under section 3 of the Citizenship Act based on a legal parent–child connection at birth.

A new paper application form has also come into effect.

Updated instructions

Page details

Date modified: