Who is a Canadian Citizen? (17:III)

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This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by the Law Students' Legal Advice Program on July 29, 2022.

Section 3 of the Act provides that a person is a citizen if they meet one of the enumerated conditions. In general, a person is a Canadian citizen if:

  • They were born in Canada.
  • They became a citizen through the naturalization process in Canada (i.e., they were a permanent resident before they became a citizen);
  • They were born outside Canada and one of their parents was a Canadian citizen at the time of their birth because the parent was either born in Canada or naturalized in Canada. Then this person in this case is the first generation born outside Canada;
  • A person may be a Canadian citizen if they were born outside Canada from January 1, 1947, up to and including April 16, 2009, to a Canadian parent who was also born outside Canada to a Canadian parent (in this case, the person is the second or subsequent generation born outside Canada).
  • A person may be a Canadian citizen if they were adopted outside Canada by a Canadian parent on or after January 1, 1947.
NOTE: The preconditions of citizenship listed above are not conclusive because there are special rules for people born in Newfoundland and Labrador.

A. Grant of Citizenship vs. Proof of Citizenship

A person who is a Canadian citizen by virtue of being born in Canada or being born outside of Canada to a Canadian parent may apply for proof of citizenship. To receive proof of citizenship, it is not necessary to pass the test or to take the oath of citizenship.

Persons who are living outside Canada should contact the Canadian Embassy, high commission or consulate in that country. If there is no Canadian government office in that country, you should contact a Canadian government office in a nearby country or a foreign government office that can provide consular service. For more information, please check Section VIII of this chapter.

Permanent Residents of Canada who have fulfilled the necessary requirements can apply for and may be granted citizenship.

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