Canadian citizens who reside abroad have been known to fall in love and have children. When those children are born abroad, they may be entitled to Canadian Citizenship, but there can be a lengthy process to obtain proof that the child is Canadian.
Canadian families who want to travel home to Canada need to plan well in advance to ensure that any foreign-born children can obtain a Canadian passport in time to join the trip. During the COVID pandemic, the processing time for Canadian citizenship certificates reached 18 months. That is a long time to be stuck abroad, without the opportunity to travel back to Canada as a family, particularly during a global pandemic.
Is my child a Canadian citizen?
A child born outside of Canada to a parent who is a Canadian Citizen is automatically a Canadian citizen at birth if their parent was born inside Canada, or became a naturalized Canadian citizen.
A child born outside of Canada, after April 2009, to a parent who is a Canadian Citizen is not a Canadian citizen at birth if their parent was born outside of Canada and inherited their own citizenship because one of their parents was Canadian at the time of their birth.
How do I get a Canadian Passport for my child?
In order to apply for a Canadian passport for your child, you will first need to obtain proof that your child is Canadian. This is obtained by way of an application for proof of Canadian Citizenship, which is submitted initially to the Canadian Consulate or Embassy in your local region.
Once this application has been processed and a Canadian Citizenship certificate has been issued, you can then apply for a passport – usually to the same Consulate or Embassy. This entire process can take well over a year, so it is recommended that parents start making applications to obtain Canadian documentation for their children shortly after birth.
What if we need to travel to Canada before Proof of Citizenship can be obtained?
Most Canadian consulates or Embassies overseas will have a process that you can follow to obtain an Emergency Travel Document for a child that is born abroad to a Canadian parent. This document can be issued at the discretion of the Canadian government to a baby who is likely Canadian, but who currently does not have the proof of Citizenship document. With this travel document, your child will be able to travel back to Canada with you (usually one time only) while waiting for the proper documentation to obtain a Canadian passport.
What do I do if my child is not a Canadian Citizen?
If you yourself were born outside of Canada and inherited your Citizenship from one of your parents, then your foreign-born child is not entitled to Canadian Citizenship.
You will need to sponsor them to obtain Permanent Residence as the first step, a process that can normally take 6-12 months. Once the child is landed as a Permanent resident, if they are under the age of 18, they are then eligible to apply for Canadian Citizenship immediately, as the minor child of a Canadian citizen.
If your child becomes a Permanent Resident after the age of 18, they will need to live in Canada for at least 3 years before they are eligible to apply for Canadian Citizenship.
It’s important to note that you can only sponsor your child for Permanent Residence while they are single and under the age of 22. After the age of 22, the child is not eligible to be sponsored and loses the ability to achieve permanent status in Canada on the basis of a parent’s Citizenship.