Many people living in Canada are eligible to become dual citizens – citizens of two countries – because Canada officially allows dual citizenship. Dual citizenship has many advantages. Read the article for examples.
Many people living in Canada are eligible to become dual citizens – citizens of two countries – because Canada officially allows dual citizenship. Dual citizenship has many advantages. Here are some examples:
- travel is less of a hassle
- you can enter the other country on its passport, avoiding customs or immigration delays
- you likely require fewer visas when travelling abroad
- citizenship of a Schengen Agreement member-country (most of the EU) allows benefits in all other Schengen Agreement member-countries
There are two ways of becoming both a Canadian citizen and a citizen of another country:
- if you are a permanent resident, and your home country allows dual citizenship, you can become a Canadian citizen;
- if you are already a citizen of Canada, you may be eligible to become a citizen of another country, through descent or immigration.
1. Permanent Residents of Canada
All Canadian permanent residents who qualify can of course become Canadian citizens, but not all permanent residents of Canada can retain their old citizenship when they become Canadian. If you are a citizen of one of the below countries, and a permanent resident of Canada, you are usually not allowed to retain your home citizenship when you become a Canadian citizen. So you should think hard about whether or not you want to become a Canadian citizen, or whether you plan to eventually return home. You should also think about where your children are born, as some countries do not allow your children to retain your citizenship.
Below is a list of countries that do not normally recognize dual citizenship, though that doesn’t make it illegal necessarily. Please note that in many cases the laws are a lot more complex than the information listed below implies.
Also, there are often time restrictions: if you have been a permanent resident of Canada for decades, you should double check the rules if your kids are now adults and they want to apply for another citizenship. When in doubt, contact the nearest diplomatic mission of your home country, or contact us to see if we can help clear it up.
|Country||Recognize Dual Citizenship?||Are my children dual citizens? (All children born in Canada are Canadian citizens by birth)|
|Andorra||No||Andorran and Canadian|
||Austrian and Canadian|
|Azerbaijan||No||Father must be Azerbaijani and mother must give permission|
|Bahrain||No||Father or grandfather must be Bahraini|
|Botswana||No||Father must be Batswana, unless children born out of born out of wedlock, then mother must be Batswana|
|Brunei||No||Father must be Bruneian|
|Burma (Myanmar)||No||Both parents must be Burmese|
|Chile||No||Child must move to Chile before age 21 to retain Chilean citizenship|
|Czech Republic||No||Czech and Canadian, unless born out of wedlock, then both parents must be Czech and a declaration of paternity is needed|
|Denmark||No||Danish and Canadian|
|Ecuador||No||Child must apply for citizenship or must be born to diplomat or political exile|
|Egypt||No||Father must be Egyptian and child must be born in wedlock|
|Estonia||No||Estonian and Canadian|
|Fiji||No||Father must be Fijian|
|Germany||Special permission to retain citizenship must be obtained prior to becoming a Canadian citizen.||German and Canadian, unless born out of wedlock, then mother must be German and father stateless, or father must be German and there must be a declaration of paternity|
|India||No||Father must be Indian, unless born out of wedlock, then mother must be Indian; all children must be registered at an Indian diplomatic mission|
|Indonesia||No||Father must be Indonesian, unless born out of wedlock, then mother must be Indonesian.|
|Iran||No||Father must be Iranian|
|Japan||No||Father must be Japanese, unless born out of wedlock, then mother must be Japanese|
|Kazakhstan||No||Kazakh and Canadian, unless born before March 1, 1992|
|Kenya||No||Father must be Kenyan|
|Kiribati||No||Father must be i-Kiribati, unless born out of wedlock, then mother must be i-Kiribati|
|Korea, North||No||Both parents must be North Korean; if only one parent is North Korean, parents must apply to get citizenship for child|
|Kuwait||No||Father must be Kuwaiti, unless born out of wedlock, then mother must be Kuwaiti|
|Latvia||No||Both parents must be Latvian; if only one parent is Latvian, parents must decide child is Latvian|
|Lithuania||No||Lithuanian and Canadian|
|Malaysia||No||Both parents must be Malaysian|
|Mauritius||No||Father must be Mauritian, unless born out of wedlock, then mother must be Mauritian; child must be registered in Mauritius|
|Mexico||No||Both parents must be Mexican|
|Nepal||No||Father must be Nepalese|
|Netherlands||Restricted – Can only be a dual citizen under one of the following conditions:
||Dutch and Canadian; adopted children may also qualify|
|Norway||No||Norwegian and Canadian, unless born out of wedlock, then mother must be Norwegian|
|Pakistan||Only with the following countries:
||Pakistani and Canadian|
|Papua New Guinea||No||No|
|Poland||No||Both parents must be Polish; if only one parent is Polish: the birth must be registered within three months or the child declare the intent to become a Polish citizen at age 16|
|Singapore||No||Father must be Singaporean, birth must be registered within one year|
|Solomon Islands||No||Solomon Islander and Canadian|
|Sri Lanka||No||Father must be Sri Lankan, unless born out of wedlock, then mother must be Sri Lankan; birth must be registered within one year|
|Spain||If Spanish by birth, you must declare your intention to retain your Spanish citizenship within 3 years of becoming a Canadian citizen||Spanish and Canadian|
|Thailand||No||Thai and Canadian, unless child born out of wedlock, then mother must be Thai|
|United Arab Emirates||No||Father must be United Arab Emirati, unless child born out of wedlock, then either parent can be United Arab Emirati but the father requires declaration of paternity|
|Venezuela||No||Venezuelan and Canadian provided child lives in Venezuela before age 18 and declares intention to be a Venezuelan citizen before age 25|
|Zimbabwe||No||Father must be Zimbabwean, unless child born out of wedlock, then mother must be Zimbabwean|
(Please note this list is not complete. If we missed a country, or got a rule wrong, please leave a comment below.)
If you are a citizen of a country other than those on the above list, you can likely apply for Canadian citizenship without worrying about losing your current citizenship. And your children will be citizens of both Canada and your home country!
|Become a Canadian Citizen||Practice for the Test|
2. Citizens of Canada
If you are a citizen of Canada by birth and you are able to become a citizen of any other country as well, provided that country allows dual citizenship. The countries on the above list will not allow you to retain your Canadian citizenship if you try to become a naturalized citizen. However, if you qualify because one or both of your parents have passed that citizenship to you through descent then you are probably a dual citizen (check out the table above fore details). Please note that you may need to apply for recognition of your status. For the countries not on the above list, it is substantially easier: you can gain citizenship through descent, of course, or you can gain it through naturalization, while keeping your Canadian citizenship.
Citizenship by descent
Most countries in the world allow their citizens to transfer their citizenship to their children, barring certain restrictions most commonly related to gender, marriage and location. But there are nearly 200 countries in the world, and none of them have the same nationality laws. It gets even more complicated when dealing with the citizenship of nationals from failed states, unrecognized states and semi-recognized states. Over the coming months, Immigroup will endeavour to deal with dual nationality for those countries that have sent many immigrants to Canada. At the moment, we are only experts in British and German dual nationality, but we hope to do more in the future! If you would like to see a particular country addressed first, please comment below.
Riley Haas has been a leading expert since 2011 on immigration matters, with hundreds of publications online. Published author of three books about political philosophy, the Beatles and the Toronto Maple Leafs, respectively. BA from Bishop’s University, MA from McMaster University. You follow Riley on Substack https://rileyhaas.substack.com.