Frequently Asked Questions

This page provides a general information about Canadian immigration and citizenship programs and the application process.  The content on this page is provided for information only.  While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an “as is” basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied.  The information on AG-Canadaimmigration.ca website is not a substitute for a professional advice.  Canada AG Immigration & Citizenship Services and AG-Canadaimmigration.ca does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any of the information provided.

To receive a detail professional assessment about your specific situation, you should consult with our licensed immigration consultant or contact Government of Canada.

To replace your Canadian citizenship certificate or card you should submit:

  • An application for the replacement of your certificate
  • A supplementary declaration explaining what happened to your citizenship certificate or card
  • A copy of your identification cards to confirm your identity

To replace a lost, stolen, damaged, or destroyed Canadian Citizenship Certificate, please click on Lost or Damaged Citizenship Certificate.

A Canadian permanent resident is a citizen of another country who has been granted permission to live in Canada as a permanent resident.  Once a person has permanent resident status, they have the right to live and work anywhere in the country.  A Canadian permanent resident enjoys most of the privileges and rights similar to a Canadian Citizen, i.e. work, live and study anywhere in Canada, Protection under Canadian laws, etc. receive social services, i.e. healthcare coverage.  But permanent resident cannot apply for a Canadian Passport or vote in an election.  After being a permanent resident for a certain amount of time, permanent residents are eligible to apply to become Canadian citizens!

The processing times for Canadian immigration programs vary widely from program to program. Under Canada’s new Express Entry system, some applications for permanent residence are processed in less than 6 months.  Meanwhile, other programs may take two years or more to be processed.  Once you have determined which program is best suited to your immigration needs, you may confirm the average processing times as indicated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Immigration Canada has a several programs to attract international talents to Canada.  Maine programs are:

  • General Immigration (Express Entry & PNP)
  • Family Sponsorship 
  • Student Permit
  • Work permit
  • Business Immigration 

The cost of immigrating varies greatly depending on the immigration program and the applicant’s profile.  Usually, there are a few layers of cost, including government processing fees (These fees are the same regardless of your nationality or country of origin.), Immigration consultant cost, documentation costs, and proof of settlement funds.

The documents required for an immigration application depends on the program to which you are applying.  Documents might include identification documents, educational records, proof of work experience, financial history, etc.  In order to determine the documents you will require, first you have to determine which immigration program is best for you!

A language exam is not a requirement for some Canadian immigration programs such as family sponsorship.  However, many pathways to Canadian immigration require that an applicant submits official language test results in either English or French.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has initiated the Express Entry system as a gateway to Canada for professionals with post-secondary education or certified Skilled Trades workers.  

Express Entry is an online government system, which helps potential immigrants to get permanent resident status in Canada through different programs such as the Federal Skilled Worker, Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Trades, and some Provincial Nominee Programs.  Express Entry operates in two-steps: The first is to enter a candidate’s information into the system which evaluates the eligibility of potential candidates and provides a specific score. As soon as the candidate obtains the same score or higher than the last draw, they become eligible and gets an invitation to apply for permanent resident status. The second step is the process of submitting the application and supporting documents necessary to become a permanent resident of Canada.

Express Entry programs allow applicants to apply individually, or accompanied by their spouse or common-law partner and dependent children.  Choosing to include, or not include, family members may affect a person’s CRS score slightly.

The Canadian government has instituted several immigration programs designed to reunite family members. Under Canada’s immigrations goals for family reunification, Canadian citizens and permanent residents may be eligible to sponsor spouses, common-law partners, children and other dependents, parents, and grandparents.

Canada has family sponsorship programs enabling Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their spouse or common-law partner, dependent children, and parents/grandparents. In order to determine whether or not your family members may join you, first you must determine if you meet family sponsorship program requirements.

Under current immigration programs, most Canadian citizens or permanent residents are eligible to sponsor their spouses or common-law partners for Canadian immigration.  When married, a person can generally sponsor their spouse for Canadian permanent residence as long as the marriage is legally recognized in both Canada and the country of marriage.  For common-law partners, a person can sponsor their partner for Canadian permanent residence as long as the couple meets Canada’s definition of legal common-law partnership. There do exist exceptions to these rules.

Canada’s immigration system enables most parents to sponsor their dependent children and other legal dependants for Canadian permanent residence.  To do this, the parent must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and the person being sponsored must meet Canada’s definition of being a dependant.  Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada defines a dependent child as any child under 22 years old who does not have a spouse or common-law partner.  As well, it may be possible for a child over the age of 22 to qualify as a dependent child if they are unable to financially support themselves because of a mental or physical condition.

It is possible for Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their parents and/or grandparents to join them in Canada.  In order to be eligible, the sponsor must meet certain financial requirements proving that they could financially support their parents or grandparents, if necessary.  This program uses a lottery system to select sponsors, with a target quota of 10,000 new applications annually.

Most foreign nationals need a study permit to study in Canada.  You can study at any school in Canada without a study permit if:

  • your course or program lasts 6 months or less
  • your studies aren’t part of a longer program and
  • you’ll complete all your studies within the time we approved you to stay in Canada (usually 6 months after you enter)

If you’re taking prerequisite courses, you should get a study permit, even if the courses are less than 6 months long.  If you don’t, you’ll have to apply for a study permit before you can start your full study program.  

To study in Canada for any program which is longer than six months you need to obtain a study permit.  You can obtain a study permit if you:

            •           are enrolled at a designated learning institution (DLI)

            •           prove you have enough money to pay for your:

            •           tuition fees

            •           living expenses for yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada

            •           return transportation for yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada

            •           obey the law, have no criminal record and get a police certificate (if required)

            •           are in good health and get a medical exam (if required)

            •           prove to an immigration Canada officer that you will leave Canada when your study permit expires

Minor children don’t need a study permit if:

            •           they’re in kindergarten

            •           they’re refugees or refugee claimants

            •           their parents are refugees or refugee claimants or

            •           they’re in pre-school, primary or secondary school, and they’re already in Canada with a parent who has a work or study permit

Applying with your spouse and children may impact the approval or disapproval of your study permit application.  This depends on a number of factors and should be discussed with one of our professional immigration consultant before applying.  Our Immigration Consultant will work with you closely to determine the choice which will give you the best possible chance of receiving your study permit.  If your family does accompany you, your spouse will be eligible for an open work permit, authorizing them to work full-time in Canada while you are studying.  If you have minor children, they will be eligible to study at a Canadian public school.

Immediately after you finish studying you will be eligible to apply for a post-graduation work permit which allows you to stay in Canada and work.  With a sufficient combination of Canadian education and Canadian skilled work experience, you can become eligible to apply for permanent residence.  Completing studies in Canada does not guarantee Canadian permanent residence, but it greatly increases your eligibility!

With a Canadian educational credential, you will improve your competitiveness in Canada’s Express Entry immigration system and you may even be eligible to apply directly to a Provincial Nomination Program.  Once you obtain skilled work experience in Canada, you may also become eligible to apply for permanent residence directly to the Canadian Experience Class program.

A Canadian citizenship certificate is a document that proves that a person is a Canadian citizen. It can be issued to a person born in Canada, to a person born outside Canada to a Canadian parent, or to a permanent resident (a landed immigrant) who has been granted Canadian citizenship.

The citizenship certificate is a letter-sized paper document that was introduced in February 2012 and that replaces the former wallet-sized version. Citizenship certificates issued before February 1, 2012, continue to be valid. The citizenship certificate contains your family and given names, date of birth, gender, and the effective date of citizenship. The citizenship certificate is not a travel document.  Any Canadian citizen wanting to travel internationally must obtain a Canadian passport.

            •           If you were born in Canada, you are a Canadian citizen.  Your Canadian birth certificate is proof of your Canadian citizenship.

            •           If you are a good standing permanent resident of Canada and meet Canadian citizenship requirements (residency, language skills, passing citizenship test etc.), you are eligible to become a Canadian citizen. 

            •           If you were born in outside Canada and one of your parents was a Canadian citizen at the time of your birth, you have a birthright to Canadian citizenship. 

            •           If your child was born outside Canada, and you or the other parent was a Canadian citizen when the child was born, your child has a birthright to Canadian citizenship. 

            •           Children born outside Canada and adopted by a Canadian citizen are eligible for a grant of Canadian citizenship.

            •           If you were born outside Canada and one of your grandparents were a Canadian citizen when you were born, you might have a birthright to Canadian Citizen.

To apply for Canadian citizenship as an adult through naturalization, you must:

            •           Be a permanent resident of Canada;

            •           be 18 years of age or older;

            •           have lived in Canada for at least 1,095 days in the four years before the date you sign your application (time spent residing in Canada prior to acquiring permanent residence may be counts as a half day of residence);

            •           have an adequate knowledge of either English or French;

            •           have an adequate knowledge of Canada and the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship;

            •           not be under a removal order (in other words, the Government of Canada has not ordered you to leave the country);

            •           not be a security risk;

            •           not be criminally prohibited; and

            •           attend a ceremony and take the oath of citizenship

Obtaining Canadian citizenship certificate allows you to;

            •           Live, study or work in Canada without needing any permits.

            •           Obtain a Canadian passport;

            •           Obtain a driver’s licence, an enhanced driver’s licence or an enhanced identity card;

            •           Access government services such as health care or a pension, or to obtain a Social Insurance Number.

The following documents are recognized by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) as proof of citizenship.  Some government departments or agencies may not accept all the documents listed below and may require additional documents.

            •           Provincial or territorial birth certificates (for people born in Canada, unless you were born after February 14, 1977and at the time of your birth, your parents were neither Canadian citizens nor permanent residents, and at least one parent had diplomatic status in Canada. If you were born in Canada before February 15, 1977 to a parent with diplomatic status, please contact us for more information on eligibility at info@agics.ca

            •           Citizenship certificates (some people born outside Canada between February 15, 1977, and April 16, 1981, inclusively, to a Canadian parent who was also born outside Canada to a Canadian parent were required to take steps before their 28th birthday in order to keep their citizenship. This is known as “retention” of one’s citizenship. If they did not take the necessary steps to retain their citizenship, it was automatically lost under the 1977 Citizenship Act. If you think this may apply to you and you need more information, please contact us at info@agics.ca

            •           Naturalization certificates (issued before January 1, 1947)

            •           Registration of Birth Abroad certificates (issued between January 1, 1947, and February 14, 1977, inclusively)

            •           Certificates of retention (issued between January 1, 1947, and February 14, 1977, inclusively)

Any Canadian citizen is entitled to apply for a citizenship certificate.  Citizens born in Canada may apply for a citizenship certificate if they wish, although provincial or territorial birth certificates are frequently sufficient to prove Canadian citizenship.

If you wish to confirm your status as a Canadian citizen, update your citizenship certificate or replace a lost, destroyed or stolen certificate, you must apply for it.

To apply for a Canadian citizenship certificate, you should complete the form Application for a Citizenship Certificate

To apply for Proof of Canadian Citizenship Certificate please click on this link: https://ag-canadaimmigration.ca/

To apply for Canadian citizenship as an adult through naturalization, please click on this link: https://ag-canadaimmigration.ca/

  • If you change your last name because of marriage, you don’t need to change your name on your citizenship card or certificate.
  • If you legally changed your name, you should apply for a new Canadian Citizenship certificate with your new name on it. To change your name on your current citizenship certificate you should provide linking documents showing the use of both old and new names, and the basis for the change. You could provide one of the following documents:
    • Provide a copy of a legal change of name document, or
    • An adoption order indicating your new name,
    • Marriage certificate or divorce judgment
    • If residing outside Canada, a legal change of name document is issued by the responsible government authority in your country of residence. The document should in French or English.
  • If you are requesting a name change that is not significant (for example a slight change in spelling), you should provide a copy of one of the following documents that read exactly the same as the name you are requesting:
    • a provincial health card, or
    • a provincial driver’s license, or
    • an official school record issued by the provincial department responsible for education, or
    • if residing outside Canada, birth certificate or foreign passport or foreign national identity card.

To change your name on a Canadian citizenship certificate, please click on Correction to Citizenship Certificate.

  • If you change your last name because of marriage, you don’t need to change your name on your citizenship card or certificate.
  • If you legally changed your name, you should apply for a new Canadian Citizenship certificate with your new name on it. To change your name on your current citizenship certificate you should provide linking documents showing the use of both old and new names, and the basis for the change. You could provide one of the following documents:
    • Provide a copy of a legal change of name document, or
    • An adoption order indicating your new name,
    • Marriage certificate or divorce judgment
    • If residing outside Canada, a legal change of name document is issued by the responsible government authority in your country of residence. The document should in French or English.
  • If you are requesting a name change that is not significant (for example a slight change in spelling), you should provide a copy of one of the following documents that read exactly the same as the name you are requesting:
    • a provincial health card, or
    • a provincial driver’s license, or
    • an official school record issued by the provincial department responsible for education, or
    • if residing outside Canada, birth certificate or foreign passport or foreign national identity card.

To change your name on a Canadian citizenship certificate, please click on Correction to Citizenship Certificate.

Citizenship certificates may be issued on an urgent basis to Canadian citizens who demonstrate an urgent need to have their application processed.  Every urgent application will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

In general, if you were born in Canada, you are a Canadian citizen.

If you were born in Canada after February 14, 1977 and at the time of your birth, your parents were not Canadian citizens or permanent residents, and at least one parent had diplomatic status in Canada, you are not a citizen.

If you were born in another country:

            •           In general, you are a Canadian citizen if you became a citizen through the naturalization process in Canada (i.e., you were a permanent resident [a landed immigrant] before you became a citizen).

            •           In general, you are a Canadian citizen if you were born outside Canada and one of your parents was a Canadian citizen at the time of your birth and if that parent was either born in Canada or naturalized in Canada (”naturalized” means that the parent was a permanent resident [a landed immigrant] before becoming a citizen). You are the first generation born outside Canada.

            •           You may be a Canadian citizen if you were born outside Canada between January 1, 1947, and April 16, 2009 inclusively to a Canadian parent who was also born outside Canada to a Canadian parent (you are the second or subsequent generation born outside Canada). 

            •           If you were a British subject residing in Canada when the Canadian Citizenship Act came into force on January 1, 1947, or you were born outside Canada to a British subject parent who might have become a citizen on that date, contact us to find out how to confirm whether or not you are a citizen.

If you think that one of the situations above may apply to you and you are uncertain about your Canadian citizenship status, we encourage you to call us at (888) 808 – 0455 email us at info@canadacitizenshiphelp.ca

A search of citizenship records can confirm if you were or were not issued a citizenship certificate. Some individuals apply for a Search of Records to obtain a letter from CIC to use to prove to another government or organization whether or not they were issued a citizenship certificate in the past.  For example, foreign nationals who are applying to renew a foreign passport sometimes need proof that they never received a citizenship certificate.

Beginning January 1, 2007, expiry dates were included on the citizenship certificates of people born outside Canada on February 15, 1977, or after, to a Canadian parent who was also born outside Canada to a Canadian parent.  This was to serve as a reminder to these people that they were required to take steps before their 28th birthday in order to retain their citizenship.  On April 17, 2009, the Citizenship Act changed and people who had not already turned 28 by that date no longer had to take any steps to retain their citizenship.

If your citizenship certificate has an expiry date of April 17, 2009, or after, you do not have to take any steps to retain your citizenship.  You will still have Canadian citizenship even after the expiry date on your certificate.  However, your certificate is no longer valid and you should apply for a new citizenship certificate.

On February 1, 2012, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada introduced a new citizenship certificate - a letter-sized document bearing no photograph.  Like the previous plastic wallet-sized citizenship certificate (a card with photograph), the new citizenship certificate is a legal document that will be used to determine Canadian citizenship status.  It is not a travel or identity document.

Citizenship certificates issued before February 1, 2012 remain valid.  This means that any Canadian who currently holds a citizenship certificate does not need to apply for a replacement.

Do I become a Canadian when I marry a Canadian?

No. Marriage to a Canadian citizen does not give you citizenship.  You must first apply for and get permanent resident status.  Then you must apply for Canadian citizenship and meet the same requirements as any other person seeking Canadian citizenship.

Do I lose my Canadian citizenship if I become a citizen of another country or if I live outside of Canada for a long time?

Under Canadian law, you can be both a Canadian citizen and a citizen of another country.  Canadian citizens don’t lose their Canadian citizenship by living outside of Canada or becoming a citizen of another country.

However, some countries won’t let you keep their citizenship if you become a Canadian citizen..

To have a photocopy of a document certified, an authorized person must compare the original document to the photocopy and must print the following on the photocopy:

            •           “I certify that this is a true copy of the original document”,

            •           the name of the original document,

            •           the date of the certification,

            •           his or her name,

            •           his or her official position or title, and

            •           his or her signature.

Persons authorized to certify copies include the following:

            •           In Canada:

            •           a commissioner of oaths

            •           a notary public

            •           a justice of the peace

            •           Outside Canada:

            •           a judge

            •           a magistrate

            •           a lawyer

            •           a notary public

            •           an officer of a court of justice

            •           a commissioner authorized to administer oaths in the country in which the person is living

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