Guide for Online Applications for a Citizenship Certificate for Adults and Minors (Proof of Citizenship) under Section 3 (CIT 0001)
Table of Contents
- Before you apply
- Step 1: Gather your documents
- Step 2: Complete the online questionnaire
- Step 3: Pay your fees and submit your application
- What happens next?
- Need Help?
- Appendix A: Amendments to the Citizenship Act limit citizenship by descent
- Appendix B: Crown servants
- Appendix C: Legal parent at birth
This is not a legal document. The explanations and definitions are not legal definitions. In case of a discrepancy between the language in this document and the relevant legislation or regulations, the legal text in the legislation and regulations prevails.
For legal information, see the:
This information will help you complete the forms and guide you through the application process.
This instruction guide:
- is for online applications
- has information you must know before you submit your application
- explains how to complete the application and gather your supporting documents
Read this instruction guide completely before you complete your online application.
Symbols used in this guide
This guide uses these symbols to draw your attention to important information:
Important information that you need to know to avoid delays or other problems.
Where to get more information.
Tips that will help you with this application.
Before you apply
What can I apply for online?
You can only apply online to:
- get a citizenship certificate for the first time or
- replace a lost, stolen or destroyed citizenship certificate
Do not apply online if you already submitted a paper application for the same request. If you do, we won’t process your online application.
Note: If you need to regain access to your IRCC portal account to download your electronic certificate (e-certificate), follow the instructions to reset your password. You must have your Unique Client Identifier (UCI), application number and date of birth to access the e-certificate that was issued to you. Please review your application messages for the required information. You can only apply online to replace a lost, stolen or damaged certificate. You can always regain access to your e-certificate if you are still allowed to have it.
Who can apply online?
What will I need to apply online?
You’ll need to create an online account (if you don’t already have one) and sign in. To apply online you must have:
- an email address
- access to a scanner or digital camera to create electronic images of your documents to upload
- a valid credit card, Debit MasterCard® or Visa® Debit card to pay with
When you apply online we will contact you through your online account. You’ll need to be able to check your email and access the internet regularly.
You might also need to access a scanner or digital camera multiple times. We may ask you for more information or additional documents and you’ll need to be able to upload them.
Note: If you choose to have a paper citizenship certificate, be aware that we do not mail paper citizenship certificates to mailing addresses outside of Canada and the United States.
If your mailing address is outside Canada and the United States, you must choose a Canadian embassy, high commission or consulate for us to send your paper certificate to. You must choose from the list presented in the online application. If your application is approved, the office you choose will contact you when they receive your paper certificate.
Were you born outside Canada?
If you were born outside Canada to a Canadian parent who was also born outside Canada, you must submit a paper application.
You might not be eligible for citizenship by descent due to the first generation limit. See Appendix A: Amendments to the Citizenship Act Limit Citizenship by Descent for more information.
Are you a citizen of another country?
If you’re a citizen of another country and you have concerns about whether or not your citizenship status in that country may be affected by applying for a Canadian citizenship certificate, you should inquire with the embassy, high commission or consulate of that country.
Exception to citizenship by birth in Canada
Not all children born in Canada automatically become Canadian citizens at birth.
If, at the time of their birth, a child born in Canada has a parent who was
- a foreign diplomat,
- a representative or employee in Canada of a foreign government,
- an employee of a foreign diplomat, representative or employee, or
- an officer or employee of a specialized agency of the United Nations or another international organization,
then that child
- may not be Canadian at birth, unless the other parent was a Canadian citizen or permanent resident at the time of the child’s birth.
Step 1: Gather your documents
What documents do I need?
As you complete your online application a personalized checklist of required documents will be generated for you. You can check the Document Checklist (CIT 0014) (PDF, 359 KB) to get an idea of the documents you might need.
You’ll need to upload:
- high quality colour images of your documents, unless otherwise stated
- translations of documents that are not in English or French
Note: If any of the required documents are missing, or the images are of poor quality, your application may be cancelled.
Important information: Additional documents and information may be required when processing your application. As set out in the Citizenship Act and the Citizenship Regulations, No. 2, we may ask you for additional information or evidence to support your application.
Previous citizenship certificates
If this is not your first Canadian citizenship certificate you must return all original citizenship/naturalization certificates and any pink transmission copies that you have.
We will contact you and provide instructions on how to return your certificate:
- If your mailing address is inside Canada or the United States, our Case Processing Centre in Sydney, Nova Scotia will contact you and ask you to mail your certificate to them.
- If your mailing address is outside of Canada and the United States, the Canadian embassy, high commission, or consulate where your new certificate will be sent will contact you. You’ll need to make arrangements with that office to deliver your previous paper certificate to them.
Important information: It is contrary to the Citizenship Regulations to have more than one valid citizenship or naturalization certificate. Failure to return any certificate or any pink transmission copy of a certificate will result in delays in processing your application. If, after you get your new certificate, you find a certificate that was declared lost or misplaced, you have to send it back to the Case Processing Centre in Sydney, Nova Scotia.
If you are replacing your electronic certificate (e-certificate), any printed or digital copies of your current e-certificate must be deleted and destroyed upon submission of your application. You must not download another copy of your e-certificate until a decision on your replacement is made.
If you need to regain access to your IRCC portal account to download your electronic certificate (e-certificate), follow the instructions to reset your password. You must have your Unique Client Identifier (UCI), application number and date of birth to access the e-certificate that was issued to you. Please review your application messages for the required information. You can only apply online to replace a lost, stolen or damaged certificate. You can always regain access to your e-certificate if you are still allowed to have to it.
Acceptable identity documents
Two pieces of valid identification are required to establish your identity. Both documents must show your name and date of birth. One must have your photo on it.
Examples of Canadian federal, provincial or territorial government-issued documents that can be used to establish identity:
- driver’s license
- age of majority card
- certificate of Indian status card
- health insurance identification card
- senior citizen’s card
- travel document
If you live outside of Canada and are not able to provide Canadian identity documents, you may provide foreign government-issued identity documents that are equivalent to the Canadian documents listed above. If your foreign identity documents are not in English or French, you must also include a translation and affidavit. See section Translation of documents.
Note: If you’re applying on behalf of a minor who does not have two pieces of identification, or does not have a photo ID, upload an explanation letter in place of the piece of ID.
Note: Birth certificates, Social Insurance Number (SIN) cards, bank cards, credit cards, and previous Canadian citizenship certificates are not accepted as personal identification for this application process.
Quebec government documents
We do not accept birth certificates and marriage certificates issued by the province of Quebec before January 1, 1994 in support of an application for a citizenship certificate.
If you need to replace your Quebec birth or marriage certificate because it was issued before 1994, contact the office of the Directeur de l’état civil du Québec.
If your claim to citizenship is through a grandparent who was a crown servant then you must submit a paper application.
A crown servant is someone employed outside Canada in or with the Canadian Armed Forces, the federal public administration or the public service of a province or territory, other than as a locally engaged person.
See Appendix B: Crown servants for more information.
Gender Identifier change
Submit the Request form for a Change of Sex or Gender Identifier (PDF, 1.52 MB) in the “Optional Documents” section of your document checklist if:
- you are applying for your first citizenship certificate, and
- your gender is different from what’s on your birth certificate
If you are applying for a replacement certificate and would like to change the gender on that certificate, you must submit a paper application.
You must upload one (1) digital citizenship photo.
Print the Citizenship photo specifications page and take it to the photographer to make sure you get the correct size photo. Ask the photographer to provide their information and the date the photo was taken on your receipt or in a text file.
In the document checklist section of your application:
- upload your photo to the digital photo item
- upload the photographer’s information (receipt or text file) to the client information item
If you’re requesting urgent processing you must provide proof that you need urgent processing.
We only process applications urgently in special cases, such as:
- you need to access benefits like:
- a pension
- health care
- a Social Insurance Number
- you need to prove you’re a Canadian citizen to get a job
- you need to travel urgently to or from Canada because of a death or serious illness in your family
You’ll need to include a letter explaining why you need urgent processing, and supporting documents such as:
- plane tickets or itineraries, with proof of payment
- letter from employer
- letter from school
- doctor’s note
- death certificate
- other documents supporting urgent processing
We review all urgent requests to see if they qualify.
Translation of documents
You must include the following along with any document that is not in English or French:
- the English or French translation; and
- an affidavit from the person who completed the translation
Note: You must upload the document, the translation and the affidavit in the same file.
Translations may be done by:
- a person who is fluent in both languages (English or French, and the unofficial language), or
- a Canadian certified translator (a member in good standing of a provincial or territorial organization of translators and interpreters in Canada)
If the translation isn’t done by a Canadian certified translator, the person who completed the translation must provide an affidavit swearing to their language proficiency and the accuracy of the translation.
The affidavit must be sworn in the presence of:
- a notary public
- a commissioner of oaths
- a commissioner of taking affidavits
Authority to certify varies by province and territory. Consult your local provincial or territorial authorities.
Outside of Canada:
- a notary public
Authority to administer oaths varies by country. Consult your local authorities.
Important information: Translations must not be done by the applicants themselves nor by members of the applicant’s family. This includes a parent, guardian, sibling, spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, grandparent, child, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew and first cousin.
Note: An affidavit is a document on which the translator has sworn, in the presence of a person authorized to administer oaths in the country where the translator is living, that the contents of their translation are a true translation and representation of the contents of the original document. Translators who are certified in Canada don’t need to supply an affidavit.
Step 2: Complete the online questionnaire
Note: It is a serious offence to give false or misleading information. The information you provide on your application must be complete and true and will be subject to verification.
Follow these steps to complete your application:
- Create or sign in to your account.
- Click the link “Citizenship: Apply for a search or proof of citizenship”.
- Answer the eligibility questions to make sure you meet the requirements and have the tools you need to apply online
- Complete the guided questionnaire
- answer all of the questions completely
- upload the documents we ask you for
- review your application to make sure it’s complete
- Pay your fees and submit your application
- You can save your information and go back as often as you need to for up to 60 days from the date you started the application.
- You cannot submit your application until you have answered all mandatory questions and uploaded all of the documents on your checklist.
- If you need help with a question check the available Help text.
- If a question does not apply to you, enter “Not Applicable” or “NA”.
- If you don’t know the answer to a question enter “Unknown“.
- Your personalized Document Checklist shows all the supporting documents you need to upload. If you can’t provide a document that we asked for upload an explanation instead.
- If you’re completing this application for a minor under 18 years of age, remember all questions are about the minor and you should answer as though you are the minor.
Completing the sections of the questionnaire
The following information will help you complete various sections of the online questionnaire. See Helpful tips (above) if you don’t know the answer to a question or if a question doesn’t apply to you.
Reason for application
If you’ve ever had a Canadian citizenship certificate you will be asked to provide some details about your previous certificate, such as:
- name on the certificate
- certificate number
- certificate date
If you’re applying to replace your certificate because it was stolen, lost or destroyed, you must provide details of the theft, loss or destruction.
If this is the first time you are applying for a citizenship certificate, the name and date of birth on your citizenship certificate will be the same as the information that appears on your birth certificate.
If you need different information on your citizenship certificate, you must submit a paper application.
Provide your personal details as they appear on your birth certificate or previous citizenship certificate.
Note: Your height, eye colour, other names, and country of birth will not appear on your citizenship certificate but are recorded so that other service providers, such as Passport Canada, can confirm your identity.
Information about your parents is needed to allow a citizenship official to accurately determine which section of the Citizenship Act describes your claim to Canadian citizenship today. It is important that you provide the fullest and most accurate information about your parents. In cases where an applicant is claiming citizenship by descent through a parent, complete information will allow us to conduct a thorough search of citizenship records and help establish a claim. Incomplete information will cause delays in processing.
Indicate the relationship of your parents to you by indicating biological, adoptive or legal parent at birth.
- “biological parent” (means you have a genetic or gestational connection to that parent)
- select “biological parent” if your parent is both your biological and legal parent at birth, or
- your parent has a biological connection to you and they are not listed on your birth certificate but you have birth records and documents that recognize your parent(s). (ex. pre-birth orders, court orders, surrogacy agreements, hospital records, etc.)
- Note: After submitting your application, IRCC might request a DNA test to confirm parentage. IRCC will also provide a list of accredited laboratories to complete the DNA test. In these cases, DNA results must have an accuracy of 99.8% or higher.
- “adoptive parent” (means that you were legally adopted after you were born)
- “legal parent at birth” (means that your non-biological parent was listed on the original birth certificate or birth record issued at the time of your birth)
- your non-biological parent was listed on your original birth certificate issued at the time of your birth, and / or
- you have birth records and documents that recognize your parent(s) at the time of your birth (ex. pre-birth orders, court orders, surrogacy agreements, hospital records, etc.)
- does not include adoptive parents (even those recognized right after birth) or legal guardians.
- If you don’t know your parent’s status, provide as much information as possible about the circumstances.
- If your parent is/was a Canadian citizen you’ll need to tell us how they obtained citizenship – for example, ‘born in Canada’, ‘granted citizenship’ or ‘born outside Canada to a Canadian parent’.
- We may ask for details about your parent’s citizenship certificate. If you do not know the details enter ‘unknown’. If no citizenship certificate was issued to your parent enter ‘Not Applicable’ or ‘NA’.
- We may ask for your parent’s Canadian birth certificate number. Canadian birth certificates include two numbers: a certificate number and a registration number. For the purpose of this application, please make sure to provide the registration number.
- If your parent was employed outside Canada as a Crown servant of Canada or employed in Canada by a foreign government you must provide details of their employment.
- We may ask if you or your parent have ever lived in Canada and the date on which you or your parent came to live in Canada. If you’re not certain of exact dates, provide your best estimate of the month and year. If you or your parent have lived in Canada since birth enter the appropriate birth date.
Questions in this section help us determine which section of the Citizenship Act describes your claim to Canadian citizenship.
Step 3: Pay your fees and submit your application
After you complete the guided questionnaire and upload your documents, you will be presented with the total fees for your application and asked to pay. You must pay your fees using a credit card, Debit MasterCard® or Visa® Debit card.
Note: This is the only method of payment for online applications.
The fees are as follows:
|Application (per person)||$CAN|
|Citizenship certificate (proof of citizenship)||75|
We recommend that you print a copy of the receipt for your records.
Note: Fees are non-refundable once processing has begun, regardless of the final decision.
Submit your application
Your application will be automatically submitted to our Case Processing Centre in Sydney after you complete your payment.
Before you submit your application make sure that you:
- included your citizenship photo according to the appropriate citizenship photograph specifications
- included the original document, the translation, and an affidavit by the translator, for any documents that are not in English or French
- provided a letter of explanation for any documents that are missing or not included with your application
Remember that you must submit your application within 60 days of starting it. After 60 days your application will be deleted and you’ll have to start all over again.
What happens next?
After you submit your application
You’ll receive a confirmation email from us very soon after submitting the application.
If your application is incomplete or cancelled you’ll receive a letter in your online account.
Important: Check your email account regularly, including your junk mail or spam folder. Emails from us will end in “@cic.gc.ca”, or “@canada.ca”, or “@international.gc.ca”.
Once your application is received and considered complete:
- You’ll receive an ‘acknowledgement of receipt’ letter from us in your online account. This letter will contain your ten digit Unique Client Identifier (UCI).
- Your application will be reviewed and processing will begin.
- Some applications may require more time for processing. In these cases, you’ll be contacted for more information or asked to supply additional documents.
- If your application is approved, you’ll receive a paper or electronic citizenship certificate (depending on which one you choose).
- Paper certificates:
- if your mailing address is inside Canada or the United States, you’ll receive the paper certificate by mail
- if your mailing address is outside Canada and the United States, the Canadian embassy, High Commission or consulate you chose will contact you
- Electronic certificate (e-certificate)
- Instructions on how to download your e-certificate will be sent to your online account
- You can print and save digital copies of your e-Certificate.
Updating your contact information
While your application is in process, you must tell us if you change your address, e-mail address, or telephone number. Use the Change your address tool to give us your new contact information.
Checking application status
You can check your application status through your online account. Your account will send you emails to let you know when there is new information on your application. You can then log in and check your status and messages.
Protecting your information
Your personal information is:
- available to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) employees who need to see it to provide the services to you, and
- not disclosed to other organizations except as permitted under the provisions of the Privacy Act or the Citizenship Regulations.
For more information about the protection of your data, visit the Frequently Asked Questions/Help Centre.
Quality Assurance Program
Our quality assurance program randomly chooses applications for a special review. If chosen, we will ask you to attend an in-person interview where we will:
- review and verify the original documentation you submitted,
- verify that the information you provided on your application form is accurate, and
- request additional supporting documentation, up to and including DNA to confirm parentage, if we’re not satisfied with the documentation on file.
Note: We will notify you in writing if your application is chosen.
Amendments to the Citizenship Act limit citizenship by descent
On April 17, 2009, the rules for Canadian citizenship changed for persons born outside Canada to Canadian parents, and who were not themselves already Canadian citizens when the rules changed.
Canadian citizenship by birth outside Canada to a Canadian citizen parent (citizenship by descent) is now limited to the first generation born outside Canada.
This means that, in general, persons who were not already Canadian citizens immediately before April 17, 2009 and who were born outside Canada to a Canadian parent are not Canadian if:
- their Canadian parent was also born outside Canada to a Canadian parent (the person is therefore the second or subsequent generation born outside Canada), or
- their Canadian parent was granted Canadian citizenship under section 5.1, the adoption provisions of the Citizenship Act (the person is therefore the second generation born outside Canada)
Exception to the first generation limit in 2009
The first generation limit on claims of citizenship by descent through a parent did not apply to a person born outside Canada in the second or subsequent generation if:
- at the time of the person’s birth, their parent was employed outside Canada in or with the Canadian Armed Forces, the federal public administration or the public service of a province or territory, other than as a locally engaged person (a crown servant);
Persons born to a Canadian parent who are not eligible for citizenship by descent due to the first generation limit may apply for and obtain permanent resident status and subsequently submit an application for a grant of citizenship under section 5 of the Citizenship Act.
Persons born to a Canadian parent on or after April 17, 2009 who are not eligible for citizenship by descent due to the first generation limit may be stateless. Those persons may apply for a grant of citizenship under subsection 5(5) of the Citizenship Act. For further information, consult the page on Citizenship grants: Statelessness.
Note: Some naturalized Canadian citizens who had a Canadian parent became Canadian citizens by descent by operation of law under these amendments and this could impact their eligibility to pass on Canadian citizenship to children born outside Canada to them or adopted by them.
Amendments to the Citizenship Act extending citizenship
On June 11, 2015, citizenship was extended to more persons who were born before the Canadian Citizenship Act took effect on January 1, 1947, as well as to their children who were born outside Canada in the first generation. Specifically, the amendments gave Canadian citizenship to persons who were born or naturalized in Canada as well as to those who were British subjects ordinarily resident in Canada on January 1, 1947 (April 1, 1949, in the case of Newfoundland and Labrador), but who were not eligible for Canadian citizenship when the Canadian Citizenship Act took effect. The amendments also retroactively gave Canadian citizenship to the children of these persons, as well as to children of parents who became citizens on January 1, 1947 (or April 1, 1949), but who did not themselves become Canadian citizens on those dates.
On June 19, 2014, the exception to the first generation limit to citizenship by descent was extended to children born outside Canada whose grandparent, at the time of the child’s parent’s birth or adoption, was employed outside Canada in or with the Canadian Armed Forces, the federal public administration or the public service of a province or territory, other than as a locally engaged person.
Extension to the exceptions to the first generation limit in 2014
The first generation limit on claims of citizenship by descent through a parent does not apply to a person born outside Canada in the second or subsequent generation if:
- the person is born to a Crown servant, or
- at the time of their parent’s birth or adoption, the person’s grandparent was employed outside Canada in or with the Canadian Armed Forces, the federal public administration or public service of a province or territory, other than as a locally engaged person (a crown servant).
Note: Some naturalized Canadian citizens who had a Canadian parent became Canadian citizens by descent by operation of law under these amendments, which could impact their eligibility to pass on Canadian citizenship to their biological or adopted children born outside of Canada. If you think this may apply to you and you would like more information, consult the Help Centre at the end of this guide.
The table below will help you to determine if proof of employment is required to demonstrate that one of your Canadian parents or grandparents was employed outside Canada in or with the Canadian Armed Forces, the federal public administration or the public service of a province or territory, other than as a locally engaged person at the time of your birth or at the time of your parent’s birth or adoption.
If your answer is:
1. Was your Canadian parent born in Canada or granted citizenship, also known as naturalization, (except for a grant of citizenship under the adoption provisions) before your birth?
YES. This section does not apply to you. Submit your application.
NO. Proceed to question 2.
2. Was one of your Canadian parents a Crown servant (employed outside Canada in or with the Canadian Armed Forces, the federal public administration or public service or a province, other than as a locally engaged person) at the time of your birth outside Canada?
YES. This section does apply to you. Proof of your parent’s employment at the time of your birth is required. Refer to the section below on “Acceptable proof of employment as a Crown servant”.
NO. Proceed to question 3.
3. Was one of your grandparents a Crown servant (employed outside Canada in or with the Canadian Armed Forces, the federal public administration or the public service of a province, other than as a locally engaged person), at the time of your Canadian parent’s birth or adoption outside Canada?
YES. This section does apply to you. Proof of your grandparent’s employment at the time of your parent’s birth or adoption is required. Refer to the section below on “Acceptable proof of employment as a Crown servant”.
NO. This section does not apply to you. Submit your application.
Acceptable proof of employment as a Crown servant
The employment document must be issued by the responsible authority (the employer) and contain the following information:
- Your parent or grandparent’s name; and
- Start date, employment duration and title of the position they held in or with the Canadian Armed Forces, the federal public administration or the public service of a province or territory; and
- Transfer date, employment duration and title of the position they held outside Canada in or with the Canadian Armed Forces, the federal public administration or the public service of a province or territory.
Current and retired Government of Canada employees who have worked abroad and are applying for proof of citizenship need to confirm their posting by contacting the Compensation Department and asking for proof of employment. The proof of employment needs to contain the information mentioned above.
Legal parent at birth
Before July 2020, only biological parents could pass down Canadian citizenship to their children. Biological parents are those with a genetic or gestational connection to their child.
As of July 2020, non-biological parents can pass down their Canadian citizenship to their children who were born outside Canada if they’re the child’s legal parent at birth.
A legal parent at birth
- is the biological or non-biological parent listed on a child’s original birth certificate or birth record issued at the time of their birth.
- does not include parents who adopted a child after they were born or legal guardians.
Birth records include pre-birth orders, court orders, surrogacy agreements, hospital records, etc.
To respect the requirements of the Citizenship Act, if you were born outside of Canada and adopted by Canadian parents, you can apply for Canadian citizenship for adopted persons.
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