The Canadian citizenship certificate (formerly citizenship card) is a document used by naturalized Canadian citizens to prove their status in Canada.
If you have become a Canadian citizen after immigrating to Canada, you have to show your original citizenship document when you
- Renew your Canadian passport
- Renew your health card
- Renew your driver's license or provincial ID
- Enroll in school
- Start a job
If you have proof that you need to replace your citizenship card urgently, you can get it sooner than the usual processing time of 4 - 6 months.
Canadian Citizenship Card cost and processing time
|Regular Processing||$386.37||4 - 6 months|
|Urgent Processing||$613.50||6 weeks|
|Top Priority||$1009||15 business days|
|First through Canadian Parent||$557||6 months|
Canadian citizenship certificate urgent processing
Frequently people need to get their citizenship card replaced urgently because they need to renew their Canadian passport to travel, or they need to prove that they are a Canadian citizen for work. Under circumstances like these, CIC will almost always process the application with urgency.
Travel as Proof of urgency:
To use travel as proof that you need your replacement certificate urgently you must be able to show an acceptable reason for why you need to travel so urgently. This may include a funeral, a sick relative, a wedding, or another emergency. You have to include a copy of your ticket or flight itinerary showing:
- Your name and the date of departure
- Proof that payment has been made for the ticket
You can still submit a ticket as proof of urgency even if you have only paid a deposit, but some amount of money needs to be paid.
Employment as proof of urgency:
Certain careers, such as working for the federal government, or working in the terminal of an airport require that you prove you are a Canadian citizen to work there. If you need to prove you are a Canadian citizen for your job, your employer has to write a letter that should include:
- Your name
- You are a current employee or have been offered a job
- You are required to provide proof that you are a Canadian citizen by a certain date in order to continue or start employment
- The supervisor's name and contact information
Keep in mind that urgent processing is not guaranteed. If you submit proof that you need your certificate urgently, it is at the discretion of the officer reviewing your file whether to expedite the processing of your application to replace your citizenship card.
Documents needed for Canadian citizenship card
For CIC to issue a new citizenship card to you, they have to confirm your identity. For this reason, you have to include photocopies of two ID documents, one of which must have a photo, with your citizenship certificate application. All documents used to support your citizenship card application must be current and valid.
You can include any two of these supporting documents:
- Canadian passport
- International passport
- Canadian or US driver's license
- Canadian provincial or US state photo ID
- Canadian health card
- Canadian college or university ID card
- Canadian Notice of Assessment (CRA issued income tax document)
- other Canadian government issued ID such as hunting license or parole ID card
All documents provided must be from Canada or the US, otherwise CIC cannot verify their authenticity. For this reason, if you have to submit supporting documents from another country because you live outside Canada or the US, you must submit your citizenship card application to the Canadian consulate closest to where you live.
Apply for a Canadian citizenship card without IDs
If you don't have the necessary ID documents to apply for replacement of your certificate, you can use other documents as identification.
If you have one ID document but not two:
If you have a photo ID such as a passport or driver's license, but do not have any other ID documents, include copies of as many of the following documents as possible:
- phone or utility bills showing your name
- SIN or Social Security card
- other Canadian or US government-issued ID
- employee ID card
- high school ID card
- private health insurance card
- blood donor card
- Certificate of Indian Status card
- credit card
- voter registration document
- income tax return
- insurance policy
- membership card for any organization
- car ownership
- school records
- senior citizen's card
- GST refund
If you have only one or do not have any ID documents with a photo, you should provide as many of the above documents as you can, AND what's called a Statutory Declaration.
This declaration contains several statements about your identity, an ID picture of you, and is sworn before a lawyer. The statutory declaration acts as your photo ID for a Canadian citizenship card application if you don't have one. Statutory Declarations which do not contain a photo cannot be used to support your citizenship certificate application. Contact us if you need help with your Statutory Declaration.
Canadian Citizenship Card Application Process
As of February 2012, CIC no longer issues proof of Canadian citizenship in the form of a photo ID card. In an effort to prevent fraud, CIC created a new document as proof of citizenship which now comes in the form of a paper certificate with a barcode and personal information printed on the reverse side. There is no photo on the document, but when the barcode is scanned the photo of the document's owner that was submitted with their citizenship application will appear.
The old style photo citizenship cards are still accepted as proof of Canadian citizenship by Passport Canada and other government agencies. However, it is not possible to get a new photo citizenship card anymore. All proof of citizenship issued after February 2012 is now in the form of a paper certificate.
Canadian Citizenship Card Photo Requirements
Applicants for replacment of a Canadian citizenship card must provide two photos with their application that meet these requirements:
- photos must be identical
- printed on photo paper - matte or glossy
- the name and address of the photography studio where the pictures were taken must be on the back of the photo
- the date the photo was taken should be written on the back of the photo
- the name of the applicant should be written on the back of the photo
- taken within 6 months
- clear and taken against a white or light coloured background
- must not be altered digitally (photoshopped)
- facing the camera with neutral expression (no smiling) with both eyes open and clearly visible
- eyes cannot be obscured in any way, including by hair or frames of glasses
- photo size: 35x45mm
- head size in photo: 31 - 36mm from chin to top of hair
Canadian Citizenship Card Application Returned from CIC
If you submitted an application to replace your Canadian citizenship card and the application was returned to you, or you received a letter requesting additional documents or information, this means that your application was not complete. CIC will not continue to process your application for a new proof of Canadian citizenship until you provide exactly what they have requested.
If you don't respond to CIC within 180 days (6 months) of their letter to you, your application will be abandoned and you will not receive a replacement of your Canadian citizenship card.
Getting your first Canadian citizenship card through a Canadian parent
Everyone born in Canada is a Canadian citizen. But, if you were born outside Canada and one of your parents was a Canadian citizen either by birth or naturalization at the time you were born, then you are a Canadian citizen by descent. To get your Canadian passport, you first need to apply for proof that you are a Canadian citizen in the form of a Canadian citizenship certificate.
As of 2009, Canadian citizenship by descent is only extended to the first generation born outside Canada. Prior to this, the second generation born outside Canada could also claim Canadian citizenship through their Canadian grandparent.
The application process for obtaining your first Canadian citizenship certificate through a Canadian parent is largely the same. A copy of the applican'ts own long-form birth certificate showing parents' names and the applicant's Canadian parent's long-form birth certificate showing their parents' names must be included. This is in addition to the other photocopies of ID documents that must be included. All photocopies of documents must be certified. A first Canadian citizenship certificate cannot be submitted without proper documentation.
Changing incorrect information on your citizenship certificate
Many times, if there is information about you that is incorrect on your Canadian citizenship card you can apply to update it and you will be issued a new citizenship document.
Typos and misspelled names can be corrected through a simple request on the replacement citizenship card application. If you have legally changed your name, you must include a copy of your marrriage, divorce, or name change certificate with your application.
Incorrect dates of birth can be corrected as long as the information is correct on CIC's records and the misprint was only a typo.
If your information, such as date of birth, is incorrect on CIC records, you have to apply for an amendment of your IMM1000 Record of Landing in order to change this information on your citizenship certificate. If you're not sure whether you need an Amendment, contact us.