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How You’re Entitled To Canadian Citizenship By Descent

Posted Wednesday, February 28th, 2018 at 11:58 am

If you have a parent who was born in Canada you are a Canadian citizen by descent.

One of the most commonly asked questions we field is related to Canadian citizenship by descent. Individuals born outside of Canada are Canadian citizens by descent only if one of their parents is a citizen of Canada either by having been born in Canada or by naturalization. That means if your mother or father was born in Canada, you are entitled to Canadian citizenship, even if your parent hasn’t lived in the country for most of their lives and even if you’ve never visited. Under Canadian nationality law any person born to a Canadian citizen parent is automatically a Canadian citizen.

The legal term for citizenship by descent is jus sanguinis, or “right of blood,” referring to laws which rely on a person’s heritage to determine his or her citizenship status. If you’re researching this, you’ll hear it thrown around a lot.

The Citizenship Act was recently changed in 2009 to limit that citizenship by descent to one generation – also known as the “first generation rule”. It is not retroactive. If you were born after 2009, you’re a Canadian if one parent is a Canadian citizen – but not if a grandparent was. if you were born prior to 17 April 17th, 2009 when the new rule came into effect, you’re in luck and can still claim Canadian citizenship regardless of how many generations back your Canadian direct ascendents were born in Canada.  This is particularly important for many Americans who may be descended from Canadians who moved to the United States for economic reasons a number of generations ago.

Obtaining proof of citizenship is something that some Canadian citizens by descent attempt to do themselves, with typical wait times ranging between 5 months to a full year for processing. The form lead up and process is complicated and even the slightest error in your paperwork will result in a rejection, forcing you to start the process over again. Many applicants will secure an immigration lawyer to take care of the details, but that can make the process more expensive than it needs to be. We offer the same service as an immigration lawyer, but at a significantly less cost. As part of our fee of $199, we take care of the application paperwork and package preparation and lead you from start to finish, offering a guarantee on the processing of your application.

The benefits to Canadian citizenship are far and wide. From access to some of the world’s best schools, the ability to travel with a Canadian passport, to vote or run for political office, or to reside or work in Canada while benefitting from social privileges like the national health care system and one of the world’s most multi cultural societies. Maclean’s published a great piece back in 2013 on 99 reasons why it’s better to be a Canadian. Not everyone is entitled to the privilege of Canadian citizenship. What are you waiting for?


5 Responses to “How You’re Entitled To Canadian Citizenship By Descent”

  1. Anton Roberts says:

    Hi, I saw yourt article on Canadian citizenship by descent, and require clarification. I am South African, and my wife’s grandmother was born in Canada in 1911 and relocated to South Africa. My wife was born in 1966. Do she still qualify for Canadian citizenshoip by descent – we originally thought this was not possible?

    Kind Regards

  2. info says:

    If one of your wife grandparents is a Canadian citizen, she might be eligible to become a dual citizen of Canada and the USA. However, you have to apply for a proof of Canadian Citizenship. For a proof of Canadian Citizenship, she needs a copy of her parents and grandparents birth certificate.

  3. Jason says:

    I took the self assessment test and it seems like I could be Canadian, but I’m not sure.

    My grandmother was Canadian, born in 1919 to Canadian parents.

    Her son, my father, is Canadian, but he was born in the US. He’s a dual citizen, American and Canadian. I think that the way Canadian citizenship laws work that he is to be considered Canadian since birth. He carries a citizenship card and a passport from Canada.

    I was born in the US in 1973. My parents were married at the time of my birth. My mother was American. My parents never registered my birth at a Canadian embassy or consulate for foreign birth record purposes.

    Am I Canadian? Why or why not? Can you help me obtain certificate if I am?

  4. vanita says:

    Hi, my father is a Canadian citizen ( naturalisation ) but was born outside canada I was born outside Canada I’m I a Canadian citizen?

  5. chris says:

    If your father became a Canadian citizen before you were born, you right to Canadian citizenship. You should apply for a proof of Canadian Citizenship.

    The easiest way to apply for proof of Canadian citizenship is using online services. You could start the process of obtaining proof of Canadian Citizenship by signing up online at You should choose “Adult Citizenship Certificate” option. Canada Citizenship Help will send you all required forms, assess and review your application with 24/7 support, check your documentation, look for a photographer in your area that specializes in taking Canadian Citizenship photos and an industry unique comprehensive review of your application photos to be absolutely sure they were taken to the Biometric standard.

    Using online services prevent rejection or any delays. You will receive your Canadian Citizenship certificate in 3 – 4 months. The total cost of obtaining proof of Canadian Citizenship is $199. This includes government application processing fees, application and picture assessment and pre-approval and the cost of shipping the citizenship certificate to you.

    Please call us at (888) 808 – 0455 if you have any questions.

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