Citizenship and Immigration Canada
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Questions on Citizenship?

Recent media reports, and the need to have a passport to fly to the U.S., have put Canadian citizenship issues in the spotlight.

Some people who have applied for their passport or for a proof of citizenship have discovered they have lost or failed to maintain their Canadian citizenship for a variety of reasons. Others are discovering that, although they are Canadian, they lack proof of citizenship and they need to apply to replace it, much as they would replace a birth certificate.

For people living in Canada, we have created a dedicated unit at our Call Centre for citizenship issues. Where needed, a citizenship officer will be assigned to provide personalized counselling and to identify cases requiring immediate attention, such as people with urgent travel requirements.

We are working with the Canada Border Services Agency and other partners to ensure that no one is removed from the country while cases are under review, and that benefits such as health care and Old Age Security are continued.

We are working closely with Passport Canada to refer people to our Call Centre, where they can speak directly with citizenship agents. We are also working to speed up the process for people who have not lost their citizenship, but have lost their proof of citizenship.

Some people are discovering that, having lived in Canada most of their lives, they do not have citizenship. These cases deserve immediate attention and the Minister is making these individual cases a priority. Using her powers under the Citizenship Act, the Minister has obtained grants of citizenship for 41 individuals. These individuals demonstrate a significant attachment to Canada, currently live in Canada and have lived in Canada for most of their lives.

The department is reviewing approximately 350 other cases that also merit attention.

The fact is, though, that most of the people calling our toll-free line are discovering that they are, indeed, Canadian – all they need to do is apply for the proper documents. For example, as of June 11, 2007, the department had received 3,100 calls related to loss of citizenship – and all but 130 were confirmed as Canadian. And of those, 61 are still under study.

People whose applications have been recently reviewed by the Department and are now being considered for a special grant will either receive a refund for the fees they paid or will be exempted from paying the fees.

The vast majority of people born in Canada are Canadian citizens. But if you were born outside Canada or have questions about your citizenship, our website can provide you with important information.

If you were born outside Canada after Feb 14, 1977, you may need to take steps to keep your Canadian citizenship.

If you have questions about how to prove you are a Canadian, we have information on the documents you need to prove your Canadian citizenship. We also have information for those with an urgent need for proof of citizenship (a Citizenship Certificate).

If you have lost your Canadian citizenship, we have information on how you can apply to get your Canadian citizenship back.

Recent media coverage of this issue has created some misinformation on citizenship issues. Our Just the Facts series explores the issues of expiry dates of Canadian citizenship and proof of citizenship.