Documents that prove your Canadian citizenship

You can only use certain documents to prove your Canadian citizenship.

Proofs of citizenship we accept

A proof of citizenship (such as a citizenship certificate) is not a travel document. If you’re travelling abroad, you must have a valid passport or travel document.

Exception: Children 15 and under don’t need a passport to enter the United States or return to Canada by land or sea.

Documents children 15 and under can use instead of a passport:

  • original or copy of their birth certificate
    • It should be issued by the vital statistics department from the province or territory where they were born.
  • original Canadian citizenship certificate
  • Canadian citizenship card

When they turn 16, they need a passport if they’re going to enter the US.

Learn more about travelling to the US from Canada.

 Citizenship certificates

A citizenship certificate is a paper or electronic document that proves your Canadian citizenship.

Paper certificates

A paper certificate is an 8½ x 11-inch document that has

  • the certificate number (starts with “K”)
  • your family name and given name(s)
  • your date of birth
  • your gender (male, female or another gender)
  • the effective date of citizenship

How to get a citizenship certificate

Example of a paper citizenship certificate

Example of the new citizenship certificate (front, back)

Electronic citizenship certificates (e-certificates)

The new e-certificate is an electronic version of the current paper citizenship certificate. To test the e-certificate,

we’re selecting some applicants who have already submitted an application

How the e-certificate pilot works

If we select you to participate in the pilot

  • you’ll receive an invitation by email
  • you may accept or decline the invitation
    • If you accept the invitation, follow the email’s instruction for your next steps.
    • If you decline the invitation, you’ll get a paper certificate (if we approve your application).

You’ll only receive an e-certificate if

  • you choose to participate in the pilot
  • you meet the application requirements
  • we approve your application

Participating in the pilot does not mean we’ll process your application faster.

You do not need to contact us. We’re working to make the e-certificate available to all applicants in the future.

The e-certificate is a valid proof of Canadian citizenship. If you’re in the pilot and get an e-certificate, you can

  •  download, save and print the e-certificate
  •  use it to access services and benefits the same as you would a paper certificate
How to print your e-certificate
  • Print your certificate on white letter size (8.5 x 11 inches) paper.
  • Print your certificate in colour or black ink.
  • Print both pages.
  • Print your certificate in portrait orientation.
  • The information on the certificate must be legible and no parts of the certificate should be cut off.

If you experience any technical difficulties, please contact

The e-certificate has

  • the certificate number (starts with “X”)
  • your family name and given name(s)
  • your date of birth
  • your gender (male, female or another gender)
  • the effective date of citizenship
Example of an e-certificate

Older citizenship certificates

We gave out different citizenship certificates in the past. These older certificates are still valid as proof of Canadian citizenship.

Examples of older citizenship certificates
Example of a special citizenship certificate to commemorate Canada’s 150th anniversary (front, back) Example of an older certificate (front, back) Example of an older certificate (front, back)

 Citizenship cards

We stopped giving citizenship cards and the commemorative certificates that came with them in February 2012. 

  • The cards are still valid as proof of Canadian citizenship.
  • The date on your citizenship card is not the date you became a Canadian citizen (it’s the date we produced the card).
  • To update or replace your citizenship card, apply for a citizenship certificate.

Example of a citizenship card

Example of an older citizenship card

stop Do not re-laminate your citizenship card

A re-laminated card is not valid as proof of citizenship because it:

  • blurs the security features of the original laminate
  • makes it difficult to detect a fake card

 Other documents we accept

  • birth certificates from a Canadian province or territory (there are exceptions)
  • naturalization certificates issued before January 1, 1947
  • registration of birth abroad certificates issued between January 1, 1947 and February 14, 1977
  • certificates of retention issued between January 1, 1947 and February 14, 1977

Documents we don’t accept

 Citizenship record letter

If you apply for a search of citizenship records, the record letter you receive is not a valid proof of Canadian citizenship.

 Commemorative certificates

The commemorative certificate that came with your citizenship card is not a valid proof of Canadian citizenship (even though it has the date you became a Canadian citizen).

 Exceptions for birth certificates

Your Canadian birth certificate doesn’t prove your citizenship if when you were born:

We also don’t accept DND 419 birth certificates as proof of citizenship.

If you can’t use your birth certificate as proof of citizenship, apply for a Canadian citizenship certificate.

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