A person may become a Canadian citizen by birth, or by naturalization. Canadian citizenship provides rights and privileges that Permanent Residents of Canada do not have, such as the right to obtain a Canadian passport, the right to live outside Canada for any length of time without loss of status and the right to vote in Canadian elections and to run for political office.
Almost all persons born in Canada are Canadian citizens, regardless of the citizenship or legal status of their parents. Under laws that became effective in 2009 and 2015, persons born outside Canada are Canadian citizens if either parent was born in Canada or naturalized in Canada, this law applies only to the first generation born outside of Canada. In most cases this law is retroactive. However, the new law is complex, and you should seek qualified advice if you have questions or concerns about Canadian citizenship. Canadian citizens born outside Canada can apply for a Certificate of Citizenship to prove their Canadian citizenship. Once they have their citizenship certificate, they can sponsor their non-Canadian spouse and minor children for permanent residence in Canada.
A person can apply for Canadian citizenship if the person is a legal permanent resident of Canada, and has lived in Canada for a total of three years out of the previous five years. Requirements regarding English or French language ability and knowledge of Canada are also part of the application depending on an applicant’s age.
Currently applicants for citizenship are not required to renounce their previous citizenship. However, acquiring Canadian citizenship may cause a loss of citizenship under the laws of the person’s country of original nationality. Acquiring Canadian citizenship will not cause a loss of U.S. citizenship unless it is the person’s intent to renounce. U.S. citizens seeking Canada citizenship should seek proper legal advice regarding the possible impact on their U.S. citizenship, as well as the potential tax consequences. Our office offers a range of Canadian citizenship services including initial applications, appeals of refusals of Canadian citizenship and applications under special circumstances. If you have applied for Canadian citizenship and your application has been refused contact our office to determine your options for appeal.