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Citizenship by Descent

Discussion in 'Citizenship' started by hilly, Apr 21, 2013.

  1. Hello everyone. I have been trying to do a lot of research about this to find out if I qualify for citizenship. I am about 80% sure I do.

    Here is my background story:
    I can trace my family in Canada back to the 1700's from my fathers side of the family. We were some of the earliest settlers in Ontario and have had many family members in parliament etc.

    Out of all of my Canadian family, my grandparents were the first to move to USA before my father and uncle were born. My father was born in 1958 and according to the laws he is a Canadian citizen by descent. He was the first born American. I was born in 1988, I am 25 years old, and as far as I can tell I am considered a Canadian citizen by descent because I was born before the April 2009 law change. I've checked all the scenarios and found that people born even as the 4th generation abroad before 2009 are also considered Canadian by descent. I have also taken the test on the CIC website and I have a problem.

    It does not say that I am a citizen and it does not say that I am not. This is because my father and I both do not know if my fathers birth was registered with the Canadian government when he was born. According to the new law that shouldn't matter either way, but I am not sure if that affects me?

    I want to apply for the citizenship certificate. Does my father need to apply for his first just to make sure? Or because I was born before the April 2009 date, do I automatically qualify? How can I provide enough proof of my family lineage also?

    As far as I've found most people do not know how to correctly interpret the law and have been saying regardless of when you were born after the 2009 law you cannot be a citizen if you are not the first generation born abroad.

    I have found a website with what seems to be a credible source who's story sounds very similar to mine only my grandfather did not give his citizenship up only my grandmother did. I will post the information here since I can't post links:

    QUESTION: My grandparents were both born in Canada, and subsequently gained Canadian citizenship when the first citizenship law was passed in 1947.

    In 1951, they were wedded in Canada, and in 1953 they moved to the United States. In 1955 they gave birth to my father on U.S. soil, but neglected to obtain a Resident Born Abroad certificate from the Canadian government for him. He was a U.S. citizen from birth based on U.S. law.

    In the late 50s or early 60s, my grandparents themselves gained U.S. citizenship. Based on the Canadian laws of the time, that meant that both they and my father forfeited any claim they had to Canadian citizenship.

    In 1977, a new Canadian citizenship law was passed allowing for dual citizenship, and allowing any number of successive generations of Canadians born outside of Canada to automatically gain Canadian citizenship. However, it was not retroactive, so my father and grandparents were stuck as U.S. citizens only.

    However, in 1984 I was born on U.S. soil while the 1977 Canadian law was in effect. Though at the time that didn't seem relevant as my father had no claim to Canadian citizenship.

    Fast Forward to April 2009, and a new Canadian law restores citizenship to my Grandparents, and to their son (my father). This restoration of citizenship is retroactive to the time they either lost their Canadian citizenship or were born, respectively. This new law also limits the number of generations born off of Canadian soil that still retain Canadian citizenship to one.

    However, as far as I can tell, this one generation limit only applies to people born after the April 2009 enactment. Since I was born in 1984, it seems the 1977 standard would apply. Coupled with the "retroactive until birth" citizenship bestowed upon my father, would that mean then that I am eligible for Canadian citizenship by right of descent?

    There is another restriction that doesn't apply to me- people born to Canadian citizens after 1977 must show a connection to Canada before their 28th birthday. I was only 25 when the 2009 law passed, so this would not have disqualified me.

    Thank you for your time and consideration on this matter.

    ANSWER: Dear Nick,

    First, you've done your homework and you have basically answered your own question.

    I would agree that you appear to have a claim to Canadian citizenship.

    To be sure, you need to apply for a Canadian citizenship certificate. To make an application, follow the instructions on this link:

    (link removed)

    Once you have a certificate, you may also wish to apply for a passport.

    Note that under the new citizenship rules which you have correctly interpreted, your children if born outside Canada after April 2009 would have no claim to citizenship unless they immigrated to Canada later on.

    Good luck.

    ---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

    QUESTION: Since my Grandparents and Father are without a doubt eligible for Canadian citizenship, can we all send in applications in one packet, or one packet containing multiple envelopes? Or would we have to all apply separately?

    Also, for my application, my mother was in no way Canadian. Do I have to fill out the "Mother" section of the Canadian citizenship application? And if so, what would I put for the parts such as how she obtained Canadian citizenship, which she did not do.

    ANSWER: You may file all applications in one packet containing multiple envelopes.

    Simply leave blank or indicate N/A for "not applicable" in the "Mother" section for those questions that do not apply.

    ---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

    QUESTION: Unfortunately I have done further research by reading the revised law, and referencing older versions, and I now believe that I would be ineligible based on the actual text of the law.

    Specifically, in the April 2009 version of the citizenship act, section 3(a) makes it so that it would not apply to me, because my claim to citizenship would be my father, who himself obtained citizenship through section 1(g)

    So, the retroactive nature of my father's citizenship does NOT allow him to pass on his citizenship to me, even though I was born within the dates the old law would have allowed for.

    Unless you can find fault with the above logic. (please???)

    You can find a copy of the law to review at (link removed) and by doing a simple search for "Citizenship act" (with the quotes) and then clicking on the link near Chapter C-29

    Dear Nick,

    If your father was born to Canadian citizen parents before 1977 then your father should now be deemed a Canadian citizen, and so would you since you were born before April 2009.

    To be sure, I suggest you make the application for a citizenship certificate for your father and for yourself. That is the only way to obtain a definitive answer. It will cost $75CA per person.

    Any response and help would be great! I know $75 isn't much to just apply to see if I would be approved but I would rather not waste my money if I was going to be denied. Also would be great to know what proof to provide for my connections to Canada.
  2. Based on my understanding of the rules and your particular situation - the key question is "was your father's birth registered with Canada"? I believe this will determine if you qualify or not.

    Having said that, I'm no expert and your situation is a bit complicated.
  3. You are Canadian by descent, because of your family history. But you are not a Canadian citizen because you are in the second generation born outside Canada and the 2009 act is now in force. The 2009 act does not allow you to claim citizenship, regardless of the past circumstances.

    Your father may or may not be a citizen, depending on if his parents became citizens in 1947. If your grandparents moved to the US before 1947, then they are not citizens.

    The easiest way for you to become a citizen is to have your father apply to CIC for a citizenship certificate. If he is a citizen, then he can sponsor you for permanent residency in Canada. Then you can become a citizen through naturalization.
  4. You will never know unless you apply. Try sending the applications for your father and yourself in the same package and see what happens.

    If your father gets it and you don't, he can not sponsor you for PR though unless he and you are planning on moving to Canada when you get your PR and can prove it, you are a full time student and financially dependent on your father since before the age of 22 and you are not married or in a common law relationship.
  5. hello @ hilly i can help u put ur mind to ease a bit but what u should do is to call a canadian consulate n find out thou,my father didnt born in canada but he was nutralize by his sister but gained citizenship there so i gained citizenship last year i dont live in canada im from the caribbean so what u should do is let ur father try to get his citizenship first then u can get urs b4 ur 28 b-day its easy not that difficult all he needs to do is just to show certain documents from his parents marriage or not.but call up a consulate n they will tell u.
  6. The 2009 changes did not affect people born before April 17, 2009. If you were considered a citizen prior to that date, you are still a citizen today.
  7. tru @ york factory
  8. Hi everyone,

    This is a very useful website and forum, and I am glad that I found it.

    I have a question similar to that of the original poster. I have never lived in Canada, although I have visited, and I am interested in moving to Canada permanently.

    My grandfather was born in 1920 in Alberta, and never renounced it, therefore he would be deemed a Canadian citizen under the current law.

    In 1947, he married a woman from the US and they gave birth to my mother later that year.

    My mother has never lived in Canada, but based on the current law, my mother can claim Canadian citizenship.

    In 1973, she gave birth to me here in the US, but because she was not aware of it at the time, she did not know that she needed to register my birth with the Canadian government.

    I am now 40 years old. Is it too late for me to claim Canadian citizenship?
  9. in jamaica we say nothing try,nothing done
  10. The fact that you were born in 1988 (i.e. before the 2009 changes took effect) does not mean that you are a Canadian citizen. To be a Canadian citizen now, you would have had to have been born to a person who was a Canadian citizen at the time of your birth. In other words, you had to have been a Canadian citizen before 2009, and you were not. While it is true that the 2009 law made your father a Canadian citizen retroactive to his birth, it also contained a clause limiting citizenship to the first generation born outside Canada. Because you are the second, you are unfortunately out of luck.

    Note to NorthCol: It doesn't matter whether the grandparents moved to the U.S. before 1947. What matters is when they took U.S. citizenship. If before 1947, they never became Canadians. If after, they did...but lost it when they became U.S. citizens later. The 2009 law returned citizenship to the grandparents and the original poster's father and uncle.

    Note to Link N. Parker: Your mother couldn't have registered your birth in 1973, because at that time only Canadian fathers could register a child's birth. There was a period when you could have received a grant of citizenship (about 1992-2004), but as of 2009, citizenship is limited to the first generation born outside Canada. Therefore, you are not a Canadian citizen.
  11. Agreed. In many cases there may be a doubt if it will work or not but if you don't apply, you'll never know.
  13. Hilly, I want to revise my statement slightly to say this: the only possibility of Canadian citizenship by descent for you is IF your father's birth was registered with the Canadian consulate, either at the time of his birth in 1958, or later when he was an adult (he had until 2004 to do so), thus making him a Canadian citizen when you were born. If your father's birth had been registered as a child, he would have received a Registration of Birth Abroad certificate. If he registered as an adult, he would have received a Certificate of Canadian Citizenship. Most births were not registered, so the posibility that you are a citizen is small. However, if your father (or his parents, if still living) is (are) unsure, all you can do is apply and find out.

    If you want to study this in greater detail, do a search on "Acquisition and Loss of Canadian Citizenship" and read about the subject in the Citizenship Manual.
  14. I know this thread is old, and I never pursued it. But I am still interested in doing so. I was doing some thinking and my father always talks about how as a kid his parents would take them to Canada and they never had an issue because they were Canadian because their parents were. But back then I don't think children were required to have passports. I could be wrong. Also when he was in prep school as a teen his friends mother had offered he and another person a summer job in Canada. My dad said he could go because he was Canadian and would have no issue working there. But his friend couldn't go because he was not Canadian. So I am wondering if in fact maybe his birth wasn't registered at birth but maybe later. Because how could he have gone back and forth etc?
  15. Because 50 years ago, nobody cared about Canadians and Americans crossing the US-Canada border in either direction, especially kids.

    As someone else said above, your father needs apply for his Certificate of Citizenship. If he gets it, you can apply; that is the only way you will find out for sure.

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