Start the application review process
  • 1 Tell us which type of application you need help with
  • 2 Make your payment and download the forms
  • 3 Fill in the forms and send them to us
  • 4 We’ll return the forms within 24 hours with our comments and advice

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?


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

  1. Saleem says:

    Hi, I became permanent resident of Canada along with my family in 2016 .my wife and kids spent only two years in Canada and then went back home with kids . I completed my 3 years physical presence in Canada and will apply for citizenship this year .
    Please do let me know my kids( minors ) are eligible for citizenship and I will also apply for them along with my citizenship application? Although they only spend two years physically in Canada.
    Seniors please guide .
    Thank you

  2. James says:

    My paterna Grandfather lived several years in Canada and served in the Canadan Army through WWI (served 1915 until at least 1919, became Sargeant Major, DCM & MM). However I am not sure if he was naturalised. Might I qualify ?

  3. cynthia saad el deen says:

    hello , my father is Canadian citizen , he sponsored me and now I’m a permanant resident in Canada from one month , can I apply for a citizenship immediately as I’m under 18 years old and does not need to meet the residence requirement of living three out of the past five years in Canada because minor exempt from this rule .

  4. Leonard Adams says:

    My father was born in Canada and became a naturalized American, I was born later, and now wish to claim his original citizenship, is this possible

  5. info says:

    Because of your father, you have a birthright to Canadian citizenship. However, you have to apply for proof of your Canadian Citizenship.
    The easiest way to apply for proof of Canadian citizenship is to use the 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.

  6. alex says:

    Hi. My father was born in Canada in 1932. Came to the US in maybe 1940. He’s been deceased since 1994. Can’t get any other info than that. Thoughts on how to find out if I’m eligible to be a dual citizen of Canada and US? Thanks.

  7. info says:

    Because of your father, you have a birthright toCanadian citizenship.  However, you haveto apply for proof of your Canadian Citizenship.Do you have a copy of your father’s birth certificate? Do you know where your father was born?The easiest way to apply for proof of Canadian citizenshipis to use the online services.  You couldstart the process of obtaining proof of Canadian Citizenship by signing uponline at   Youshould choose “Adult Citizenship Certificate” option. 

Leave a Reply