How to get Canadian citizenship for U.S.-born children

Canadians can pass on citizenship to their children who were born in the U.S. by applying for a “Proof of Citizenship.

U.S.-born children of Canadians can automatically get Canadian citizenship.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), allows citizenship to be passed down to the first generation born outside of the country. At least one biological or legal parent needs to be a Canadian citizen at the time of the baby’s birth.

You may also be eligible to apply for a Proof of Citizenship for yourself if you were born in the U.S. and your parent was Canadian.

To get citizenship status for U.S.-born children, you need to apply for a Proof of Citizenship, also known as a Canadian citizenship certificate. IRCC’s website says the application costs about $75 CAD and takes around five months to process. The immigration department may be able to expedite processing in urgent cases.

If you can get the certificate, your children will benefit from the perks that come with being Canadian, and they will be exempt from coronavirus travel restrictions.

That being said, being a Canadian citizen does not guarantee that your child will qualify to apply for Proof of Citizenship. Certain factors may affect your eligibility for passing on citizenship such as how and when you acquired Canadian citizenship.

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When you submit the application your documents will need to be clear, easy-to-read, and in colour. IRCC will ask for the original birth certificate that displays the name of the Canadian parent.

You will also need proof that at least one parent was a Canadian citizen at the time of birth. This could include the parent’s birth certificate, citizenship document, or any other evidence to prove the parent’s Canadian status.

If, for some reason, the parent’s name is not listed on the birth certificate, IRCC will accept birth records and documents confirming the name of the Canadian parent. These could be pre-birth orders, court orders, surrogacy agreements or hospital records among others. Adoption orders are not accepted in this case.

IRCC also asks for an explanation as to why the Canadian parent’s name is not listed on the applicant’s birth certificate, or why the birth certificate was changed or replaced. If you are not sure, explain why.

Once IRCC receives your completed application they will send an “acknowledgement of receipt.” If they find that your application is incomplete they will send it back to you and then you will have a chance to fill in the missing elements. If they are satisfied with your application then they will send the citizenship certificate and you will have your Proof of Citizenship.

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